Western Iowa Tech Community College campus in Denison

Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC) will be offering something new for kids in the elementary and middle school age range this summer.

Classes called “Creative Kids,” “Learning Español” and “Innovative Technology” will fill a need in the community, said Jessica Garcia, director of the WITCC Denison Campus and Southern Service Area.

“We created the camps based on the resources available in Denison and what we feel the children in the community could benefit from,” Garcia said.

The WITCC Sioux City campus had a similar program in the past, but the summer camps are brand new to Denison.

Garcia, WITCC Associate Dean of Recruitment Christina Brandon, Sandy Velazquez, who will teach the technology camp, and members of the main Sioux City campus developed the program for the Denison campus.

The Creative Kids camp will be taught by Kelsey Hipnar. Kids will get to do a variety of projects, such as creating whatever they would like out of five pounds of clay, screen-printing on clay and glazing.

They will also make gardening aprons and terra cotta planters and then plant succulents.

The kids will also learn to paint on canvas and - if time permits - they will learn to stretch their own canvases.

“The art camp will be a lot of fun for the students,” Garcia said.

The Spanish language class came about because of the dual language program that began in the Denison school system last year.

“We knew there was a group of students who, because of their age and where they were in their education level, didn’t qualify for the dual language program,” Garcia said.

The camp will fill a need for those students who would like to begin to learn Spanish.

“We feel bilingual education is a benefit to anyone and everyone,” she said.

Students will learn the basics of the Spanish language and how to communicate in places such as restaurants, grocery stores and churches.

Mayra Velazquez will be the Spanish instructor.

In the technology camp, the kids will learn how to code on a computer and will create a game and develop a mobile app.

“We want to start getting kids thinking about a career in computer technology,” Garcia said.

All the classes take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The school will provide lunch and outdoor activities during the day.

“With little kids you have to get some of the wiggles and giggles out,” Garcia said.

Each camp will include field trips to local businesses and organizations involved in the activities the kids are learning.

The Creative Kids camp takes place June 24 through 28; Learning Español is from July 15 through 19 and Innovative Technology runs from July 22 through 26.

Garcia said the school will be flexible on the ages of the students.

“I’ve signed people up that are 7 - almost 8 - and some kids that are almost 13,” she said. “We just didn’t want adults expressing interest – it is for elementary to middle school age kids.”

Each camp costs $100, which pays for supplies, meals, field trips and for the instructors.

Garcia said WITCC does not expect to make money on the classes.

“We’re in it to help the community and to help our youth be active and learn something new that they might not have been able to learn before,” she said.

Each camp will be capped at 25 students – and they are starting to fill up already, Garcia said.

“Anyone interested should give us a call or stop out and get their child registered,” she said. “We want to be able to include as many as possible.”

If the camps have good enrollment this summer, the program will return next year – but with new camps.

“We’re already starting to work on the ideas for next summer, just to keep a variety of options out there for students,” she said.

Culinary arts and business camps are possibilities.

“We just want to get kids out and involved and help them any way we can,” Garcia said.

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