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Behind the NIHF Scenes

How Camp Invention Scholarships Make an Impact

At the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), a key element of our mission is to ensure as many children as possible have access to our innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs, including Camp Invention®, our flagship summer program.

"At NIHF we believe all children should have access to equitable, quality STEM learning opportunities," Chief Strategic Officer Hannah Paulin said. "Thanks to our donors, who share our nonprofit vision, we can impact children who need financial assistance to participate, especially students who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM careers."

Last year, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, individual donors, NIHF Inductees and other partners, NIHF provided more than 73,000 underserved children with an immersive STEM experience in 2020.


Cultivating an Innovation Mindset

Through all the hands-on activities at Camp Invention®, students are able to develop an Innovation Mindset: a growth mindset featuring inspirational lessons from our revolutionary NIHF Inductees, which children can apply throughout their lives.

Composed of nine essential skills and traits, each is strengthened every time a child applies them. In this way, through open-ended exploration, Camp Invention guides children to unlock their creative potential. Often, campers are having so much fun, they don’t realize they’re also learning!


The Lasting Benefits of Attending Camp Invention

In addition to helping combat the effects of COVID-19 slide, learning loss caused by the school closures and educational challenges related to the pandemic, Camp Invention scholarships are important because research has shown that students attending the program receive lasting academic benefits.

In collaboration with the United Way of Summit and Medina, NIHF partnered with Summit Education Initiative in the summers of 2018 and 2019 to analyze the effects Camp Invention had on 1,198 and 1,062 K-6 public school students, respectively, and found that participating in the program for just one week provided the following academic improvements.

  • Increased In-School Attendance
    Of the students who attended Camp Invention, 50% who left the 2018-19 school year with high-risk rates of absences showed excellent attendance (defined as two or fewer absences in a marking period) at the start of the 2019-20 school year — 13% above the district rate.
  • Increased Standardized Test Scores 
    On the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test, those who attended Camp Invention on average increased their reading and mathematics scores. In mathematics in particular, 65% of the lowest achieving students improved to an average range (defined as a score of around 50 out of 99) when they took the test in the following fall.
  • Increased GPA
    On average, those who participated in Camp Invention increased their GPA from 2.8 to 3.0. Half of these students went on to earn a B or better in their classes and are on the path to success. In addition, 38% of the participating students who had a GPA below 2.5 during the 2017-18 school year earned a 2.5 GPA or higher at the beginning of the following school year.


Local Fundraising Impact

We would like to send a special shoutout to 8-year-old Isabella “Izzy” McMillan from Ruth Hill Elementary School in Newnan, Georgia, who raised an incredible $1,991 so 11 of her schoolmates could attend Camp Invention Connect last December!

In partnership with  her mentor and Camp Director Mary Thompson, Izzy reached out to local businesses in the Newnan area, asking for donations to help students whose families might not be able to afford the cost of camp. “I was a little scared at the first place I went to,” she said in an interview with NIHF. “But after that, I wasn’t nervous anymore.”

Thank you, Izzy, for your hard work — and we hope you and your classmates had a blast at Camp Invention!


Learn More About Camp Invention

We are passionate about providing the very best educational STEM programming possible, and we are grateful to everyone who helps ensure as many children as possible can attend camp and benefit from their experience.

To learn more about Camp Invention or to find a program near you, we invite you to visit our website.

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