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Kids Learn Technology at Annual Summer Camp

Designing video games, making movies, programming robots, shooting and processing photographs -- for some youths between ages 7 and 17, those are dream jobs.

Video Game Creation at iD Tech Camps

After spending a week or more at the iD Tech Camps, a summer program held at Smith and other institutions for youngsters seeking technological savvy, many kids may have a good start toward the careers of their fantasies.

Nearly 180 campers in the Pioneer Valley region will spend their days on the Smith campus in one-week chunks during six weeks of the camp beginning June 26. Many will reside on campus during their stays while others will commute for the day. They will take courses in digital film editing, producing special effects, creating 2-D and 3-D video games, designing Web sites, processing digital photographs, working with robots, and other topics, using the latest technology tools provided by corporate sponsors such as Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and Canon.

The iD Tech Camps are one of 40 programs taking place on the Smith campus during the summer, some of which are affiliated with the Smith community, others that return to the campus year after year for its facilities and services. View the summer programs calendar.

The iD Tech Camps, operated by Internal Drive, a family-owned company in Campbell, California, began in 1999 as an effort to bolster technology education for school-aged children. Since then, the program has grown to offer summer-long camps at 40 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and in Spain, including Vassar College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Merrimack College.

Smith College has hosted the camps each year since the program’s inception.

“Smith is a wonderful college that’s quaint, inviting, easy to get around, and accessible to parents,” says Karen Thurm Safran, vice president of marketing for the iD Tech Camps. “The campus is magnificent. And there are many students in the area who are interested in attending a summer camp.”

Kevin Lambert, an 11-year-old from Granby, Mass., attended the iD Tech Camps at Smith last summer and looks forward to returning in July. “I liked the software that we used at the camp,” says Lambert, who studied Video Game Creation and will repeat the class this year, and take a 3-D game creation course. “I created an adventure game last year called ‘Alien vs. Truck’ but I wasn’t very happy with it.” With that experience under his belt, though, Lambert will know better what to do in creating this year’s games, he says.

His new technological expertise aside, Lambert’s mother, Debbie, appreciated the camp’s overall atmosphere. “The setting of the camp is great,” she says. “Kevin really enjoyed the fact that the camp was at a college campus. He felt like he was going to college. He felt he was very grown up.”

Who knows? After spending a couple of weeks at Smith this summer, Lambert and his fellow iD Tech campers might be ready to produce the next big game. Or movie. Or do-all technological gadget. The future is theirs.

-Eric Weld

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