Pine-Richland Youth Center hosting drone camp - PineCreek Journal

Pine-Richland Youth Center hosting drone camp

Tuesday, July 2, 2019 | 12:01 AM

Summer camps for kids span a wide spectrum of interests and likes, and a new camp being offered at the Pine-Richland Youth Center definitely falls into the category of camps that didn’t exist when today’s parents were kids — a drone camp.

At the camp, which runs July 22 to 26, campers 12 through 18 will learn not only how to fly drones but also the science and technology behind what gets the popular unmanned aircraft up and moving.

There’s so much technology in them,” said Drone Addictions’ Tom Murrin, who runs the programs along with his associate, Mary Reina. “We start with aspects of flight and how propellers are really just wings, we talk about lift and how that’s generated, then we roll on into the motors, then the battery power and then how it’s all packaged on the frame. The flight control board is the brain, so we talk about all the sensors on the drone — the gyroscope, altimeter, barometer.”

Of course, campers will also get their hands on the controls and put all that knowledge into action when they fly the drones themselves. Murrin said they design a number of games that help campers learn to pilot drones and grow comfortable with their features, including “leap drone,” where they line up hula-hoops on the floor and pilots will take off and land their drones moving from one hula-hoop to the next, and a search-and- recover operation where a pilot and co-pilot will have to search for a hidden object using the drone’s camera feature.

Also included in the class are discussions about drone safety and regulations, as the FAA does have laws governing recreational drone flying, as well as the potential to pursue a career in drones and real-world applications of the technology.

Murrin stays away from discussion about military applications, he said, but does discuss other professional uses.

“There’s a whole industry,” Murrin said. “There’s drone security. … First responders are big drone users, including the fire department and police department. Agriculture is a big user. The career opportunities are vast.”

Of course, flying drones can also be just a fun recreational hobby as well, from creating impressive videos and photographs to racing other pilots in drone racing leagues.

Lisa Finn, business coordinator at Pine-Richland Youth Center, said the camp is part of a larger effort to expand their STEM offerings.

“It was time to build momentum in the area of creating programs with the STEM principle of learning,” she said. “The PRYC will continue to see what programs are working, what programs are not and adjust accordingly to meet the needs of the communities that we serve. This fall, we hope to continue the drones education as well as find new ways to educate young adults through this approach.”