PABLO — High school students from the Flathead Indian Reservation participated in a unique summer camp at Salish Kootenai College last week to connect and problem solve community challenges through games, science and technology.
The SKC Flathead Tech 4 Good is more than a short-term summer camp; it is a community outreach and professional development initiative to empower students and open up new ideas to their career paths in fields of technology.
“We try to show area teens a variety of tech skills — from filmmaking to coding to cyber-security — and connect them with the issues they know on the reservation,” said Dayton Smith, Americorp leader volunteer.
This year the camp took on the theme “Water is Life” with a full week of workshops, guest speakers and field trips that helped build creativity in the students.
The second day students were taken on a field trip with Watershed Ed Network volunteers and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Natural Resource Department staffer Chauncey Means to learn how computer instruments are used in rivers to understand the health of a water base. They were shown the process of how a device is created via hardware engineers and computer software programmers. Students were also part of the computer analyzing project as well.
The third day students worked with instructors Tom Trickel, SKC computer engineering instructor, and CSKT tribal member, Dr. Cory Cornelius, Intel Research Scientist, in the computer lab to learn computer programing. Other workshops included media design and filmmaking.
Later in the week students took in a workshop hosted by Washington Corp. from Missoula on cyber security. Smith explained this workshop allowed students to see how important certain jobs are and how rapidly the field is growing as more and more people spend time connected to the Internet.
The last day students recapped and worked on video productions of their own where they were able to use pieces made up from family photos and music from their own personal creative design or from the Water is Life challenge theme.
Flathead Tech 4 Good staff said the enrollment went down to nearly half the size this year due to many camps in session at the same time.
Students involved this year were: Tre S. Heath, 13, eighth grade, St. Ignatius Middle School; Amber R. Redneck, 15, Sophomore, Willard Alternative High School, Missoula; Hailee Crumley, 16, Junior, Polson High School; Blyth Bolman, 11, seventh grade, Ronan Middle School; Leah A. Maxfield, 14, Freshman, Charlo High School; Sarah Stillsmoking, 12, seventh grade, Polson Middle School; Keiton Flamand, 13, seventh grade, Polson Middle School.