Hugh B. Bain Middle School looks a lot different in the summertime as Camp XL's headquarters, than it does during the school year.
Young voices can be heard singing a sweet song from one hallway as an elementary level music camp practices their songs, learning the sign language signs to go along with it.
Upper elementary level students in another room surround a computer screen as they examine a photograph shown there, analyzing the lines and perspectives in the photo for a photography camp program.
Fabric of all kinds cover the tables in yet another classroom as the middle school students enrolled in a fabric arts program create an under the sea mural and seasonal wreaths.
In yet another classroom, students work intently on building circuits and experiment with alternative energy sources and microorganisms in the Green Engineering classroom, with microscopes on loan from Global Science and EnviroTech, Inc., of Cranston, a local company intent on supporting Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) studies.
In all classrooms, the campers were engaged and focused, and the rooms were filled with students of all genders, cultures and abilities.
“These are hands-on activities and these students are hyper-focused,” said Dr. Jesse Jordan, also known as “Dr. J.,” in the Green Engineering classroom. “In additive manufacturing jobs you need to have intense focus. The United States needs individuals to be intense about what they are doing, regardless of their age, gender, culture or disability.”
Jordan’s students will be focusing on topics such as hydroponics, 3D printing, biology, chemistry, physics and environmental science during their summer program.
In the Fabric Arts class, teacher Rachel Bousquet was pleased with her middle school students’ abilities to jell together so soon after the camp started.
“These students are all different ages and didn’t know each other,” she said. “They get along great. They all want to learn sewing and we are working with all different materials.”
Emily Hague, a Cranston native and former Cranston Public Schools student now attending Sacred Heart University, is a volunteer at Camp XL in the Green Engineering program.
“I am part of the Noyce Scholars program for biology and math majors and I am in my senior year,” she said. “I am a math major and the program is a five-year program. I am considering a career in secondary education. I’ve been helping Dr. J. with the engineering and biology experiments. Yesterday we planted seeds and today we are working on Jell-O seed plantings. During the math portion of the day I helped work on the Number Ninjas math games.”
Camp XL began on Monday, June 25 and will conclude on Friday, August 3 with the annual community event, Kidpalooza, being held from 12-6 p.m. According to director Sarah DeCosta, the fun-filled event is in its fifth year and is open to the public.
“Brought to you by Camp XL and OneCranston through CCAP, Kidpalooza is a culminating event celebrating youth and showcasing all their hard work to their families and the community,” DeCosta said. “This event is held on Tate Field, next to Bain Middle School and is open to the public. There will be food, vendors, games, activities, music and entertainment, bounce houses and so much more for all to enjoy.”