Michael Richards, a former software and technology expert of the self-storage industry, has announced a new summer science camp for teens to be provided by Science Camps of America, a nonprofit organization Richards started after selling his software business in 2010. The inaugural sleep-away science camp will open in June in Pahala, on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Science Camp of America’s mission is to provide fun, intense science experiences to inspire future generations to better understand the universe. “The idea is to get the kids outside and into the field to experience science," Richards said. "Each day, we will jump into the vans and head out to learn about our world. One day we might be examining lava flows, the next we might be helping reforest former ranch land, the next we might be stargazing from Mauna Kea. Being in the field, accompanied by science teachers and scientists, campers will not only absorb a tremendous amount of knowledge, they will also have an idea of what it’s like to be a scientist.”
Floyd McCoy, the organization’s director for education, was raised on the Big Island and is a professor of geology and oceanography at the University of Hawaii’s Windward campus. “When Mike, who has been one of my geology students, asked if I would be interested in helping him start Science Camp, I agreed immediately. This is a fantastic and unique opportunity for kids since it gets them outside, hands-on with the science. And the Big Island is just the perfect location for this camp," McCoy said.
McCoy, a Harvard Ph.D. and Fulbright Scholar, has been in TV specials for "National Geographic" as well as the BBC, TLC, NBC, and Discovery channels. He oversees curriculum development for Science Camp.
The first summer-camp session, "Land and Sea," will be held June 22-July 1. Campers will examine volcanoes, geology, beaches, reefs and the ocean. The second session, "Air and Space," will take place July 1-10. Topics include the atmosphere, weather systems, climate change and the innovative technologies being developed to address the ever-changing world. Science Camp will be held on the grounds of Pahala Plantation Cottages.
Based in Hawaii, Science Camps of America is currently awaiting 501(c)3 approval. It is one of only a few camps available for high school students interested in experiencing science and nature.
Richards founded Hi-Tech Smart Systems Inc., his self-storage software business, in Hawaii in 1983 and sold it in 2010. “That opened up a great opportunity for me to start this camp. I love science, and I love watching kids learn science," he said. "I am so encouraged by the excitement young people show for science and technology. With Science Camp, we hope to help science teachers everywhere deepen that excitement by putting teens in the field to experience great science first-hand.”
Richards also announced the availability of the Fred Hendy Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will allow qualified students from Hawaii to attend one of the camp’s 2013 sessions. Details about applying for this and other scholarships may be found at ScienceCampsAmerica.com.