Wow, where to begin??? Basecamp 2017 was a smashing success. a dozen middle school-aged kids for the second year in a row took over Summit Products in Altoona, Iowa, for a weeklong summer camp focused on manufacturing. But it’s so much more than that.

The campers get to go hands-on with welding, bending, cuttings, cnc, plasma torches, Solidworks, and everything in between. It’s a camp about problem solving, building, creating, and working with your hands to create something amazing.

In this episode I chat with a couple of the base camp students about their experience, what they think about manufacturing now that they’ve had some experience, and also what they want to do with their future. I also sit down with the founder of Basecamp, Albert Marasco, to learn about why he started the camp and what the future holds.

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It was such a rewarding experience to spend the week with these young people and see just what they are able to come up with and create when they have the freedom and tools at their disposal. One of the most rewarding things was the project itself. This  year the project was for the kids to design a solution for a wheelchair-bound individual whose goal was to remain in their manual wheelchair as long as possible. The creative solution they came up with was really flippin’ awesome.

This year we also incorporated a “Shark Tank” element where the kids got to pitch their product to a panel of “sharks” to try and get them to invest in their invention. Throughout the week various speakers from many different industries, including, virtual reality, electronics, batteries, business coaching, patenting, and more, came in to help teach the kids and work with them on their project.

 

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