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Behind the NIHF Scenes

Meet a Camper Who Interviewed an Inspiring Hall of Famer

Ezra Hayden has been to Camp Invention® twice – so far! Now a second grader, he shows off his innovative spirit in creative ways, including hosting his very own YouTube show where he discusses the weather and meets exciting guests, from influencers in his community to National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductee Jim West!


Sparking Creativity at Camp Invention

Ezra built confidence in his creativity at Camp Invention, NIHF’s K-6 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) summer camp where children develop the Innovation Mindset and find inspiration from real-world inventors. Through each camp experience, he learned new concepts and was introduced to fascinating inventions.

When asked about the importance of becoming a problem solver, Ezra explained, “if you do something wrong, you can fix it the next time,” showing how persistence and problem solving go hand in hand. There’s always room to learn from mistakes and build upon your ideas. He knows this firsthand, as he has worked to improve his prototypes at camp.

Camp Invention has had a noticeable impact on Ezra. His father, Jason Hayden, noticed a vocabulary change after he attended camp. He found Ezra using words like levers, friction and pivot points in the correct context when discussing innovations at camp. Jason explained that parents should keep their kids engaged by following up with them about their discoveries and be prepared to learn alongside them.

Not only did Ezra have an awesome time at camp, but he would also encourage other kids to experience it too. “They would probably have fun because it’s Camp Invention! You get to make stuff that’s new,” Ezra explained.

For kids who have not yet attended Camp Invention and might be nervous to give it a shot, Ezra has some words of encouragement: “It’s a really fun place, and you’ll get to learn new things that you haven’t learned before.”

For all the excitement he had at camp, Ezra wanted to give a shout-out to his teachers, Mr. Merkle and Mrs. McQueen, who run his local program and are dedicated to making the experience fun and impactful for every camper.

Sharing STEM Fun on YouTube

What does the future look like for this young innovator? As of now, Ezra aspires to be a meteorologist! When he was gifted a green screen, Ezra realized he could communicate his interests with others by sharing his local weather while also raising money to attend Camp Invention. With this idea, he puts confidence and creativity into action by running his very own YouTube channel!

Ezra has interacted with inspiring guests while expanding his knowledge of the weather. He even visited Purdue University’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, where he learned about the department’s weather radar and how it works.

“It’s hard work having the show,” Ezra explained. In each episode, he guides his guests through a five-day forecast and checks out the radar, and then he often does an activity or game with them. His father helps him find guests for the show, come up with talking points and edit the footage.

Beyond his YouTube show, Ezra has even made his TV weather debut on his local news outlet! When he was invited to assist in presenting the morning forecast, he overcame his nerves and demonstrated his skills in front of the camera. Ezra recalls the experience fondly and mentioned that there were a lot of cameras — a perfect environment for Ezra, as he describes technology as one of his favorite things!

As Ezra continues to try new things, his father encourages him to set goals and work hard to achieve them. While not every idea goes as planned, the first step is always to try. “You still can learn as much or more from not meeting your goal than when you do,” said Jason.


Meeting a Hall of Famer

After learning about Hall of Famer Jim West at Camp Invention, Ezra invited the visionary inventor of the electret microphone to make a guest appearance on his show.

Ezra showed off the golden wireless microphone he had reverse engineered two years ago at Camp Invention as part of Open Mic — an experience West helped develop in collaboration with the NIHF education team. In fact, it was even West’s own voice campers heard when they powered up the microphone, encouraging them to voice their own big ideas!

After sharing the weather forecast, Ezra interviewed West, asking about his experience with other inventors, inventions that don’t yet exist, and even his experience with the golden microphone!

Ezra noted that he was a bit nervous when meeting West, as the Hall of Famer was his first virtual guest. Having overcome this challenge, he offered advice for other kids who want to try something that takes bravery, explaining the importance of persisting through nervousness and following through on your ideas.

“Don’t quit,” he shared. “If you’re scared of something, don’t quit. Just be brave and do it.”

Do You Have a Camp Invention Story?

If your child has attended Camp Invention, do they have a story to share? We would love to hear from you, and we invite you to fill out this form on our website.

To learn more about this year’s brand-new Camp Invention program, visit our website!

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