Education

Free Opa-locka summer camp to combine arts with technology

The free Art + Tech camp at the Thrive Innovation District in Opa-locka will offer students an opportunity to explore creative writing, music and dance, gaming, web design, mobile apps and 3-D printing.
The free Art + Tech camp at the Thrive Innovation District in Opa-locka will offer students an opportunity to explore creative writing, music and dance, gaming, web design, mobile apps and 3-D printing.

With technology increasingly important for success in today’s world, an Opa-locka summer camp is combining fun with arts and technology to teach students the skills needed to thrive in a tech-savvy world.

“We clearly understand the vocational, as well as practical aspect [to this camp],” said Willie Logan, CEO and president of the Opa-locka Community Development Corp. “Understanding technology and being able to use technology is an important skill set in everyday life now, just as communications is, reading and writing. So, individuals who are not empowered with those tools are often under-employed.”

The six-week camp will take place from June 19 through July 28 at the Thrive Innovation District in Opa-locka. The free camp will cater to students in the fourth through seventh grades across Miami-Dade County and offer an opportunity for them to explore the areas of creative writing, music and dance, gaming, web design, mobile apps and 3-D printing.

logan sport coat and tie
Willie Logan, CEO and president of the Opa-locka Community Development Corp. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

The camp is unique to the area and Logan said it offers solutions to some of the issues that hurt the citizens of that community, especially their youngest residents.

“We can either sit around and complain about what is missing in Opa-locka and about the art and technological divide, or we can work with partners to provide positive opportunities for youth to delve into creative writing, dance and coding right here in their own neighborhood,” Logan said. “We have chosen to revitalize assets we have amassed in downtown Opa-locka and transform them into spaces where residents of all ages in Northwest Miami-Dade County can make, create and innovate, starting with our Arts+Tech camps this summer.”

Many parents are excited about the opportunity for their children. Linda Powell said that the camp will help her son to stay focused while he is out of school.

“Education and motivation,” Powell said. “When kids are out of school, sometimes they get lazy. I think Thrive will be good for him to have fun and be able to keep his mind active while he is not at school. I really want my son to have a bright future and camps like this one really do help to make that dream come true.”

The creative writing portion of the camp will be directed by PageSlayers, a 2016 Knight Arts Challenge winner and feature writers of color that specialize in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and short story writing.

“And they are going to learn how to write,” Logan said. “So, whether it is writing a song or writing a skit or writing poetry they will be able to practice and hone in on their writing skills. There are many professional opportunities, recruiting, newspaper reporting, etc., where writing skills will come in handy or absolutely necessary for you [to become successful].

“So, having exposure to both the professionals and various employment opportunities in those fields with people who have done well in that, [and] to be able to learn those skills from them, we think we are providing advantages.”

For more information

Call the Opa-locka Community Development Corp. at 305-687-3545.

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