Hi. I apologize if this is in the wrong place. I have a meeting soon about helping out with VEX camp. What kinds of things I should be asking, as I have very little experience with VEX. Thanks
I have helped out with hosting a number of VEX IQ camps, and here are a few of my tips (for an in-person camp). These tips are based on how we ran the camp, so some of them may not be applicable to you. Feel free to pick and choose accordingly:
I apologize that some of these tips seem more like commands than tips. Please treat them all as only suggestions, no obligation.
- Organize a venue months in advance. Venues are hard to book on short notice. If it is during COVID, you might want your venue outside in a gazebo or something.
- Don’t have too many kids at the camp. I wouldn’t suggest more than 24 kids per camp (and one “counselor” for every 4-ish kids).
- Don’t have too many kids to a robot. We have found that two kids per robot/kit is a good number, and independent kids (or kids who don’t work well with others) will sometimes get their own kit.
- Make the camp short. Despite what it might seem like, I have learned from experience that 6-8 hour VEX IQ camps do not go well, as the kids get burnt out. There are some other reasons too, but that is the main one. I have found that 3-5 hour camps work well. 6 hours is pushing it in my opinion.
- Have other activities besides robots. Even though it is a robotics camp, most of the kids won’t want to build robots all day, and they will also rip through the material really fast if they build robots all day. Also, don’t have the kids build and rebuild their robots a lot, since many of the kids will be very against disassembling their robot. I have found that doing other (semi-robotics related) activities helps a lot. We usually have an icebreaker in the morning as kids are arriving, and then we move into the activities. These activities can be paper airplanes, rockets, catapults, etc. Get creative! We will usually do a short (15 minute max.) presentation, and then let the kids loose to do the activity. Then we have a snack break and then we move into robots. After a few hours of building/driving robots, the parents will arrive, and encourage the kids to show off their robots to their parents. Sorry, I know this one is a runaway thought, but let’s move on.
- Have “counselors”. It is important at any camp to have camp “counselors” who lead the kids in small groups so as to maintain a one-on-one relationship with the kids. Also have a camp leader, but have counselors (mainly for the robot building portion of the day) Your goal is to make the kids have a great time, so get counselors who are happy and fun. I usually won’t go with more than 4-6 kids per counselor.
- Keep it organized, but informal. It is important to have a camp structure and schedule, but don’t stick exactly to it. If the kids are having a blast doing one activity, you can bend the schedule or even cut out the next activity. It’s important to make the kids feel like it’s fun and exciting and not just another school class.
- Record the camp for later review. I’ve found it very useful to record the camp via a camera in the corner to review later and to see what went well and what can be improved on.
- Meet with the counselors after each day of camp. I’ve found it very helpful to have a Constant And Never-ending Improvement (CANI) brief meeting after each day to discuss what went well and what can be improved on for tomorrow. This only applies to multi-day camps. Something that does apply to all camps however is that you should have a longer CANI meeting after the entire camp to discuss improvements for next camp.
I know this is long (this went a lot longer than I meant it to), but thank you for bearing with me.
I have videos of camps I’ve run in the past, so if you want me to send those to you, I’d be happy to, and just let me know. Thanks!
TL;DR Read the first sentence of each bullet point.
I hope this helps, and just let me know if you want more information or if this wasn’t what you were looking for/I misunderstood your question.
We’ll be releasing our initial set of VEX Camps for VEX GO, VEX IQ, and VEXcode VR later this week. Each VEX Camp will include all of the curricular resources (STEM Labs, Activities, Games, etc.) along with support resources needed to run various 1/3/5-day length camps.
Every VEX Camp includes the following resources:
Schedule and Welcome Letter:
- In-Person Camp Schedule
- Virtual Camp Schedule
- In-Person Welcome Letter
- Virtual Welcome Letter
Planning and Preparing for Camp:
- How to Plan Overview
- Camp Flyer
- Camp Manual
- Camp Staff Contact List Template
- Release Form Template
- Intake Document Checklist Template
- Attendance Tracker Template
- Daily Checklist Template
- Camp Incident Report Template
All of these resources will be made available at no cost to our users to help facilitate running your own VEX Camp this summer and beyond. We’re hoping to have the site live by the end of week at the latest.
Just an update - camps.vex.com is live now. We have 12 different camps available at initial launch and will add more over time. Initial set of camps include:
- 6 GO Camps
- 4 VR Camps
- 1 GO/VR Hyrbid Camp
- 1 IQ Camp
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