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Camp for Reading children combines railroad history and digital technology

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Posted: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 11:55 am

More than 20 youngsters attended the">Holleran Center for Community Engagement's third annual week-long Junior Creativity Camp to learn about local railroad history and digital recording technology.

Make sure to watch their video.

This year's theme was "All Aboard: Technology on Track." The camp ran from Aug. 2 to Aug. 6.

Participants had the opportunity to explore digital media using various technological mediums, such as podcasts and blogs.

The participants experimented with recording tools and video production equipment.

All of this was incorporated into an understanding of train technology as trains were a central part of the city of Reading and still dot the landscape. The camp taught the participants the history of the Reading Railroad while incorporating the understanding of the future of technology.

Throughout the week, the group toured local sites such as the Pagoda, where the participants got a bird's eye view of not only the city but also of Reading's railroad tracks.

The group also spent an afternoon at Berks Community Television, BCTV, where they learned all about video production and had the chance to record their own television newscast.

In addition, the group traveled to Strasburg, Lancaster County, to tour the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and took a ride on an authentic restored coal-burning steam locomotive.

A closing ceremony was held on Aug. 6 at St. Peter's Church on South Fifth Street, providing an opportunity for camp participants to be recognized for their participation and achievements during camp by local community leaders.

Michael Toledo, the executive director of Centro Hispano, was the keynote speaker.

This year's Junior Creativity Camp had 21 participants, ages 7-10, most of whom are active participants in the">South Reading Youth Initiative — a signature program of the Holleran Center for Community Engagement.

Mike Nerino, assistant professor of computer information systems, was the faculty instructor for the camp and was assisted by Holleran Center staff Jessica Umbenhauer (project coordinator), Christopher Fake (South Reading Youth Initiative program manager) and Meghann Burton (AmeriCorps*PACC-VISTA).

Alvernia students Brett Ames, and Heather Shainline also join the staff team.

The South Reading Youth Initiative, a free after-school program designed for children ages 7-14 who live or go to school in the South Reading area, provides after-school and summer programming supported by faculty, staff and students of Alvernia University.

These programs have been generously supported by federal and state grants as well as local funders. Founded in 2006, the South Reading Youth Initiative aims to promote continued education, mentoring and support for healthy choices through exposure to arts, culture and educational opportunities within Greater Reading.

If you have any questions about Creativity Camp or the South Reading Youth Initiative, please contact Christopher Fake at 610-568-1527 or at


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