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Three-day camp introducing kids to manufacturing industry

| July 18, 2023
Staff from Engineering Department at Kent State Tuscarawas lead a robotics activity on the second day of the Dale Lauren Foland Manufacturing Camp for incoming 7th and 8th-graders. (WJER Radio)

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (July 18, 2023) – Dozens of middle-schoolers have been learning about the world of manufacturing and the opportunities available in the industry.

Seventy-two incoming 7th and 8th-graders are participating in the 6th Dale Lauren Foland Manufacturing Camp at Buckeye Career Center. Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Adult Education Frank Polen says it should have been the camp’s eighth year but they had to skip a couple because of COVID.

“Sometimes we have repeaters that came last year and some are brand new just coming out of sixth grade, but the whole premise was to dispel the myth of what manufacturing is and is not. And what they’ll see is a lot of our companies, our industries around here are not just local. They’re not just state, national. They are global industries.”

WJER parent company Lauren International is sponsoring three-day camp that wraps up Wednesday afternoon with a graduation ceremony. Chief Operating Officer and Camp Chairman Mike Hovan says the kids spend each morning rotating between activities put on by a partner company and the afternoon visiting two local manufacturing facilities.

“Seventh and eight-graders, you think that’s really young but that’s when kids start getting an idea of what they might want to do – fireman or policeman or whatever – but now we’re kind of opening the option that, ‘Well, I saw some pretty cool stuff at manufacturing camp. Maybe I want to consider that.”

Campers learned about quality control today during a bubble-making activity led by staff from Kraton Chemical. Another session presented by the Kent Tusc Engineering Department had them making grippers for robotic arms that they got to take turns controlling. Director Paul Dykshoorn was confident there were some future engineers among the group.

The kids are great. They’re well-behaved. They’re inquisitive…Their hand-to-eye coordination with handling the robots is exceptional. It’s amazing.. I would have taken half the group you just saw here and taken them across the street.”

One of the participants was Tusky Valley seventh-grader Bryce Cameron. He was enjoying the experience and hoped to return and learn more about manufacturing next summer.

“I’ve been learning a lot about CPR, what to do if there’s a fire. Learning about good posture, eye contact, what hydrogen peroxide does when you put it in a small pressure with a lid. It builds up pressure and the lid pops off.”

Twenty-four businesses are lending their staff and expertise to the camp that’s the largest and longest-running in Ohio including Dover Hydraulics, Kurz Kash, Boltaron, Gradall, and Battle Motors.

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