"College for Kids and Teens" gives area students hands-on learning experience

Lycoming College's students may be on summer break but the learning taking place on campus has definitely not stopped. More than 200 area elementary and middle school-aged students in grades two to eight are participating in the 24th annual "College for Kids and Teens" program scheduled for July 19-23. Program workshops, held each day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., are designed to enhance creativity and problem solving, and provide students with a variety of fun, academic opportunities.

Students are getting valuable hands-on experience in an assortment of classes, including Buds to Bugs, Forensics 101, Grossology, Aeronautical Engineering, and Environmental Experts, to name a few. Each student participates in a morning and afternoon workshop, which gives them the opportunity to explore two topics of their choice.

Robin Van Auken, program director, says College for Kids is a unifying program, bringing together students from many area school districts.

"Students are immersed in experiential learning activities designed to fortify their confidence in a sophisticated academic setting," said Van Auken. "These experiences enrich their lives and prepare them for when they become college freshmen. Hopefully, when that time comes, they will choose Lycoming College. This is reinforced by the fact that many of our CFK teachers are Lycoming College graduates or current instructors."

According to Van Auken, the program does not focus as much on preparation as it does inspiration.

"These children already are bright and curious – we engage them in imaginative activities with unique resources hoping that they will find new sources of interest," said Van Auken. "Students may realize they are interested in engineering through a course here or they may learn how to use new computer software and launch their own web sites. Some may become concerned about the environment or animals, while others may just want the thrill of building and launching their own rocket. Starting and finishing projects within the one-week deadline teaches them to focus on a goal."