KCI offers Tech Camp for teens over break

Students learn engineering and programming skills at the KCI Tech Camp in December at Foothill. Courtesy of KCI

Over winter break, students will have a new opportunity to flex their creativity at a camp hosted by the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College.

The KCI Tech Camp, open to students ages 12-16, will be taught by professional instructors with engineering experience. Students will have access to technology such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, microcontrollers, LED lights and PCs to create their own designs.

The camp emphasizes the development of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) and design-thinking skills through hands-on experience. Each morning, students will learn a new skill, according to KCI’s Maker in Residence Elisabeth Sylvan. In the afternoon, they will use what they have just learned and imagine how to expand it into a bigger project; for example, a student may learn to make a paper sensor, then visualize how the technology could be used in the context of building an element of a city.

“My hope is that the young people who come to the program will learn to create in new ways from tools (in) our makerspace and their own ideas and dreams,” Sylvan said.

Students can take home their daily projects and also have the opportunity to create a final project based on skills they learned throughout the week. The camp ends with a gallery walkthrough, in which families are invited to survey their children’s creations.

“The kids were so excited. They were so proud of what they did,” Sylvan said of the walkthrough experience at the previous camp, held in December. “Speaking as a parent now, you don’t get that kind of experience from every camp. You’re happy if the kid has a good time and they come home happy and exhausted. But in this case, the kids really got to show their parents that they learned something. Not only did they learn something, but they learned it well enough to create and make things on their own.”

December was the first time KCI offered the camp, which received rave reviews from families, according to KCI Director Gay Krause. KCI plans to offer additional sessions of the camp in the summer.

“The goal of the camp is for students to obtain more STEAM in a fun, playful way, and to help students become more creators of their own education,” Krause said.

The camp will be held in KCI’s new Underground Makerspace, unveiled in December. KCI’s mission is to serve educators, emphasizing technology integration and a STEAM curriculum. The Underground Makerspace has expanded KCI’s reach, providing space for both Foothill College students and community members to design, create and take courses.

“(The Underground Makerspace is) a very exciting new opportunity, and we’re very anxious for people in the community to come visit,” Krause said. “We want to be sure it’s all used, by Foothill college students here, by faculty, by people in the community. It’s a very welcoming environment.”

The camp is slated 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 19-23 at KCI at Foothill College, 12345 S. El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills. Cost is $799, with extended-care options available for an additional cost.

To register and for more information, visit

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