August 04, 2004 - Tech Talk by Kevin TaylorBancroft Times

For the past five years, Community Futures has sponsored "Cyber Camp" for children throughout the summers at Loyalist College.  Not only does Community Futures think there is a fit, but the many children graduating from their camp think there is as well.
Cyber Camp started as an initiative to expose children to computers (inside and out), as well as the internet, in a controlled and safe environment.  Last year, the camps evolved to include "business on the internet" and "multi-media video production".  With the success of the multi-media camp last year, they decided to bring it back this year and add "radio production" to the list of camps.
This year, Cyber Campers have had the choice of computer camp, video production and now radio production.  Each camp lasts a full week, with two different age groups.
The video production camps have just wrapped up, and they are gearing up for two weeks of radio production.  In the video production camps, the children learned how to operate sophisticated video and computer equipment, and they were given the opportunity to add some creativity to the technology.
This year, two public service announcement videos were created.  One video was about fire safety and the other about bullying.  Not only did the children run the equipment to make the videos, but they were also responsible for creating the concept, story-board and script for the production.
Many of the children got an opportunity to be actors in the productions, with others working as crew members.  Everyone had a job, and they are all important to the success of the finished video.
The experience they gained from this is incredible.  Most kids wouldn’t get an opportunity to work with this type of equipment or on this type of project until they reached college or university level.  What a shame.  After seeing how amazing their videos are, it is obvious that children are interested in this type of technology, and they had a riot creating these projects.
In the up and coming "radio production" camps, children will learn the ins and outs of radio production, and will be given a chance to create a "radio play" with various character voices, music and sound effects.  Again, this provides the Cyber Campers with the opportunity to be creative while using technology.
As Camp Coordinator, I have had a fantastic time working with these creative children, and it is my hope to expand upon the Cyber Camps, maybe with an ongoing A/V club, or regular courses throughout the year.  I firmly believe that this type of education could open many doors for these youngsters down the road.  Whether the students look at multi-media production as a career choice or not, they are still gaining "real-life" experience and knowledge that will stay with them forever.
Most importantly, it’s a "fun" way to teach these children.  They are so keenly interested, and many of them tend to come out of their shells when working on these projects.  I have heard comments from several parents about how their, normally shy and quiet, sons or daughters came home each day totally excited about what they are learning and the new friends they’d made.  Excited about learning?  What a unique concept.
I feel so privileged being part of their creations, and I can’t wait for the last two camps.  I learn so much from these young producers.  I guess I’m excited about learning, too.
I wouldn’t mind hearing from parents and children that might be interested in continuing this form of education throughout the year.  With enough interest, we might be able to come up with a program that these students can take part in on a weekly basis.
You can see the video productions that were created last year and this year at the local film festival portion of Arts Festival – Bancroft on August 20, 21 and 22nd.  These video productions will also be available for local schools to show to other students.
Keep up the great work Cyber Campers!  One or more of you might become the next Steven Spielberg!
Kevin Taylor is the Information Technology Specialist and Youth Project Coordinator for Community Futures, and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 613-332-5564.