STEM vs. STEAM
You may know that STEM stands for "Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math." STEAM adds a vital component to the mix: Art. Our own experiences in the word of technology and engineering have taught us that art can give us new ways to see STEM problems and can lead our students to appreciate and gain inspiration from a rigorous STEM curriculum.
Adding the A to STEM is really more a matter of acknowledging the power and pervasiveness of art. STEM lessons naturally involve art: new technologies get rolled into product design; Video game design requires both computer code and digital art assets; HTML and CSS must work closely with the aesthetic requirements for the website or mobile app being created; etc. STEM projects do not deliberately exclude the arts or any other subject; rather, these subjects are included incidentally as needed for engineering challenges. At STEAM Camp, we're just acknowledging the A and making STEM education a bit more interesting and fun!
What is the connection with The Guild Hall, Jolly Goblin Games, The Chromatic Dragon, and 8-Bit Donuts?
The Guild Hall was founded five years ago and has been Savannah's premier location for creative geniuses ever since. Founded by a group of technologists and engineers who moved to Savannah from Silicon Valley, The Guild Hall has since evolved into four different organizations: STEAM Camp, Jolly Goblin Games, The Chromatic Dragon, and 8-Bit Donuts.
Our campus is located downtown, with three buildings and off-street parking at the corner of Gaston & MLK. We are the home to a community of hundreds of local gamers, techies, and creatives. In addition to a gamer pub, game store, and donut shop, the campus features multiple PC labs, several classrooms, an outdoor stage, and more video games and board games than anywhere else in Savannah.
You might recognize The Guild Hall as a frequent sponsor and host of tech conferences and startup competitions, like Global Game Jam, the TAG Hackathon, Geekend, Georgia Tech's startup workshops, and more. The Guild Hall has always been Savannah's number one destination for the tech community. Now STEAM Camp continues that tradition by fostering the next generation of technologists, engineers, and scientists.
Are the different classes identical? Does my camper have to take I to before taking II?
In any given summer, classes with the same name and number will cover the same itinerary. But different numbered classes - say, Video Game I and II, for example - will cover different material and possibly use different tools.
Because each class is designed as a stand-alone two-week course, it is not necessary to take the previous class (like Minecraft I) in order to take the class with a higher number (like Minecraft III). Nor is it necessary to take them in order, but it might be more fun that way. Please note: Video Game Design II is the one class that is more difficult and advanced than its prior counterpart, so that class may be more dificult for campers with no previous experience with coding.
Is Lunch Included?
No, but we do offer lunch from our restaurant, The Chromatic Dragon, for an extra fee of $10/day. The restaurant has several kid-friendly options on its regular menu and will also be offering some healthier fare exclusively for STEAM Camp, so campers will also have the option to grab lunch at The Dragon on days when parents don't feel like sending lunch with them.
Are there any age restrictions or recommendations for certain classes?
Yes, but we like to use a soft range of rising 4th to 9th graders, with the ability for some exceptions on either end of the sepctrum. The video game and robotics classes are not as appropriate for campers who are too young, although we will accept younger campers who have sufficient maturity, experience and/or ability (indeed, one of the best video games designed during the summer of 2016 was created by a 10 year-old). The Minecraft Camps, on the other hand, can accomodate a wide range of ages and are designed to be able to more approachable for younger campers. In our experience, it also helps if a younger camper will be attending with an older sibling - so we have sometimes relaxed the age requrement in situations like that. If you have a camper who is younger or older than our recommendations, please contact us to discuss why your camper might still be a good fit.
What is a Freeplay Gaming?
These sessions are offered during Winter and Spring Breaks, and in the weeks just before our summer camp sessions.
The idea is that campers can enjoy exclusive access to PC games, console video games and board games, along with other campers. We have dozens of PC and console video game systems, as well as hundreds of board games. We wanted to give campers a chance to blow off some steam (pun intended!) during the weeks between the end of school and the start of camp, and also the weeks between the end of camp and the start of school. We don't claim that it will be educational, but it will be a lot of adult-supervised fun!