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Kirtland. Building Cars.

Great learning opportunities continue for our area’s younger learners even though summer vacation is here!  This Week @ Kirtland, we’re building cars and windmills and brush hogs…and having a great time learning with kids from across all of the communities we serve.

The Pullback Frenzy building block camp helped introduce K-3 students to important STEM lessons

The Pullback Frenzy building block camp helped introduce K-3 students to important STEM lessons

In fact, summer vacation for over 60 local kids kicked off to a fast start with three building block camps on Kirtland’s Roscommon campus. Kirtland’s Greg Sieszputowski came up with the idea to host a series of four-day summer camps. Campers would start learning about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics) and get to keep all building kit materials – a win-win situation for everyone!

In the Pullback Car Frenzy camps, designed for kids in grades K-3, students became Mini-Engineers, challenged to design new vehicles utilizing pieces from supplied car kits. Over the course of the class, students participated in experiments designed to demonstrate science and engineering concepts and laws such as gravity, potential energy and kinetic energy. And boy oh boy, you should have seen those cars fly when it was race time!

Farmland Fun participants learned important STEM lessons in a fun, hands-on setting

Farmland Fun participants learned important STEM lessons in a fun, hands-on setting

Farmland Fun was a farm-themed program where students in grades 4-6 explored both the old and new farm techniques.  Again, incorporating STEM elements, campers learned about various types of farm machines along with technologies that are used in construction, building and storage.  They even looked at the movement of commodities and how various methods increase efficiencies, along with need for the most advanced equipment. Farming is sure a lot more than just planting a seed!

“These camps gave Kirtland the opportunity to cultivate interest in STEM in our young people through building blocks,” said Sieszputowski. “The support for this project by Kirtland and local sponsors has been outstanding. As a center of learning, it was an obvious choice to bring this STEM focused opportunity to our local young people.”

And support is everything, because none of this would have been possible if not for some hard work and dedication from a whole crew of Kirtland volunteers and the Kirtland Foundation, whose efforts to create opportunities for students never ends. Special thanks to Kirtland’s Ryan Madis who received training and is now an authorized STEM camp leader.  Our recruiter is really reaching out to plant the “thinking about college seed” with future Kirtland students, no doubt about it!

And, once the idea of hosting these summer camps became a reality, Resource Development Manager Lynne Ruden got down to business and rounded up donations from several local businesses to offset the price of the attending the camp. Learning and getting to keep over $100+ dollars’ worth of race car and farming building block sets…how cool is that? We couldn’t have done it without the support of Chemical Bank, 1st Investors Title Agency, Hart Motors, Mio Lions Club, Q100.3 FM & Y101.1 Sports Talk radio stations and Woodhaven Log & Lumber…and our very own Kirtland Foundation, which continually supports access to educational opportunities for students, regardless of age!

To see more, check out the fun-filled camp pictures on Kirtland’s Facebook page at

While these campers are off to the races with their new STEM knowledge, we’re already planning to see what other great learning opportunities we can share with our community’s youth. Stay tuned!

To learn more about the programs, advising, testing, veteran services, financial aid and other resources available to students, contact 989-275-5000, extension 284, or visit us online.  And, as always, you are invited to drop in and check us out at, follow us on Twitter at, and like us on Facebook at

Kirtland. Be the future.