Amarillo College’s Kids’ College program returns

Topics ranging from Harry Potter and the Unicorns to chemistry, engineering and robotics, students from kindergarten to middle school are exposed to the potential of what higher education can do for them in the future.

According to previous Globe-News reports, Amarillo College’s Kids’ College program has made a comeback after the COVID-19 pandemic prevented them from hosting events in 2020. The camps began earlier this month. both at Ascension Academy and the University’s Washington Street campus. The camps are scheduled until the end of July.

Bryn Fitzpatrick paints a large picture at Kids' College at Ascension Academy.

Tiffany Van Buren, coordinator of Kids’ College at AC, said it was amazing for her to get back to “normal”.

“We have parents who continually contact us asking for summer camps and when we’re going to start, when they’re going to be offered,” she said. “When COVID hit last year it was a huge disappointment because we had just completed our hiring process and we had great candidates so it was a blow to us. We had to find something to do last year to try to reach the community and we were able to do it quite a bit. ”

With this extra time, it gave the organizers the opportunity to develop new camps, focused on topics that appeal to younger people like learning Tik Tok dances, to other camps like Shark Tank, focused on solving entrepreneurial problems and skills.

With these new camps, as well as those they have offered before, Van Buren said it was obvious to him that the community was ready to return.

“The community has really let us know that they are ready for this by reaching the capacity,” she said. “This week and last week we have reached capacity in all of our camps, which we have not done in the past. It just let us know that the community was ready to come back there. ”

Wells Whittenburg and Nayan Yalamanchili work together to build a remote control Lego toy during Kids' College at Ascension Academy.

Community members, as well as businesses and companies in the area, involved in the camps are also showing the organizers of Kids’ College the impact of these camps on the community as a whole.

According to previous reports, college students in particular have the opportunity to interact with leaders in the Amarillo industry, including representatives from Bell Helicopter, Pantex, and many Amarillo first responder organizations.

“These companies are considering this recruitment for their future workforce. That’s how important they see it… It’s very critical because it starts when they are (younger), ”Linda Dominguez, head of Kids’ College, told The Globe-News. “From that point on, they’re sort of directed to a particular field of study. In college, they choose the direction in which they are going to go. So we really love to reach out to these college kids and show them the opportunities and what the future has in store for them (for them).

Van Buren said she thinks it shows the potential of these students by involving the community in this way.

“It just lets me know that the community sees tremendous potential in our children, as does Amarillo College,” she said. “To me, it creates a huge bond for the whole panhandle that it takes a village to raise kids and that’s what Amarillo does, being that village.”

The overall goal of the camps, regardless of the topic, is to sow the seeds of the importance of higher education, Van Buren said.

Ashtin Acker works on slime making at Ascension Academy Kids' College.

“Honestly, we are trying to breed future badgers… We are creating a culture of caring, which is our motto, something that we are looking for,” she said. “We want our children to know that they have the opportunity to go to college and that Amarillo College is there for them. We want our community to go to university. We want them to stay in our region, grow and reach their potential. We want our community to know that we are here and that our children are our future. We want them to come out of a tragic year and a half and have something fun (and) educational… and be prepared for whatever happens to them.

For more information on the Kids’ College program through Amarillo College, visit https://www.actx.edu/kidscollege/.


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