Erick Caballero’s memories of the summer robotics camp he attended in middle school are foggy. But the impact the experience made remains clear to this day.
Caballero, who attended a STEM-based program around the age of 12, recently graduated with his associate’s degree from College of Coastal Georgia and will continue studying computer science this fall at Georgia Tech.
Before he goes, though, he’ll return to the local library to serve as an instructor this summer at the same kind of robotics camp that sparked his interest many years ago.
“It just gives them a little taste for what they might be interested in when they go to high school,” Cabellero said.
Marshes of Glynn Libraries will again this summer offer a slate of activities and reading opportunities aimed at youth in the Golden Isles. The library’s summer reading program will kick off May 31, and this year’s theme is “Oceans of Possibilities.”
Diana Graham, programming coordinator for Marshes of Glynn Libraries, said the reading program will look a little more like it did before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last summer, we tried to keep as much outdoors as we possibly could,” Graham said. “We had a few things indoors where we felt like maybe we would be able to space everyone out really well. But this year, as far as Brunswick’s concerned, we’re moving everything indoors again. And then on St. Simons we’ll still be out in the atrium.”
In-person programs will be offered each week at the Brunswick and St. Simons library locations. The full schedule of events is available online at moglibraries.org/summer-reading-program/.
The library will bring back its summer storytime program this year, which was only offered every other week last summer.
“This year, our story time numbers have gone up so much we decided just to keep it going year-round,” Graham said.
Story time will be hosted at 10:30 a.m. every Wednesday in Brunswick and at 10:30 a.m. every Friday on St. Simons.
Graham is excited to roll out several new programs that she expects participants will enjoy.
Interactive movies will be a lot of fun, she said. Everyone will get a bag filled with props that go along with the movie, as well as a script that lets them know when it’s time to get interactive.
“For instance, on St. Simons we’ll be watching ‘The Little Mermaid,’ and when Arialstarts brushing her hair with her dinglehopper, with her fork, all the kids will have a fork that they can brush their hair with.”
A hula dancer will lead a program at 10:30 a.m. July 7 at the St. Simons library, where participants will learn about traditional costumes, musical instruments and dances from the Pacific Islands.
“This hula dancer, she actually is hired by a resort in Hawaii and she does have Polynesian descent,” Graham said. “She travels the country and brings hula to other parts of the country that may not know what it is or have seen it live in action.”
An anime club aims to bring teenagers to the library to watch a film every other week.
“We ordered some Japanese snacks that we’ll be eating during those meetings,” Graham said.
Teens are also encouraged to sign up for the robotics camp, hosted in partnership with CCGA.
The camp is intended to get young students interested in STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Robotics is an ideal way to pique their interest in these subjects, Cabellero said.
He recalls the creative challenges he took part in when he attended the camp years ago.
“One thing I remember specifically is we would build a robot, but it would have to find its way out of a maze that you couldn’t see,” he said. “You had to learn how to use all these different sensors and codes and all that stuff to make it get through the maze without controlling it yourself.”
The camp is a chance for students to possibly discover a topic that interests them.
“There are a lot of things to learn, and it might grow into something in the future,” Cabellero said
The goal of the library’s summer programming is to prevent what’s called the “summer slide,” when students get out of the habit of reading over the summer while out of school.
“By preventing that slide, it helps them be better prepared for the upcoming school year,” Graham said. “That extends from kindergarten all the way up to 12th grade.”
The reading challenge encourages students to read as many books as they can before returning to school in August. Pre-registration is open now on Beanstack.
Library summer reading programs can prevent the summer learning slide and help kids be ready for school in the fall.
“The more a child reads, the more prizes they earn,” Graham said. “They can earn swag bags, free books. And then the grand prize for the child who reads the most during the summer is an Amazon Fire Tablet.”
The library will offer volunteer opportunities for youth 12 and older who will assist library staff before, during and after programs. Those interested in signing up as a volunteer can email Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An online ticketing tool is also offered on Eventbrite again this year that parents can use to sign up beforehand for events.
“It’s not absolutely necessary that someone get tickets through that, but it kind of helps us have an idea of how many people are going to be coming,” Graham said.