What makes the Maker Camp so important?

So you’ve seen us advertising the Innovate LIVE: Maker Camp and wondered what are the benefits of participating in the camp. Here are our top reasons to enroll.

1. It follows STEAM education.

We’ve heard so much about STEM education, so what is STEAM? The simple and straightforward answer is: Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics. Yes, the only difference is a single letter, but it is an essential difference. Without the Arts, STEM education is incomplete. The University of Florida provides a nifty chart on the statistical differences between STEM and STEAM.

“Evidence of Fine Arts’ effectiveness in reducing student dropout, raising student attendance, developing better team players, fostering a love for learning, improving greater student dignity, enhancing student creativity, and producing a more prepared citizen for the workplace can be found documented in studies held in many varied settings”

Katy Independent School District, 2016


“The Arts develop problem-solving, fearlessness, and critical thinking and making skills. Design creates the innovative products and solutions that will propel our economy forward, and artists ask the deep questions about humanity that reveal which way forward actually is.”

Maeda, 2012

“The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process.”

Education Closet Website, 2016

For the females or parental units of females that are reading this blog entry, did you know that women are underrepresented in the science and engineering workforce? The American Association of University Women (AAUW), an organization that promotes equity and education for women and girls, explains that this is partially because “children are taught to conform to gender identity as toys reinforce stereotypes that encourage only boys to build or engineer and even their clothing proclaims that girls are bad at math.” They go on to explain that “fewer girls than boys plan to pursue STEM in college, and when they graduate, they enter a workforce that is historically unfriendly to them and block their participation and progress.”

Women make up 47% of the total U.S. workforce, but are much less represented in particular science and engineering occupations (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Women in the Labor Force: A Databook, 2014). For example:

  • 39% of chemists and material scientists are women;
  • 27.9% of environmental scientists and geoscientists are women;
  • 15.6% of chemical engineers are women;
  • 12.1% of civil engineers are women;
  • 8.3% of electrical and electronics engineers are women;
  • 17.2% of industrial engineers are women; and
  • 7.2% of mechanical engineers are women.

National Girls Collaborative Project, 2015

If you want to read more about why there aren’t many women in STEM, you can download the report by the AAUW here, and this is another interesting article to read on why the Arts is important to education.

2. Access to the Arts.

If the Arts were so important to the well-roundedness of a student’s education, you would think that it would get funding from the local, state, and federal governments right? Unfortunately, it does not. In fact, funding for the Arts have been in steady decline after President Lyndon B. Johnson’s National Endowment of the Arts (1965) was slashed in half by the Reagan administration. A graph from Grantmakers in the Arts shows that, adjusted for inflation, the national, state, and local governments have been notably decreasing their funding for the arts.

If the Arts aren’t funded in the local, state, and federal level, the cost associated with being educated in the Arts fall onto the general public. According to Marina Fang’s article, schools in Chicago and Philadelphia have had their budgets cut and nearly 10% of the teachers let go taught art or music or just eliminating funding for art or music departments. As you can see, a common cost-cutting measure is to cut funding for arts education. Schools now rely more on private funds and art patrons to provide creative outlets for students. Unfortunately, this usually means schools with more higher-income families would have more funds for the Arts while schools with more lower-income families would not have the funds for the Arts. The disparity in income inequality is easily visible at art events (The Atlantic, 2016).

Since public school education is not adequately integrating the Arts into your student’s education, extracurricular activities such as our Innovate LIVE: Maker Camp are essential. Our Maker Camp includes teaching students how to build, train, and learn how to fly their own remote control planes for a low price of $250. We are also proud to announce that we have a few available need-based scholarships available, sponsored by the Shenandoah Valley Technological Council and Cadence, for low income families. Find out if you qualify for one of these scholarships here.

3. Get a sneak peek into the Staunton Makerspace.

A makerspace, sometimes referred to as a hackerspace, is a physical location where people gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network, and build. It is often associated with fields such as engineering, computer science, and graphic design. John Tierney defines a Makerspace as a facility that is dedicated to helping makers, designers, creators, and entrepreneurs bring their vision of a new product to fruition, translating an idea into a tangible, manufactured item while H.O. Maycotte refer to Makerspaces as a place with two components: available technology and community.

Needless to say, the Staunton Makerspace is an awesome place which was opened in 2014 and has a full woodworking shop, two 3D printers, a CNC router, and many more tools that could help your start-up. Come take a look at the workspace while your student actually gets to work in that space and create something awesome!

4. Your kids will have fun and end up with their own RC plane.

Kick of your student’s summer the right way! This Maker Camp can network your student with other similar-aged students in the area and give them a chance to have fun outside of their home and comfort zone. Also, they get to have and learn to fly their own RC planes. What could be more fun than that?!

jonah_planeWords just can’t express how it feels to fly a plane you built from scratch. I’m terrifically proud of what my son and I were able to do. that first successful flight today is something I won’t ever forget. Nelson Patterson and Josh Lotts have created something that will impact so many people to come. Thanks you guys!

– Dan Funk

5. We’re in charge of your kids for those three days!

If you aren’t sold on why you should enroll your student in to our Innovate LIVE: Maker Camp yet, consider this: We will be in charge of your student from 9am to 4pm for three whole days, enriching their lives in a fun and educational way.

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