Camp: Beyond Summer

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If you changed the clothes, this could be 1950. There's something timeless about kids and summer camp. But tucked away in one of these rustic cabins is a very modern addition. 5 00:00:34,046 --> 00:00:34,875 Technology. It's a big part of life today.
[Terry, camper] It gives us access to the Internet, allows us to explore the World Wide Web, get in touch with other people...
[Narrator] It's also just plain fun [Tina, camper] I like computers. And I don't have one at home, so I wanted to see what this was all about.
[Instructor] What you do is click where you think Waldo might be, and then It'll show you that square bigger.
[Narrator] This is an introductory Internet class at a Muscular Dystrophy Association camp. It was the first time they'd tried something like this.
[Rosemary, MDA camp director] It was an incredible addition to our camp this year; I hope to do it again; the kids are absolutely thrilled to have that kind of high tech information and education -- they've had a wonderful time with it.
[Narrator] This is a chance to explore; to take a look at the possibilities.
[Linda, instructor] Many of these kids don't have computers available to them at home, and those that do often have never used the Internet. So we're trying to show them what's fun out there, that they can reach other people and find things that will be helpful and fun for them. 24 00:01:49,646 --> 00:01:51,705 [Narrator] This MDA camp is in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains outside Seattle, Washington. It's an old Civilian Conservation Corps project, built in the 1930s, and listed on the National Historic Register. Very picturesque, but a bit of a challenge for today's technology.
[CJ, DO-IT Staff] Waskowitz was especially challenging because they only had four phone lines for us, and we had to figure out a way to get ten computers hooked up to the Internet, and so...we had wires dangling all over the place and coming in through the window ... and it was a big mess.
[Sheryl] Oh, I think the car wash would be kind of cool.
[Narrator] Sheryl Burgstahler is the director of DO-IT, which stands for Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology. Based at the University of Washington, DO-IT staffers have helped set up Internet and college preview programs in a variety of camp locations. Besides teaching Internet and technical skills, these programs help build self-confidence and independence. Campers have opportunities to meet others with similar experiences, and they learn how to communicate year round. They're also preparing for their future.
[Mike, camper] Seeing the stuff with DO-IT makes me feel like it really can happen... like nothing can stop me now.
[Narrator] At a DO-IT summer program in Seattle, college-bound teenagers with disabilities go to "camp" on the University of Washington campus.
[CJ, DO-IT Staff] The University of Washington, we used a lab that already had an Internet connection.
[Narrator] The focus at this camp is on academics and careers. Computer technology provides one of the keys to success, a resource for high school, college, and employment.
[Jennifer, camper] One thing that I learned was that I can't be afraid of computers!
[Wesley, camper] The aspect of computers that I really like is this whole Internet bit. It opens so many doors- and then the e-mail, too.
[Minh, camper] I learned like how to do a Web page and like how to write a newsletter article and all those, it's really good.
[Andrew, camper] I really enjoy all of the college preparation, and being able to live on a college campus and in the dorms is a nice experience.
[Narrator] This is an overnight camp, using college dorm rooms on campus. But a similar program could be offered as a day camp or a weekend camp. 63 00:04:20,636 --> 00:04:23,635 [Narrator] Internet activities are connected to the college, career, and social goals of the DO-IT camp. But some of the activities are just summer fun. 67 00:04:40,066 --> 00:04:44,105 [Mike, camper] It's important to have a balance between learning and the social, and I found that it was the dance and it was kind of topped off with the talent show the next night. It was a lot of fun.
[Instructor] So, basically, the world is now networked. And that's what the Internet is, is it's that network.
[Narrator] Camp Courage, near Minneapolis, is designed for kids with disabilities. In a cooperative program with DO-IT, Camp Courage offers an intensive Internet and college preview session for teens. Camp Courage rented the computers and then arranged for an Internet connection for its 10-day program.
[Narrator] As students become more confident with technology, they also develop confidence in themselves.
[Roger, Camp Courage program manager] This is the sort of thing that a lot of these kids never get a chance at at home; they come from rural areas where there aren't other disabled kids; they come from areas where they're not getting enough encouragement; and this is an option for kids who have a lot of talent to realize that talent and go on to college and go on to live more independent lives.
[Narrator] Every young person can benefit from these camp programs. They open up new possibilities for communication, research, and careers.
[Tracy, camper] The Internet has provided me with a lot of excellent resources for colleges, because you can start by looking in the admissions office, and they give you the requirements to get into the school.
[Narrator] For high school students, there are valuable tips on how to be successful in college.
[David, college professor] Most professors have a hundred to two hundred students per quarter, and a lot of those students you just never get to know. But you get to know the ones that come up to you and ask good questions, or the ones that come up and ask for an accommodation if that's necessary; and so it's a really good chance... you know, it's a little bit intimidating to do this, but it's also an opportunity.
[Narrator] As always, the test of success is the campers themselves.
[Instructor] What are you doing right now?
[Camper] I'm in a teen chat lounge.
[Instructor] What are you chatting about?
[Camper] Ah, I'm talking to a girl.
[Tiffany, camper] My mom wanted me to go to a camp this summer, but I didn't want to do regular camp things, I wanted to learn how to go on the Internet and all the e-mail things and everything, 'cause I didn't know how to e-mail before I came here.
[Narrator] One of the best things about summer camp is that kids get to meet others who share their experiences. And with Internet access, those friendships can continue long after camp is over.
[Tiffany] I think it's really cool. Now that I know how to do it, I can e-mail all my friends that have computers. So that's really cool.
[Instructor] How many people right now have Internet connections? At home?
[Narrator] To help kids stay in touch throughout the year, DO-IT offers DO-IT Pals, an Internet club for high school students with disabilities. They share resources, activities, and fun on line. They also communicate with electronic mentors.
[CJ] Yeah, I check my e-mail every day, and I write to a lot of the scholars, and a lot of them and I have become really close friends, and I keep in touch with them. I even see some of them in person.
[Karyn, camper] Making friends is really big. I have friends from all over, you know, and e-mailing them and keeping in touch with them, that's great. I like that a lot. And having my computer for school work-that's good. Very good.
[Narrator] Any camp can make the Internet a part of its activities. To set up your camp, follow these key steps: Put together an instructional and technical team. Determine instructional goals and materials. Find a facility with computers, or make plans to rent or buy them. Arrange for Internet service. Integrate the Internet into other camp activities. Publicize the program. Once it's all in place, any camper can enjoy accessing the Internet.
[Jessica, camper] I'm loving every minute of it. It's really great. The people here are so nice; you can relate to them; it's been a wonderful experience.
[Tiffany] I think it's really fun and I... hopefully I'll be able to come back next year.