How long did it take you before you could answer the question "What do you want to be when you grow up"? Well, I caught up with some kids who already have it all figured out and they haven't even reached middle school. "I want to build something that will change the world forever," says 10-year old Harrison Diggs. How can you not love Harrison after he says something like that?
I visited with the kids as they were battling it out. They were not using brawn but brains to win the match where they were testing gadgets they created. "I've actually gotten a chance to build things", says 10 year old Jackson Whitley. The kiddoes are actually going beyond building things at this summer camp. In three weeks flat, the third, fourth and fifth grade students are learning all about everything engineering. "Facebook, Twitter, all of it, there are engineers behind all of it," says Chinedu Ndum with the National Society of Black Engineers.
As the kids race small rollers they explain to me the exercise is teaching them elastic potential energy. "That means the energy is already stored inside," the adorable Diggs is happy to tell me.
The camp, put on by the National Society of Black Engineers and sponsored by Shell Oil, is free of charge and exposes the kids to what can become a very lucrative career. "They're teaching me the basics and fundamentals on how to be a good engineer and change the future," adds Diggs.
For some of the kids they may not have had to travel far to get to the camp but this type of resource seems to be a world away for some. "A lot of these kids are written off, not because they're less talented or less intelligent than any other kid in America but just because they don't have the resources," explains Ndum.
"Nothing beats exposure," says Stanley Colley. Staley and his wife are raising their great granddaughter who is here enjoying the engineering camp. "Even my own kids, I used to tell them, when you grow up if you are fortunate enough to have kids, I just want to see you give them a little bit better life than I gave you," explains Colley.
"I am most thankful. This experience has been one of a lifetime. I wouldn't change it for the world," smiles school teacher Michelle Reese whose son is enjoying the engineering camp.
The program is also to get girls interested in engineering. "We need girl power here," 10 year old Kinsley Blair laughs.
"It's fun and it helps you learn about many different things that you don't know," explains 9 year old Paige Wilson.
The camp is expected to expand to 6th through 8th graders next year. If your child is interested in attending remember the camp is first come first served. Search for the Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) program on the National Society for Black Engineers website. That's where you can find out when registration will open for 2014. http://www.nsbe.org/Seek/Registration.aspx