For more than 30 years, millions of children from across the country have benefited from the innovative curriculum of Camp Invention®, the flagship STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program from the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF).
In addition to experiencing engaging, hands-on activities that spur creativity, for many children, a week of Camp Invention helps them realize that they have the power to invent something that can benefit others. Because each year’s all-new curriculum is inspired by lessons and stories from NIHF Inductees, campers are treated to a uniquely authentic invention education experience.
Real Stories from Real Campers
While it might seem hard to believe that one week of Camp Invention can have a lasting impact on children who attend, throughout our history, former campers have continued to reach out to us with their stories about how our program has inspired them to start businesses, raise funds for others and pursue impactful careers in STEM.
We invite you to explore a few of these stories below:
Camp Invention Alumni Win Nationwide Dreamvention Contest
In 2019, Camp Invention alumni Audrey and Mia White picked up a Frito-Lay variety bag and learned about their “Dreamvention” contest, which challenged families to work together to create a solution to an everyday problem. The previous summer, both girls had attended Camp Invention, and the program jump-started their love for innovation and creativity. From a pool of five finalists, the White family won a first-place prize of $250,000 for their “Kid Safe Switch,” a sensor that attaches to an oven and detects when someone below a certain height gets too close.
Engineering Student Reflects on Camp Invention Experience
In an interview with NIHF, Camp Invention alum Trevor Ulman spoke about how his recent work on a senior design project at Clemson University was similar to the prototyping activities he enjoyed at Camp Invention. Attending camp at a young age helped Ulman realize how much he enjoyed the process of problem solving, making and building. Following his final semester, he plans to work in Nashville as an electrical engineer for Bridgestone.
Camp Invention Alum Raises Over $2,000 in Scholarship Money
Inspired by her time at Camp Invention, 8-year-old Isabella “Izzy” McMillan wanted to share her experience with other kids at her school. To achieve this, she and her mentor Mary Thompson requested monetary donations from local businesses to provide camp scholarships for students. In addition to the $1,991 that she was able to raise, NIHF awarded her another scholarship to add to her cause, bringing the total amount of money raised to $2,166. Way to go, Izzy!
Camp Invention Alumni Start Their Own Business: Ornament Anchor
Realizing that many of his family’s Christmas tree ornaments would fall and break each year, Camp Invention alum Ayaan Naqvi invented a solution. Named the “Ornament Anchor,” the device’s loop and pull system safely secures ornaments to branches, preventing them from crashing to the ground. Ayaan has grown his business alongside his brother Mika’il, and the two have even been featured on CNN and QVC. From 2016 to 2019, the brothers attended Camp Invention, and they credit the program with introducing them to entrepreneurship.
Camp Invention Alumni, Collegiate Inventors Competition Winner and Inventor
2018 Graduate Collegiate Inventors Competition® winners Nicole Black and teammate Michael J. Kreder invented PionEar — a biofilm-resistant tympanostomy tube that prevents ear infections. As a young student, Black attended Camp Invention during the summer, and credits her experience as a camper for inspiring her to pursue inventing. Learn more about the team’s invention by watching this video!
In the summer of 2018, NIHF partnered with Summit Education Initiative to research the long-term impacts of attending one week of Camp Invention. On average, the 750 K-6 Akron Public Schools students included in the study experienced extended positive outcomes including:
Increased School Attendance
Of the students who attended Camp Invention, 56% who left the 2017-18 school year with high-risk rates of absence demonstrated excellent attendance (two or fewer absences in a marking period) at the start of the 2018-19 school year — 13% above the district rate.
Improved Math and Reading Test Scores
On the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) assessment, participants on average increased their scores in both reading and mathematics. In mathematics, almost half (42%) of the lowest-achieving students improved to an average range (a score of around 50 out of 99) when they took the test in the fall of 2018.
On average, those who participated in Camp Invention increased their GPA from 2.8 to 3.0, and half of these students were earning a B or better in their classes at the time the study was conducted. Additionally, 38% of students who had a GPA below 2.5 during the 2017-18 school year earned a 2.5 GPA or higher to begin the current school year.
Camp Invention delivers an immersive and fun experience in the moment, and lasting results that extend far beyond the week’s engagement.
“By the end of the week, they believe in themselves. By the end of the week, they know who they are, that they have a voice, that they can be a mover and a shaker forever. So do I believe a weeklong camp can change a life forever? Yeah, I’ve seen it.”
— Jeanne Segler, Camp Invention Director
Learn How to Bring Camp Invention to Your School
We invite you to visit our website to learn how you can bring Camp Invention’s transformative curriculum to your school this summer!