Campers Demonstrate Their Robot Performance Skills For Family Members at SBPLI’s <em>FIRST</em> Robotics Summer Day Camp
On July 26, campers at School-Business Partnerships of Long Island’s FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Summer Day Camp demonstrated their robot performance skills for family members at Dowling College in Oakdale, which hosted the camp for the second year in a row.
Over a five-day period, students learned how to build, operate, and program a robot to perform certain tasks. That knowledge was put to good use, when they demonstrated to family members what they learned over the course of a week. Elementary and middle school-aged children built and programmed robots with LEGO pieces and moving parts, while high school students displayed their 120-pound robot.
There was a sharp increase in enrollment from 16 campers last year to 53 this year, due to the children’s growing interest in SBPLI’s FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and FIRST Robotics Competition programs. These programs will ultimately create an educated workforce for Long Island, by opening the minds and students to career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
"It was wonderful to see so many young people interested in robotics and technology,” said Joani Madarash, executive director of SBPLI, who made an emotional plea to parents in attendance about the critical need for funding of SBPLI to sustain these outstanding programs. “We’d love to continue these programs, but without the necessary donations and funding, we may not be able to. That would be a shame, considering these children have worked so hard and have such a ‘thirst’ for science and technology.”
Debra Winter, assistant superintendent of the Longwood School District and whose college-bound son had participated in the FIRST Robotics Competition throughout high school, echoed that sentiment, as the camp and SBPLI’s programs have impacted her family for the better.
"Without SBPLI and FIRST, my son would not have found his voice or his passion,” she stated. “He has many friends now and is looking forward to a career in robotics engineering — something that we never would’ve thought possible six years ago.”
Says another camper’s mother: “This was a wonderful week for my daughter. Every day she would tell me about what she had learned and the look on her face was priceless. You have no idea how much of an impact a program like this has had on her. She has gone from a timid, shy girl into a self-confident young lady. The programs offered by SBPLI change lives.”