Today marks the final day of the 2019 Richi Innovation Camp. The past three weeks have been full of innovation, creativity, and learning—but they have also brimmed with friendships, exploration, and self-development.
This morning, the Innovators gathered one last time at Suffolk University both to commemorate and to take photographs. Then, throughout the morning and the afternoon, they joined RIC team, in filmed interviews. They spoke about their experiences at the camp—what they enjoyed, how they changed; what they wish that they could have changed in retrospect.
This afternoon, the Innovators gathered at the Suffolk University Law School to present their final Challenge Pitches to three professional panelists. The panelists included Rachel So, a neuropsychology fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital; Chuck Goldstone, a communications expert with an astounding resume; and Ricardo Garcia, president and founder of the Richi Childhood Cancer Foundation.
This year’s Challenge was to create a STEAM activity to help alleviate long-term learning difficulties in childhood brain tumor survivors. The Innovators were judged based on their comprehension of the task, creativity, strength of idea, and presentation.
Team 7 went first. They created a board game called Ike Island, in which children travel through a board game, stopping to play mini-games like Uno, eventually exploding a homemade volcano.
They were followed by Team 4, who created a plan called Richi Cooking. Richi, the inspiration behind the Cancer Foundation and Ricardo’s son, loves to cook. The Innovators made a series of videos detailing how to create a pizza, teaching children about polygons and concepts like fermentation along the way.
Then came Team 8, Richi Airlines. They devised a series of detailed instructions on how to create a paper airplane, a simple activity made both more and less complicated in order to better serve children with learning difficulties.
Team 6 had a game built around the water cycle, one of the most relevant scientific topics for young children. They created videos explaining the water cycle as well as an extensive puzzle, so that the children would have some basis before attempting to put the pieces together.
After Team 6 was Team 5, Astrometry. In three short weeks, the members of Team 5 coded and designed a video game complete with a story, graphics, and animations. The video game deals with an astronaut attempting to find his way back to Earth, traveling through the solar system, pausing to deal with mini games that involve math.
After a short break came Team 3, who came up with a plan involving circuitry. Electricity can be conducted by connecting potatoes or lemons together, and the members of Team 3 learned not only how to control this electricity, or even how to modify it for challenged children, but also how to give the children space to fail and experiment on their own.
Team 2 followed with a plan involving the digestive system. Their idea revolved around an apple—they created extensive, three-dimensional diagrams and games to help children better understand how food travels through and breaks down in the body.
Finally came Team 1 with a catapult. Inspired by common images in the Lord of the Rings franchise, the members of Team 1 designed a catapult out of paper and tape, and then modified this design to suit children with learning difficulties. The children not only gained a learning activity, but a new toy as well.
After the Innovators’ presentations, the jury broke off for good conversation and company at the end-of-program party. There, facilitators joined the students once more, discussing with them their progress, struggles, and triumphs.
The jury eventually called the members of the party back into the presentation room. There, every Innovator was given an individual certificate of completion. Thanks were given once more to the jurors and the staff of the Richi Camp.
This year, the three groups judged to have the best project were selected for the prize: a free one-year subscription to National Geographic and a one-year mentorship program in their home countries. This mentor would help them with their individual interests and professional pursuits.
Astrometry, Richi Airlines, and Richi Cooking were the winning designs this year. The jury deliberated for quite some time, but ultimately had to settle. Congratulations to the winners!
This year’s Innovation Camp was the largest edition yet, though the program continues to grow. As previously stated, it’s not only about professional growth—it’s also about maturation and building lifelong relationships in a country far from home.
Like what you’ve seen here? Stay tuned for future editions of the Richi Innovation Camp (including our upcoming winter edition) this year!