The kids got to light things up, literally, by putting together their own circuit boards in today’s camp. It wasn’t always easy! If one circuit was misconnected, then the LED circuit board was dull. Our kids had to apply their logical thinking and problem solving skills to make their very own circuit board. Thanks to Ms. Jessica Mathis, startup/entrepreneur extraordinaire, for helping the kids through their introduction to engineering through conductivity.
UpstartU session 8 was a two day hip-hop dance program with Safiyyah Rasool. She instructed the kids step-by-step, literally. And the kids learned and practiced Safiyyah’s unique hip hop routines. They were able to confidently express themselves through the dances. The days were filled with a lot of dancing and a lot of fun! Safiyyah’s love for dance was certainly contagious and we discovered we had some very, very talented Uspiritus kids.
Last week, in session seven of UpstartU 2017, the Uspiritus kids met Suzy Hatcher and were able to make two of their own unique pieces of pottery. They started off with a slab of clay and Suzy walked them through step-by-step how to make a vase and a memory box. They then made their pieces unique by adding their own textures – some used a carving stick and others even used the bottom of their shoes. Later in the week, the kids came back and painted glaze onto their pieces to give them color and make them their own. Suzy took the pieces with her to fire in her kiln and the kids will get back their keepsakes this week!
Last week at UpstartU 2017, the kids at Uspiritus met Linkin’ Bridge, the singing group from the west end of Louisville that were finalists on season 11 of America’s Got Talent. The members of Linkin’ Bridge have had similar life experiences as some of the kids at Uspiritus and related to them on that level. They spoke of overcoming obstacles, turning your life around and staying positive in the face of adversity no matter what. They sang many of the songs they were famous for from AGT, such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “7 Years.” The kids were very inspired and seemed to take the overall message of positivity to heart. It was an awesome and moving session of UpstartU 2017.
Jecorey “1200” Arthur spent 3 days with the kids at Uspiritus last week for an overview of music, dance and live performance. Jecorey’s high-energy style filled the room and soon transferred to the kids as they learned how to dance and sing to all different types of music – including folk, hip hop and jazz. Jecorey showed the kids how to create music through improvisation on the keyboard and through scat-singing. The 3 days of learning culminated in group and individual performances by each of the kids – including a final ‘dance-off’ party with pizza and cookies!
Last week in session four of UpstartU 2017, the Uspiritus kids met some of the guys from Louisville Geek and got the chance to learn about building and designing video games. They had laptops that they were able to experience first-hand what designing their own game might be like. They learned how to navigate the game-building program, how to put together the scene in which they wanted a part of their game to be set and finally, they were able to add characters. The kids then watched videos showing many different aspects of the video game designing field such as coding, programming and graphic design. They all had a blast and were encouraged to consider a career in the field.
Last week at Uspiritus, session three of UpstartU 2017 sparked an intensive discussion about the future of technology and what it means. Dr. Roman Yampolskiy from the University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering came to have a TED Talk-like chat about Artificial Intelligence, nanotechnology and robotics with David Fenley and the kids at Uspiritus. The kids were engaged and had plenty of questions and opinions to voice. In fact, Dr. Yampolskiy complimented the kids on their intelligent and even philosophical questions, saying that he’s been to numerous conferences with top minds in the field and heard better questions from kids. He definitely got the kids thinking about their future and their education paths, which is what UpstartU is all about!
This week at Uspiritus, UpstartU 2017 continued with Mr. Ed White, founder and executive director of Louisville’s River City Drum Corp. Mr. White brought in standing drums for each of the kids in this session and began teaching them a percussive rhythm sequence bit by bit, helping them memorize each part before adding on to it. The theme of the day was “stay in your lane.” Mr. White helped the kids pay attention to feeling the rhythm and to not getting distracted by what those around them were (or weren’t) doing. By the end of the session, the kids were playing in unison and having a great time! Mr. White will be back almost once a week throughout the summer to continue drumming with the kids at Uspiritus. The summer will culminate with a celebratory drumming performance by all!
This week, we were so excited to kick-off a summer of learning and creativity for the awesome children at Uspiritus! The first session featured film industry veterans, Carl Ellsworth and Zach Meiners. Carl, who is currently on contract with Warners Bros. to write the remake of the Gremlins movie, talked with the kids about screenplay writing and assisted them in writing their very own short film. Then, filmmaker and founder/director at Chronicle Cinemas, Zach Meiners, talked to the kids about the different aspects of filming a movie. They were lead through a script-reading and camera-angle test while filming. That’s a wrap on session one of UpstartU 2017 camp at Uspiritus!
UpstartU wrapped up last week with a five day hip-hop dance program with Safiyyah Rasool. Three groups of kids spent Monday through Thursday learning, practicing and trying to perfect two different dance routines (old school and new school). That’s a lot of dancing for four days! The week culminated with a dance showcase on Friday when each group performed their routines for an audience. A lot of fun was had and we discovered we have some very talented kids!