Southeast Missouri State University and TG University with TG Missouri Corp. recently partnered to offer local youth the opportunity to invent, explore and create at Camp Innovate, a new Horizons Summer Youth Enrichment Camp.
The three-day camp, hosted in Perryville, Missouri, allowed children ages 11-14 the opportunity to learn new ideas and concepts, thinking outside the box under the guidance of Southeast faculty.
“Camp Innovate is an opportunity for students to explore leadership and the process of innovation, then apply their new knowledge and techniques to modern-day challenges,” said Dr. Brad Deken, interim dean of Southeast’s College of Science, Technology and Agriculture. “It’s the everyday innovation that can matter and change the world, and these students learned how they might be a part of that.”
This year’s camp examined the characteristics of a leader, inventor and entrepreneur, and students learned about legendary innovators, including Alexander Graham Bell and Temple Grandin.
“We talked about the whole process of innovation – from what it is, to how to develop new things and ideas in a different and original way,” said Shannon McNew, instructor of biology at Southeast.
The students were also inspired by real-life innovation with special guest presenters from Perryville County Memorial Hospital and TG Missouri employees and engineers.
To showcase innovation in action, the students were given a special tour at TG Missouri’s facility in Perryville.
To apply their new skills and knowledge, the students were tasked in the camp’s final workshop to explore TG Missouri’s 5K Walking Trail located in Perryville and identify any needs or problems and formulate solutions and plans to raise the quality of the trail and support the community.
The students then presented their ideas to a panel of TG Missouri and TG University personnel and Southeast faculty. TG University provides TG employees ongoing opportunities to enhance their skills as part of the company’s philosophy emphasizing continuous improvement.
“For these young kids to have the courage to present their ideas was amazing and inspiring,” said Angie Prost, manager of TG University. “We hope these students are excited about leadership and innovation, and know they can develop their skills sooner and engage in the world around them.”
Deken agreed, adding “You are never done learning and innovating. There’s always a chance to find a new way to do things, and students can be tomorrow’s legendary innovators.”