WASHINGTON COUNTY—Utah State University Extension 4-H youth from Washington County attended the Bay Area Maker Faire, a festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness in San Mateo, Calif., on May 16 and 17.
McCade Larsen, Kason Peacock and Marshall Schmutz explored and completed hands-on activities in areas ranging from arts and crafts to engineering. They were accompanied by advisors Paul Hill and Curtis Larsen.
“What I am really excited about are the plans the youth leaders began devising while at the Maker Faire,” Hill said. “They saw what was possible and made the decision to apply what they learned back in their community.”
The fair inspired the youth leaders to plan and facilitate a “Minecraft” camp this summer as well as a series of workshops about the Raspberry Pi, a small and affordable computer that teaches programming through fun and practical projects.
The trip was made possible through a grant awarded by Cognizant, a global leader in business and technology services, as a part of their “Making the Future” initiative. This initiative was created to unleash the passion of young people in science, technology, engineering and math by creating fun, hands-on learning opportunities. The program was first introduced in Utah in 2012 as one of only 10 pilot programs in the country.
The “Making the Future” program is part of a larger “maker movement” that is taking place in the country that emphasizes the making and doing aspects of life in an attempt to bring back the creative skills that often get lost with large-scale production and manufacturing.
“The youth learned that they are part of something bigger, a movement,” Hill said. “They realized ‘making’ is a culture that extends beyond southern Utah.”
Last year, President Barack Obama issued a call to lift up makers, builders and doers across the country.
“Today’s D.I.Y. is tomorrow’s Made in America,” he said.
The White House is encouraging the “Week of Making” from June 12-18. Makers across the country will host events, workshops or activities to provide children and adults with the tools, technologies and resources they need to be part of the creative process and invent, create and make a more innovative future.
“We’re in a situation where not enough kids are interested, or prepared, in science and technology fields,” said Dave Francis, USU Extension 4-H youth development specialist. “And we need them to be, to lead innovation and to solve the problems our world will face.”
For more information about camps and other 4-H youth opportunities in Washington County, call the USU Extension office at (435) 634-5706 or visit extension.usu.edu/washington.