Leaving with more than just a bag full of tricks

One of the parts of the job I love most is answering questions about Fire Tech Camp and it gives me great satisfaction that these inquiries come from so many different (ahem) camps. Young people, press, tutors, potential venues, and people wanting to run their own camps; they are all immensely curious and supportive of what we do and are trying to achieve.

Parents ask the most questions of all and, other than seeing the young people’s achievements during the camps, this is one of the parts of the job I take most pleasure in!  I love it when they ask what their kids get to take home with them at the end of the week, because I’m so proud of the answer…

What do students get out of Fire Tech Camp?

I spend much of my time asking campers and parents what they think the benefits of their experiences with us are and they relay back to me a variety answers: fond memories and new skills, a first-hand passion for robotics, a taste of what it could be like to be the next great tech entrepreneur and new relationships with peers and leaders.

What is pretty obvious to the parents, but may be less so to the young people, is just how transferable some of the skills acquired prove to be back in the school classroom and long after the week has finished. The young people come away having experienced a catalyst that encourages them to learn more about science and technology. They gain a higher level of confidence, they stick with projects from inception to completion, and we hope that every camper leaves our programme knowing how to formulate and research questions so that they can continue to develop their projects and skills from home.

In addition, many of them experience personally the need to ‘pivot,’ and they grasp through their creative endeavours the entrepreneurial notion that failure can be a badge of honour and an important stepping stone in the process of innovation.

So, yes, our campers leave with a bag full of tricks, a greater understanding of the powers of their favourite gadgets and a phone full of new friends’ numbers, but I see the greatest value in the deeper and longer lasting skills that we nurture during our time together.

Today’s employers find lots of reasons to criticise young people and their work skills.They say that schools are not doing enough to provide an education in technology despite being one of the most important subjects, or that they do not have the skills and experience to be as adaptable or resilient as the fast-moving job market will require. Fire Tech Camp of course isn’t geared to providing a full-blown academic curriculum. Instead, we offer young people a chance to acquire skills that the current education system has not yet adapted to deliver.  We help them to delve into the brave new world of technological innovation and the creative design process, and then send them back into the classroom skilled-up, confident, and more motivated than ever!



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