In the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, one Taos nonprofit is giving kids stuck at home something to do.TrueKids1 hosted its first ever Digital Day Camp for …
In the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, one Taos nonprofit is giving kids stuck at home something to do.
TrueKids1 hosted its first ever Digital Day Camp for students interested in learning about the media field and the various jobs associated with gathering information and producing stories for the public.
"There is very little happening in our community for children right now and all across New Mexico," said camp director Jennifer Roderick.
While much of the state was under stay-at-home orders from the governor, Roderick and others from the TrueKids network quickly put their heads together to envision the free digital camp. The initial focus was to connect students ages 8 to 18 with media professionals and discuss heroes of the pandemic and living in isolation.
Students were given the option to join a number of weekly Zoom meetings to discuss journalism, video production, podcasting, gaming, web design, app development and social media to explore the themes.
"We're in this moment and we're living through historic times," said web design director Sara Livingston. "We get to decide what happens to us now and we're trying to prompt these kids to think about that."
The themes evolved over the course of the June camp as protests and insurrections spread across the United States over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, a Black man who died handcuffed on the ground as a police officer held a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Many students in the camp shifted their focuses toward a platform of social justice and were able to meet and speak on Zoom with organizers of some of the events.
A total of 160 students from across New Mexico and surrounding states joined in the video chats which were held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Tuesday and Thursdays were for the students to take what they learned in the meetings and apply it to their projects.
"Its continuing to connect students to their community," Roderick said. "This camp is an inspiration."
Students in the animation section learned how to create computer graphics of lava lamps, campfires and other applications to help tell a digital story.
Some worked in collaboration with each other, according to Roderick, in order to fully tell a story of local hip-hop group PO.10.CEE.
The journalism group worked toward interviews with the band leading up to a live performance scheduled for June 19.
"It gave a really great glimpse into the band's motivation," Roderick said. "It was so amazing to see that within three weeks all have come together to promote this local event."
According to Roderick, the social media team worked to gather the journalist team's information and launch it on the camp's blog and social media platforms.
The camp was free to anyone who was interested and slots filled up quick.
Within the first 48 hours of the registration going live, there was already a waiting list for the camp.
"I think this is the first of many," Roderick said. "The kids responded very well."
TrueKids1 is a Taos-based nonprofit organization which focuses on media and teaching students how to use the tools available to tell a story. The efforts of the group take experts in the field into classrooms to teach students about the number of ways of gathering data and information and using that to tell a story.
Digital camps and similar meetings have been the norm since social distancing and stay-at-home orders rose in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Following Friday's (June 26) camp conclusion, TrueKids1 will be putting together a presentation of all the work done throughout the month of June to showcase the campers' achievements.
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