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Camp goes high-tech

Donna Eagle holds a Lego robotic creation
Donna Eagle, business and industry training coordinator at Lord Fairfax Community College, holds a Lego robotic creation made using the Lego Mindstorms technologies program inside a computer lab at the college. The college is offering a summer Digital Arts Camp including a Creative Design and Robotics class. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

Eagle holds a video camera
Eagle holds a video camera that students in the Lightz! Camera! Action! summer camps will learn to use to make a movie. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

By Amber Marra - amarra@nvdaily.com

MIDDLETOWN -- Children and teens who wish to be more involved with the video games and movies they love will have the opportunity to get behind the scenes at the premiere Digital Arts Camp at Lord Fairfax Community College.

The camp, offered by Black Rocket Productions out of New Jersey, hires experts locally to instruct on the fundamentals of everything from robotics to claymation.

"It falls under technical preparation and offers exposure to different careers," said Donna Eagle, business and industry training coordinator at LFCC. "This will give young children and tweens the opportunity of exploration in something they may be interested in doing in the future."

The camp will feature small classes of about 10 students each and will be available on the Middletown and Fauquier campuses of LFCC.

One of the perks of the camp, Eagle said, is that students always will walk away from a class with some sort of product to take with them.

The Creative Design and Robotics class, for example, teaches students how to construct their own robots with sensors that can detect light, sound and movement.

After students have completed their robots, they will then use Lego Mindstorms software to manipulate the movements of the new creations in a test to see which robot has the best moves.

In the Lightz! Camera! Action! class, students will learn basic storytelling, shooting, editing and graphics, and in the Make Your First 2-D or 3-D Video Game classes, Black Rocket supplies a private link online where the final product can be accessed.

"These kids document their entire lives with pictures on cell phones and cameras," Eagle said. "This generation is the first that has documented their own lives extensively, and this will add a little polish and make their clips into something others will enjoy as well."

There are also more hands-on classes, like Ultimate Claymation and Stop Action, where pieces of clay can be turned into the star of a pupil's short film.

Then there is the Camp Rock Star class, which will show students how to use Garage Band to learn song composition and editing to ultimately create their own music video, podcast or song.

"It's the future, by the time a student enters college now, a lot of the jobs they've trained for don't exist by the time they graduate," Eagle said. "We can't even imagine the jobs these 12-year-olds are going to have."

Digital Arts isn't the only area to explore this summer, as LFCC is also offering several new classes via its College 4 Kids program July 26-30.

The new classes include Bugs, Birds, and Butterflies; where students will build butterfly and bird houses and explore a nearby pond. There is also the new Super Science class, for those who wish to make flubber or mushroom monsters.

Or, for girls or boys more interested in history, there is the American Girl class, where dolls from different eras will be shown to demonstrate what life was like for children during those times.

"I think it's great to think outside the box. People had it harder, things weren't just in the palm of their hand like we have today and it's important for [children] to learn that at a young age," said Brittany Watson, who will be teaching the American Girl course.

The Digital Arts Camps for Kids will begin June 28 with classes lasting various lengths through Aug. 20. Prices to attend vary from $130 to $165 and parents can enroll their children from ages 7 to 17 up to a week before each class begins.

For a full lineup of classes in Digital Arts Camp or College 4 Kids, visit LFCCworkforce.com.



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