Iḷisaġvik College Summer Camps a Hit with Alaskan Students

This year, Iḷisaġvik College sponsored a diversity of summer camps for participants ranging from sixth grade through adulthood.  Campers came from all over the North Slope, as well as Kivalina, Koyuk, and Sishmaref.  Attendance in many of the camps, which were held from May 31 to August 6 this summer, earned the campers college credit.

All totaled, Iḷisaġvik held 12 camps that provided programs to 115 students at no cost to the students. Costs were covered by Iḷisaġvik with the help of grants and charitable donations from the Arctic Slope Community Foundation, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), ASRC Federal, Shell Oil, the North Slope Borough, Title III Grant funds, and North Slope Borough Autaaqtuq Grant funds.

The twelve camps offered were: Construction Trades camp, Allied Health (High School & Middle School camps), Digital Film camp, Climate Change, Computer camp, Public Safety, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Jurassic Genetics, Inupiaq Land Values & Resources, Eider Journey, and GED.

Though the camps were predominantly led by Iḷisaġvik faculty, some were provided by outside entities on Iḷisaġvik’s campus in Barrow.  The Public Safety camp was put on by a combination of State Troopers, Law Enforcement Cadet Corps, US Marshalls, and the Village Public Safety Program.  The University of Alaska Fairbanks conducted the Jurassic Genetics camp, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service facilitated their annual Eider Journey camp, in which students got experience working in the field with Eider ducks.

Some students took full advantage of the benefits offered by the summer camp program and attended as many camps as they could. Mele (Mae Mae) Finau, who participated in the Public Safety camp said, “The law enforcement camp was my fav. I learned a lot, experienced things I didn’t ever think I would – all the officers have inspired me even more to join the NAVY once I graduate from school – every activity we did was awesome.”  For some participants, like William Swanson from Koyuk who attended the STEM camp, the best thing was “meeting new people and learning more.” He said he would definitely want to come back and participate again next year.

When asked what their favorite thing about camp was, here’s what a few of this summer’s campers answered:

“Meeting new people and learning about science, technology, engineering, and math. I want to come to all the camps next year if possible!” –Samantha Wade, Wainwright (STEM Camp)

“Going underground on the BUECI tour.”  –Christian Texeira, Barrow (STEM Camp)

“My favorite thing was everything!! From the first camp till the last camp!! From when I left Shishmaref till my last day in Barrow!! I can go on and on about all my favorite moments!! I would like to thank all the workers at the Iḷisaġvik College for accepting me into all three camps I applied for!! This summer was the BEST SUMMER!!! I will ALWAYS remember this summer!” –Nellie Okpowruk, Shishmaref (Allied Health HS, Climate Change, and Public Safety)

“Everything was fantastic!  I’m going to go back and sign up for every camp I can go to!” –Timmothy Ferreira, Point Lay (Climate Change and Public Safety)

“Meeting other people from different villages.” –Clayton Lambrecht, Barrow (Allied Health MS)

Thanks to a grant from ASRC Federal, two externs, Mackenzee Nicely and Andrea Joule assisted with the camp programs, providing fun activities for the students to do in the evenings after camp. According to Mackenzee,

“My summer was delightful.  The kids were more than amazing at each and every camp. I had a lot of fun meeting kids from all over Alaska and their interest in each field was very exciting to see. I really enjoyed this job and it was a great opportunity to get involved with the community.”

Iḷisaġvik Recruiting Specialist Norman Edwards coordinated this year’s summer camps.   “Being the Camp Coordinator allowed me to meet campers from throughout the state of Alaska and remind them that education is the key that opens many doors in life,” Edwards stated.  “A huge thank you to all of our funders and all of the agencies and individuals that helped make this summer so much fun for our campers.”

For more information about summer camps at Iḷisaġvik College, please contact Norman Edwards at 1.800.478.7337 ext. 1772 or norman.edwards@Iḷisaġvik.edu.