By Craig Marx, Editor
America’s next innovator might be groomed right here in Antigo this week. At Camp Invention at All Saints Catholic School, camp attendees learn the history behind inventions and their inventors while having fun with hands-on experiments and problem solving.
Now in its third year, the week-long Camp Invention is a sponsorship of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and provides children with insight into the increasingly necessary fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Open to all children grades one to six, All Saints has 36 kids attending the educational and creative camp this summer with nearly half of the children not enrolled in the school’s regular learning year.
Theresa Zinchuk, head instructor at Camp Invention, has worked with the program since the beginning. While working as a kindergarten teacher at All Saints during the normal school year, Zinchuk started as a volunteer with the camp and has seen the positives that the program provides in its condensed but fruitful week.
“It isn’t like regular school. There is always something for these kids to do,” Zinchuk said. “These kids are constantly active and have the chance to move around a lot. We have games outside and have a lot of opportunities for these kids to see things they may not normally get a chance to. For instance, we brought in an old computer and took it apart. The kids were able to see how things worked inside.”
The National Inventors Hall of Fame provides the majority of resources needed to help schools and communities host the program. Some of the topics covered by the nationwide, 2016 camp curriculum include using solar power to engineer a robot cricket to move and having the children design and maintain their own ecological tourist attraction.
The Antigo session of Camp Invention at All Saints is part of a nationwide program that offers a few other options in the state, including Madison and Milwaukee. Operating since 1990 as a whole, the program has helped nearly 2 million campers nationwide learn about science and innovation.
“We are proud of Camp Invention,” said ASCS administrator Paul Galuska, “and it isn’t something that we profit from or anything. Just having these kids here is great, and with kids coming in from all over who aren’t our [traditional] students, it is a great chance to show both our facility and the program.”