Dear Parents/Guardians and Tinkerers,
Welcome to Tinkering Camp! We are thrilled that you’ll be joining us for camp. Your child is going to have an opportunity to exercise creative genius and apply it to art, engineering, and design challenges with real tools, techniques, and materials. This guide will help answer some common questions and tell you more about what to expect at Tinkering Camp.
Whether you are a returning family or brand new to Tinkering Camp, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at 310-393-3636.
Jonathan Markowitz Bijur
reDiscover Center Mission
reDiscover Center develops children's creativity through hands-on making with sustainable materials. reDiscover is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, #20-0192617.
Tinkering Camp provides a 1:5 ratio of facilitators to children. We are dedicated to providing the strongest, most experienced staff we can. The adult staff members are trained professional educators, makers, and/or artists. Intern staff are closely supervised by experience facilitators.
We ask that all children arrive within 15 minutes of the scheduled start time of the camp. If you will be late please call or text us at 310-393-3636 to let us know. Children can be dropped off as early as 15 minutes before the scheduled start time. If your child needs to leave early due to external commitments please let us know in advance – this is a courtesy to all attendees and helps us structure the day for all tinkerers.
Please talk to your child about responsibility and safety regarding a workshop setting. Tinkering Camp is fun and intense but also requires focus, teamwork, and listening.
At the end of the day, please pick up your child by 15 minutes after the scheduled end time of the camp or make arrangements to place your child in aftercare (subject to availability) with our Tinkering Club. You can arrive anytime up to 15 minutes early, but early arrivals may be given a broom and asked to help clean up the workshop! We strongly encourage campers to stay through the end of the camp day to learn good shop habits of maintaining a tidy workspace and participate in end-of-day discussions.
Aftercare is available until 6:00 PM at the reDiscover Center (Venice) location only. Please let us know at least one day in advance if your child will be staying for aftercare and mark your estimated pick up time when signing in your child that morning. In aftercare, tinkerers sketch, work on individual projects, and play with tinkering-oriented games and toys.
Children will be working with wood, metal and cardboard, and usually go outside for lunch. Please be sure your child is wearing sturdy, closed-toed shoes (NO SANDALS). Loose clothes, shirts that expose the belly and halter-tops are prohibited. Appropriate clothes are part of a safe environment. If a child is wearing inappropriate clothing we will provide alternatives from our lost and found. We do not provide shoes. Long hair must be tied back. If your child is susceptible to the sun, please include sunscreen and/or a hat among their belongings.
If your child does carry a cell phone they are asked to leave it in their bag during the workshop and can check messages at lunchtime. Children are asked to leave tablets or games at home. Please no pocket money, gum, or candy.
What to Bring
- Snack and Lunch in a sack that is easy to carry. Fruit and water are available throughout the day, provided by Tinkering Camp.
- Reusable water bottle. We have a water cooler but do not provide disposable cups.
- Layers! If the marine layer is in, provide a warm shirt or jacket.
While it is unlikely, should an injury occur during Tinkering Camp we will take whatever steps are necessary to obtain proper care. These steps include:
- Attempt to call parent/guardian.
- Attempt to call second contact given on registration form.
- Call an ambulance or paramedic.
For minor injuries, staff will apply first aid such as band aids, ice packs, and burn cream, and file an Incident Report, with a copy sent home with the injured child.
It is imperative to let us know if your child is taking medication or has a medical situation, such as peanut allergies, that must be dealt with by camp staff. Tinkering Camp is NOT a no-nut environment. The policy for children receiving medication during workshop hours:
- No medication will be given without written parent/guardian permission. Child’s name, name of medication, dosage, time and date must be provided.
- Medication must be in the original prescription container.
Each day varies but will generally follow this schedule.
9:00 Arrival and warm up open activity
9:30 Introduce Daily Schedule
9:40 Morning Tool Training or Design Challenge
10:40 Snack break
11:00 Cleanup and preparation/introduction to afternoon activity
12:00 Lunch and outdoor activity
1:00 Return from Lunch
1:15 Afternoon Build
2:45 Cleanup and reflection
3:00 Dismissal, start of Aftercare
*Children will NOT be allowed to leave the site to get food at a nearby restaurant.
We will have fruit and water available at all times. Please pack a reusable water bottle!
Even happy children need limits. We use a model of positive reinforcement with the group. Occasionally there is a behavior problem that must be managed to ensure a safe workshop environment for all participants. If a behavior problem persists, the following steps will be taken. If our general positive limit-setting isn’t effective with your child:
- A facilitator will take the child aside for a 1:1 chat about his/her behavior and its effect on the group.
- A phone call will be made to the parent/guardian.
- A child who poses a danger to themself or others will be removed from areas with tools until the dangerous behavior stops.
- A conference with the child, parent/guardian, and a facilitator will be held at the earliest convenient time.
- If the behavior persists and is dangerous or significantly disruptive to the group experience, the child will be dismissed from the remainder of the program without refund.
Shortly after your Tinkering Camp session we will follow up with a brief evaluation form. Please take time to complete and return the form. We want to make Tinkering Camp better and better! You can also email your ideas and comments to email@example.com.
Support and Scholarships
As a charitable organization, reDiscover's work depends on donations: financial, in-kind, and volunteering. Please consider the reDiscover Center among your philanthropic causes and spread the word about our work.
Our community brings us in regular contact with teachers and organizations who can identify eager tinkerers who lack financial resources. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for Tinkering Camp, primarily for foster and homeless children. If you would like to help or if you know of a Foundation or Trust that could help sponsor a future tinkerer please contact Jonathan Bijur at 310-393-3636 or firstname.lastname@example.org.