OGDEN -- Soccer became more than a game this week for high school students participating in the Nubots Robotics Camp.
Students participating in the free camp worked all week on developing the best possible robot to play in a soccer tournament held Friday night at Weber State University.
This is the second year for the camp that was created by the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College, Weber State University and Ogden School District. The camp was so successful last year that many of the students came back to the camp for another session.
Last year the campers designed their robots for a sumo wrestling competition, so this year the organizers decided to make it a little more difficult and have a soccer tournament, which adds several more steps to the robotics process. The tournament was won by team Bot 3, with members Annie Farner, a Davis County fourth-grader, and Ben Lomond High students Analise Barber, and Gage Jones.
"The whole purpose is to show the students at a relatively young age what phenomenal educational opportunities there are in Ogden," said ATC student recruitment specialist Andrew Brown.
The camp ran each afternoon after students were bused from either Ogden or Ben Lomond High School. The camp was paid for through the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (Gear Up) grant obtained through the Ogden School District.
"The school district has really helped us out by funding this through Gear Up," Brown said.
Students spent two days at the ATC and two days at WSU working on their robots and checking out the engineering programs at both schools.
"We wanted the kids to have fun, but we also wanted them to know they can have fun by going to college," Brown said.
Teachers from the ATC, WSU and Ogden High School helped instruct the students and also use that time to show the students what they have to offer not only in college but in high school.
"It can open a lot of doors for the students," Brown said.
On Friday afternoon, students worked hard at putting the finishing touches on their robots and worked out some kinks. On Thursday night, the students did a sumo wrestling competition to see if the Lego robots were up to the tasks.
The robot built by Alissa Munoz and Alina Mendoza won the sumo wrestling competition last year and had high hopes for Friday's soccer competition. Munoz attended the camp last summer and talked with her school counselor at the beginning the school year last year to make sure she could attend again.
"Last year I was working with the robot and now this year I get to mess with the computer," Munoz said as she worked with her partner.
"I have learned robots are easy, well, if you know what you are doing," Mendoza said with a huge grin.
Brown has enjoyed watching the kids learn to work together. He said they try to have the student partner up with kids they don't know and learn to work and communicate with each other.
"These kids really know what they are doing," he said.
They were able to reward students with many perks for participating in the camp with free t-shirts, flash drives downloaded with robot-building programs, gift certificates to area entertainment spots and some smaller versions of robotics materials. Brown would like to expand the camp next year to add a camp that would cost money so maybe students could take home a robot.
Jeremy Farner, a WSU professor, said outreach programs shows the high school students that someone cares about them and their education.
"It shows we care and that we are investing in their future and that college isn't scary," he said. He works with students who participate in concurrent enrollment while in high school and wants the students to be comfortable with talking with him.
"These kids amaze me, they are so quick," he said.
Munoz feels comfortable in that way and is thinking of a career in engineering.
"I have wanted to be a brain surgeon but if that doesn't work out I can build a robot that could do the surgery for me," she said.
Because of Munoz, Brown knows the camp is working to encourage kids to go to college. She had saved her certificate of completion from the camp last year for her college portfolio. Her family moved during the year and she lost the certificate and came to Brown asking if there was any way she could get another one. He, of course, was more than happy to help her out.
"This means something to these kids and it's great to see the wide range of kids and what they want to achieve," he said.