It is the middle of summer vacation and while some kids may be just hanging out and letting the lazy days roll by, some put on their thinking caps and learned all about the process of invention.
 
Last week, 30 middle school kids participated in a weeklong camp in Hood River offered by OSU Extension Open Campus program. The focus of the camp was “Human Centered Design.” In small groups, campers practiced the five stages of HCD (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test) to develop a product. On the final day, they used videotaped infomercials that they created to “pitch” their product to parents and guests at the final showcase.
 
This is the fourth year that Ann Harris, OSU Open Campus coordinator, has collaborated with OSU Pre-College Programs and Columbia Gorge Community College to offer STEM-based day camps in Hood River and The Dalles. The Lemelson Foundation granted the funds so that we are able to offer the camp free of charge. These funds also help pay the counselors and allow them to travel around the state, offering the camp in many rural and underserved areas. CGCC provided space for the camp in Hood River last week and will host the same camp in The Dalles this week.
 
Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital loaned their 12-passenger van to provide transportation for kids who needed it.
 
This Invention Camp is but one of the many programs that OSU Open Campus has offered in Hood River and Wasco counties, said a press release. Open Campus is a program of OSU Extension. Other Extension programs include 4-H positive youth development program, Master Gardener, Master Naturalist and Master Food Preserver courses, SNAP-Ed nutrition education programs in the schools and Strong Women fitness course, as well as research–based professional horticulture support for orchardists and farmers.
 
For more information about OSU Extension, call Harris at 541-386-3343.

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