One of the most anticipated camps of the summer coming to Platte County in June

Mark DeLap
Posted 4/4/23

Annual science camp comes back to Platte County

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One of the most anticipated camps of the summer coming to Platte County in June


WHEATLAND – The nationally recognized, nonprofit summer enrichment program, CAMP INVENTION is coming to West Elementary the week of June 26-30.

From the marble arcade to robotic aquatics, elementary students from all over Platte County come to learn science, awaken the inventor creativity within them and to generally have fun. Last summer the camp hosted a record-number 90 students.

Camp Invention challenges children in grades K-6 through hands-on activities, promotes STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning; builds confidence, leadership, perseverance and resourcefulness; and encourages entrepreneurship — all in a fun and engaging environment.
Last year's Explore program provided hands-on activities including:
Robotic Aquatics where the kids dived into cutting-edge ocean research as they adopt their own aquatic animals, design and patent aquatic plants, and take their new friend home in a mini tank.

NIHF's The Attic saw campers combine science and art to build their own robotic artist, engage in design thinking, make spin art and learn how inventions can change the way people create.

In Spacecation the kids discovered real space exploration technology when they created Spacepacks and Astro-Arm devices, mined an asteroid and observed erupting ice volcanoes.

Marble Arcade had students build their own marble tracks as they experimented with the fun of physics, engineering and gaming as they designed, built and tested their own mega marble arcades.

Cindy Amundson who has been teaching in Wheatland for over 20 years has evolved in many ways, keeping up with science and her craft.

A program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame®, in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Camp Invention challenges children in grades K-6 to tap into their natural curiosity and use their creativity to solve problems. Through hands-on activities, Camp Invention promotes STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning; builds confidence, leadership, perseverance and resourcefulness; and encourages entrepreneurship - all in a fun and engaging environment.
Each year, the program features a new curriculum inspired by some of our nation's most world-changing inventors - the National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees. This year's Wonder program encourages children to be confident in their ideas and explore their innovativeness though hands-on activities including:

Catching Air: Taking a confidence-building ride through physics, engineering and art, children design and build their own skate park.
Invention Celebration: Campers take on the role of event planners as they throw a party celebrating creativity and innovation.
MimicBot: Children show their unique style when they transform a robot that mimics sounds into a one-of-a-kind animatronic stuffie.
Pop-Up Venture: Big ideas come to life as campers design their own mini pop-up business.

"Both of my kids loved Camp Invention! They loved having the opportunity to create, innovate and iterate what they had learned," one of the 2022 parents said. "They were intensely proud to tell of their work each day and to showcase their projects at the end of the week."
All local Camp Invention programs are facilitated and taught by qualified educators who reside and teach in the community. Camp Invention serves 118,000 students every year and partners with more than 2,200 schools and districts across the nation. For more information or to register, visit
“Up until recently I taught elementary,” Amundson said. “Then I moved up to high school and I am a life science teacher there and a biology teacher. I’ve been with Camp Invention since the beginning which means I’ve been in it for 16 years.”

It’s basically an inventors program geared to stoke the flame of interest in young and aspiring inventors who have some great ideas.

“I got involved in it because the principal who was here, Val Calvert, decided she wanted something extra, like an enrichment for kids during the summer,” Amundson said. “She knows how I feel about science, and so another teacher and I, Paula Johnson who were the first two teachers, had about 35 kids that year.”

At that point Calvert went out and created ties with the Wyoming Community Foundation. The Glyda Mae Foundation has also been a big supporter and one of the sponsors for this annual event.

“It’s kind of an expensive camp, but with the stipends that we get, we can service so many kids being as we’re a Title I school it helps all of these kids come here.”

For last year’s camp, Wyoming Community Foundation gave a $10,000 grant. It doesn’t cover all of the full tuition of the kids, but it covers $150 per student. Camp Invention pays the teacher salaries.

“We also have our middle school kids who have pretty much grown up in Camp Invention, they come to volunteer,” she said. “Our high school kids also have been to Camp Invention and they’ve come back and we go to our local sponsors like Platte Valley Bank, Rolling Hills Bank, First State Bank and another anonymous donor along with Laramie Peak Motors who always donate to our camp as well.”

A stipend is then taken from those donors and the group can give money to the high school students who are needing summer employment.

The camp will run for five days from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and will include lunch.

At the conclusion of camp there will be a camp showcase for the students where they could share what they learned and show the projects that they worked on to their parents and families. As for their projects, the kids are all given a task and they have to figure out how to make it. Also, each day, students are given out handouts which describe the activities done on that day.

According to Amundson, last year’s camp was the biggest that they’ve had in their 16-year history and it was so big this year that they had to add a fifth module. Overall, the kids were excited, engaged and inspired.

“This is the way I would want to teach science,” Amundson said. “Especially when I was in elementary. If I could teach all day, this is the most fun week I have, ever. I just look forward to it.”

The teachers who work the camp are all certified teachers. Last year’s teachers were Julaine Wedemyer, Trista Teten, Heather Tatro, Katy Finnerty-Marquez, and Amundson.

Lexi Jones, one of the students who participated in the camp said it was fun and it was a great chance to hang out with friends who enjoy the same things.

“I learn new things every year,” Peyton Teten said. “And it’s not boring. It’s so fun.”         

Camp Invention is the only nationally recognized summer program focused on creativity, innovation, real-world problem-solving and the spirit of invention. Through hands-on programming, Camp Invention encourages children entering kindergarten through sixth grade to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics curricula inspired by some of the world's greatest inventors. Since 1990, our education programs have served more than 1.9 million children, and 210,000 teachers and Leadership Interns.