GREENVILLE — The word manufacturing can be intimidating for some, but for 20 students from the Darke County Area, it represents a creative way to work on problem solving skills.
The Darke County Summer Manufacturing Camp is in full swing this week, with final presentations on Friday at 2 p.m. The camp runs from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Greenville High School Advanced Manufacturing Lab.
The 7th and 8th grade students participating were presented with a task at the beginning of the week and will work on a solution. The students were split up into teams, and each team has a different task in order to eliminate competition and encourage controlled teamwork in a calmer setting.
Tamala Marley, the coordinator, is excited to see the program flourish and watch the kids learn while having fun.
“I’m very excited. We had eight students at the 1st camp and 20 registered for this one,” Marley said. “It’s great growth.”
The students work on projects in the morning and tour manufacturing businesses locally in the afternoon. The facilitator for the camp, Heather Suerdieck worked in manufacturing for 15 years.
“We want to close the gap of what is manufacturing and what it could be in a fun way,” Suerdieck said. “I love to challenge kids and people to think in a creative way.”
The program is designed to not only open up the young peoples’ minds, but to teach them important skills to use in the basis of any job they pursue in the future such as, problem solving, teamwork, and communication.
“They’re skills they can use moving into the workforce no matter what they go into,” Marley said.
As a bonus, the program leaders give credit where credit is due, so with every meal provided, they make sure the kids are aware where it comes from and the location. Every meal comes from local businesses around the area. It is a way to give back to the community that gives to them.
The goal is to help the kids experience a wide variety of jobs and tasks within the manufacturing world.
“We are relabeling how they view work,” Suerdieck said. “They are helping each other and learning without realizing it.”
Both Marley and Seurdieck love getting to work with people and love to see the kids’ excitement and engagement. They would also like to thank the sponsors and manufacturers who are a part of the program as well: Whirlpool, Midmark, Edison State Community College, JAFE Decorating Inc., Greenville, C-TEC Education Center, and Darke County Economic Development.