Winter break camp lets children explore science

Exciting times lie in wait for young children in the community who are interested in science, space and rocketry.

Brandon “Kyle” Jeter, who teaches honors astronomy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is offering Camp Aquila at Parkland YMCA during winter break for children ages 6 to 11. Jeter’s science camp, which is a regular feature of the “Fun Camp” that gathers every year at Lynn University

Bachelor’s, master’s online degrees in Boca Raton, is coming to Parkland for the first time.

“Camp Aquila will be a safe, fun and educational experience for children,” Jeter said. “There are going to learn a lot of basic science principles. What makes this camp different is that it is all going to be hands on. Safety, fun and learning will be the main areas of focus. I don’t think there will a camp similar to this anywhere in the county during¬†winter break.”

Participants will help build, design and launch a model rocket, Jeter said. “We have permission from the city to launch them. Putting that rocket together and watching it fly in the air a few hundred feet never fails to excite children. The camp will have basic chemistry, a lot of physics and a lot of astronomy. Much of the camp will be indoors but we will also use the park area.”

“Kids will learn about polymers, but they will do it by making ‘slime’ or ‘flubber,'” Jeter said. “They will experiment with solar-powered motors and will be able to take them home after the camp. Participants will design their very own “space station” and also learn about the constellations through the use of a planetarium-style projector. The good thing about the camp is that the kids won’t even realize they are learning.”

Tammy Orilio, who teaches marine biology at Douglas High, has been an integral part of the camp for the last few years. “The kids love it and want to come back. We get a lot of repeat participants. They absolutely love the rockets and want to work on them from the first day. The camp is well-known in Boca and we want to see what kind of interest we can stir up in Parkland.”

“We are targeting kids [ages] 6 to 11 because we want to catch them young,” the Coconut Creek resident said. “The camp will get them interested in science and that will help them when they are in school. They will remember what they learned at the camp when they study the same topics in school.”

Chanel Beharrie, a high school student, first attended the camp when she was 9 and went back the next year. At 13, she started helping out children at the camp and is now a counselor. “I help them with their own little experiments,” she said. “I enjoy spending time with them and seeing the joy on their faces when they get things right. Science is one of my favorite subjects, and I believe attending the camp is what made me love the subject.”

“The first session will be from Dec.19 to Dec. 23 while the second one will be from Dec. 26 to Dec. 30,” Jeter said. “Both sessions will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the cost is $195 per session. We will be limiting the number of campers to 21 per session because we want to give individual attention to everyone.”

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