Bay College Launches Youth Invention Camp


Photo Caption:
"The design of the 'Inventing with Gizmos & Gadgets' logo was inspired by the creative activities being offered at the day camp as well as the kids that will be attending. The image of the stimulated brain and gear convey that this is a day camp where creative thinking and ingenuity will be put to good use."  -Shawn Curtin, Bay Digital Technology Coordinator
Bay College Training and Development (M-TEC) will be kicking off a new program called Inventing with Gizmos & Gadgets, which will take place at M-TEC August 1st through 11th. The program was developed due to overwhelming demand for the Lego robotics program and a strong community need for youth STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) or “STEAM” (which adds A for the Arts) programming.

Grant Project Manager, Beth Ann Belcher, remarked: “There was so much interest that all beginner sessions were full within four hours of opening registration. We ended up with a waiting list of over 50 kids. Instead of turning them away, we decided to accommodate them by developing a new program.”

Inventing with Gizmos & Gadgets will empower kids to create working circuits and inventions using special electronic building blocks called littleBits™. The blocks are easy-to-use because they magnetically snap together and don’t require soldering. The blocks come in four different varieties including motors, sensors, inputs and outputs.  The course will teach kids the basics for designing electronic and mechanical devices and introduce them to the invention cycle. Each week instructors will present students with challenges that require them to create an invention in order to solve the problem. Robert Pontius, Bay College Executive Director of Professional and Workforce Development commented, “This exciting and fun STEM/STEAM learning experience using littleBits™ not only introduces the fundamentals of electronics and mechanics but also gives kids the easy-to-use tools they need to ‘invent’ new kinds of electro-mechanical devices using both science and their imaginations.”

In addition to monetary support, Stewart Manufacturing is partnering with Bay College by providing its talented employees as instructors for the program.  “Engineering is vital in manufacturing, yet it isn’t simple for everyone to understand,” commented Stewart Manufacturing Public Relations Specialist, Madeline Laviolette. “What’s exciting about this program, is it teaches design from a more simplified and creative concept.  It’ll be exciting to not only learn with the students, but see how they collaborate and share ideas to create their inventions. It’s really a win-win partnership.”

Robert Pontius further stated: “Bay College is very well positioned to support this program given its fantastic new for-credit Certificate in ‘Mechatronics ’, which combines electronics and mechanical engineering, and brand-new Associate’s degree in ‘Mechatronics and Robotics Systems’. Likewise, Stewart Manufacturing is the ideal partner considering its leadership position in manufacturing technologies which utilize many of the skills covered in Mechatronics”.

Registration is open and all spots are available on a first-come first-serve basis. All camp sessions will take place at Bay College M-TEC located at 2000 North 30th Street in Escanaba. Sessions run for three hours a day Monday-Thursday. The cost of the camp is $60 per child and includes a free camp shirt and snack each day. To register or view the schedule, visit For more information call (906)217-4106.
Bay College Main,
2001 N Lincoln Road, Escanaba, MI 49829
906.786.5802 Main Campus Directions