VERONA – The Mohawk Regional Information Center (MORIC) hosted its first Leadership Through Technology Girls Camp over the recent winter break, bringing in more than 30 students to spend a day exploring technology and STEAM tools.

The camp, held at Madison-Oneida BOCES in Verona, was offered in partnership with the New York State Association for Computers and Technology in Education (NYSCATE). It allowed students from 13 districts across the MORIC region to gain hands-on experience with coding, robotics, virtual reality, augmented reality, Breakout EDU, Legos and other makerspace-style activities. Carmalita Seitz, coordinator of Professional Learning Service at NYSCATE, led the keynote and opening session.

“[Our goal was] all about getting girls more excited about STEM subjects and activities and using their creativity in new and exciting ways,” Model Schools coordinator Laurie Yager said.

Upon checking in Friday morning, campers immediately dove in to a project, building a paper circuit from copper tape and other basic materials to light a small bulb. During the opening session, small teams of students had 10 minutes to conceptualize, design and create something of their own choosing using only a cardboard box, tape and some basic crafting supplies.

“This exercise is an example of the type of creative thinking you’ll be doing today, both with and without technology,” Model Schools coordinator Allison Blackwell said.

Model Schools coordinators worked with campers in small breakout sessions and organized a “tech playground” to allow them to explore and experience different tools available for instructional use through MORIC. The day also included leadership and team-building activities woven in throughout the day.

MORIC’s Girls Camp was modeled after a similar camp that NYSCATE offered last year in the Rochester area. Yager, a NYSCATE board member, attended that event with Blackwell and said they immediately knew they wanted to bring an opportunity like that to the Mohawk Valley region.

Visit the Madison-Oneida BOCES Facebook page and both the MOBOCES and MORIC Twitter profiles for more photos and video from the day.