Kids enjoy manufacturing camp

Submitted photoParticipants enjoyed a variety of activities at the camp.

Middle school students recently participated in a one-day manufacturing camp at the Southeastern Indiana YMCA. It was sponsored by Genesis: Pathways to Success and through a grant from IN-MaC. The goal of the camp was to give middle schoolers a fun day while simultaneously exposing them to what local businesses offer the community. The camp brought in four organizations: Batesville Casket, Batesville Tool & Die, Ivy Tech Community College and Purdue Extension, to teach kids about opportunities in Ripley County, said Cheryll Obendorf, GPS executive director.

Throughout the day, students participated in activities designed to teach them about local manufacturers, new technology and techniques employees at manufacturing plants use. Batesville Casket designed a relay race to show the kids how caskets are built, while Batesville Tool & Die designed an activity to show students how to work as a team to build towers made out of plastic cups using a rubber band. Ivy Tech representatives gave a talk about what jobs and opportunities can be attained with the different degrees and certificates the school offers. Finally, Purdue Extension introduced campers to coding with Ozobots. Even the snacks, provided by the YMCA, inspired the kids to innovate. They used marshmallows, graham crackers, pepperoni and toothpicks to build a house or person that they could enjoy eating.

The camp was organized by Obendorf and Angie Harmeyer, YMCA executive director. Speaking on the success of the camp, Obendorf stated, “It was a huge success; all the kids left with smiles on their faces. It was amazing to see how smart these kids are and see how much fun they had learning.”

Harmeyer added, “We are grateful to have this opportunity to host this camp with our community partners. What a great way to build confidence in children by using their input in fun and engaging activities that demonstrate real life implications. It shows them that they can have a positive and real impact in their own community.”

Additionally, interns from the Ripley County Community Foundation were present along with program director Laura Hamilton. Employees from both the foundation and the YMCA helped the camp go smoothly and contributed to a fun, educational event.

Genesis: Pathways to Success s an initiative of the RCCF whose mission is to be a perpetual resource to support, expand and enhance educational and economic opportunities for local communities. GPS generates ongoing and meaningful dialogue and collaboration to prepare a talent pipeline for a globally dynamic marketplace. For additional information, please visit