Around Kirkwood

Kirkwood Offers “Camps on a Mission”

By May 1, 2008January 21st, 2019No Comments

KICK program provides fun activities with side orders of learning and career knowledge

Does your 10-year-old want to earn money as a professional pet sitter? Maybe your 12-year-old has a lawn-mowing business in mind.

“Your Lucky Day: Entrepreneur’s Workshop,” a seminar being offered June 13 by Kirkwood Community College’s summer KICK Program, will teach young people how to get their businesses up and running. It will be led by Bob Walker, assistant professor and management degree program coordinator at Kirkwood. Walker will be assisted by members of his Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team, part of the credit program at Kirkwood.

The session will address the big picture of business ownership, according to Walker.

“We’ll talk to kids about forms of ownership, ethics, the global environment – imports and exports — which is very important these days,” he says.

Walker and his team also will get kids to think about everyday aspects like what’s involved in starting a business, resources they’ll need to get started and target marketing. At the end of the day, participants will write and present business plans or concepts.

“You’ll get priceless and practical information,” Walker says of the program. “It helps steer kids on the path to business success.”

The workshop is just one of many offerings by KICK, which stands for Kirkwood Interactive Camps for Kids. The summer program is designed for students who will enter fifth through ninth grades and offers single-day or multi-week activities and programs.

“We discovered there was a real need for quality learning experiences for the grades five through nine,” Kim Johnson has said. Johnson is Kirkwood’s executive director of continuing education. “You could say we developed a lot of choices for young people that are between daycare and driver’s ed.”

KICK’s 11 categories, covering multiple topics, run the gamut from Teen Cuisine and Health, Science and Other Stuff that Rocks! to Extreme Sports and Adventure Seekers.

Express Yourself includes “Be an Author” and “Click! Photography Camp.” Gamers & Geeks includes “Video Game-Making Camp,” “Crime Scene Investigators/Second Life Combo Camp” and “Hands-On PC: Design, Build and Maintain.” There’s also “Junior Firefighters Workshop” and “Outdoor Adventure Camp.”

“This is a wonderful thing that Kirkwood is planning for the summer,” says Dick Whitehead, superintendent of College Community Schools. “We’re very excited to see what Kirkwood is offering through the KICK camps. A lot of parents are looking for meaningful things for kids to do in the summer. It seems to me that this is just a wonderful opportunity, offering a really broad range of classes.”

The school system is part of the Corridor STEM Initiative, which works to encourage interest, education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area.

Whitehead says it’s important for young people to see how learning relates to their lives and future careers.

“We’re trying to increase the interest of young people to take harder, more challenging courses in science, technology and math, and they hopefully will do that if they see some of the really neat applications of those skills. They begin to see themselves as scientists, engineers or mathematicians and that helps drive their ambition in those areas.”

He mentions KICK’s session on video gaming, engineering using LEGOs, crime-scene investigation, health careers, the environment and hands-on PC.

“This is all science,” he emphasizes.

“KICK hits all areas,” Whitehead adds. “Sports and music (activities) always seem to have good participation, but we hope parents will really look at areas related to science and math. It looks to me like students could find (topics) with a real science and technology basis and get their heads wrapped around those areas. But, there also are the fun things like sports camp, music and dance opportunities, and so on.”

Technology also is covered in sessions like “Hands-On PC: Design, Build and Maintain,” Computerized Metal Fabrication for Kids” and “Design Anything! 3-D Modeling Camp.”

“It’s great for school kids,” Joe Chiaramonte, plant manager of Midwest Metal Products, says of KICK. “It gets kids involved in manufacturing, using their hands and actually making something.”

KICK sessions show them there are more career opportunities “than just sitting at a desk,” he says. “Not as many young people are going into manufacturing as there used to be, and there’s going to be a real need for employees in those areas. It lets them know manufacturing isn’t a ‘black art’ (dirty job) like it used to be – today, there is clean manufacturing. This dispels the myths.”

Chiaramonte adds that KICK is especially valuable because it introduces possibilities before young people at an early age.

“Then, when they get to high school, they might have a better idea of what their future is,” he notes. “It whets their appetite and lets them know what’s out there. Schools are seeing the need for manufacturing (careers) again, and Kirkwood is seeing that need, too. That’s why it’s doing the camps.”

“Any time you can get young people on a college campus, it helps change their vision of themselves,” Whitehead says. “You can’t underestimate the impact of that. (KICK) holds a lot of potential for students to realize the possibilities are for their future and that’s a very positive thing.”

As summer approaches the Kirkwood staff encourages interested parents to “call, sign up and prepare for the events,” according to Kim Johnson in Continuing Education. “We have some camps already filled and several more with nice demand. We appreciate that early interest and hope families get to participate in their high priority choices.”

Johnson also said an “extended day program” will be a boon to busy parents.

“We have an option available that fills the time between a program’s end time and when parents can pick students up. We think that will be helpful, too,” Johnson added.
A complete listing of KICK summer camp sessions is available at or by calling (319) 398-5529 at Kirkwood. A registration form also is available online or you may register by calling (319) 398-1022 or 1 (800) 332-8833 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Fees and locations vary by camps.