4-H camp a real blast
Five, four, three, two, one. With the push of a button and a burst of smoke, the homemade rocket launched 46 feet high into the sky.
"That was awesome!" one youngster yelled.
As part of the "Totally Tech Zone" summer camp at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds, 15 campers recently spent a week learning about rockets, robots and planes.
Ben Reynolds, 17, and Ryan Grammer, 16, both of Tonganoxie, organized the camp as part of their 4-H leadership project. The two spent the week with the campers, teaching them about aerospace.
Reynolds said he learned how to start a camp from scratch as well as how to have a lot of patience.
"It was time-consuming but in the end they learned a lot, so it was worth it," Reynolds said.
The many activities the campers participated in included each building a rocket and then launching it at the end of the week.
Austin Wiley, 11, Leavenworth, said he liked "watching the rocket go up in the air and then thinking, 'Wow I built that!'"
In addition to the "Totally Tech Zone" summer camp, Wiley has participated in rocketry projects through 4-H before. He said he had a lot of fun at the camp all week.
"You get to do a lot of interesting and new stuff you've probably never done before," he said.
The campers also built robots out of Legos and then programmed them to navigate through a maze with borrowed computers from Kansas State University. Each person also made Styrofoam airplanes and gliders.
Brenda Taxeras, program assistant for 4-H Leavenworth County, said that she thought the campers enjoyed hands-on projects the best.
Taxeras came to Reynolds and Grammer with the idea for the program because she said it was important to incorporate more technology into 4-H activities.
Reynolds, who wants to be a pilot himself some day, said campers learned information they would need as they continued in school.
Ideas such as Newton's laws and chemical formulas are concepts that are going to present themselves again in junior high and high school, he said, and this camp has given them a head start.