As the campers gathered in the lobby at the Lenovo Research Triangle Park campus, they excitedly talked with each other about their favorite Pokémon character, their plans after high school, and their love of technology. Lenovo and Carolina Hurricanes Kids ‘N Community Foundation employees greeted the 14 teenage campers from the Autism Society of North Carolina’s Camp Royall and told them about the fun day ahead filled with STEM activities.
Throughout the day, the campers experienced virtual reality, visited Lenovo’s Innovation Center and Product Lab, participated in a STEM career conversation, and learned about the inner workings of a computer.
“Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are often shut out of learning opportunities,” said Sara Gage, ASNC Social Recreation Services Director. “Opportunities like this give them the chance to explore, ask questions, and learn about new things.”
The day was filled with questions like “What do I do next?” and “How do we get this to work?” Lenovo volunteers worked one-on-one with campers to answer their questions as they refurbished a computer. “I’ve never seen the inside of a computer before!” said one camper as she worked to complete the steps.
The campers were most excited to experience three different virtual worlds: an underwater coral system, a Martian landscape, and an interactive carnival. “Make sure you pull me out – I don’t want to end up in the Matrix!” said one camper as he put on the VR headset.
During the tour of Lenovo’s Innovation Center and Product Lab, the campers continued to express their excitement. For many, computers are their passion, so they asked detailed questions about supercomputers, RAM, servers, and quantum computing. The tour guide at Lenovo encouraged the questions, leading to a fun conversation for our campers!
“This was a unique opportunity to connect our longtime corporate sponsor Lenovo to the community that they positively impact through their support of the Kids ‘N Community Foundation,” said Lindsay Robertson, Kids ‘N Community Foundation Grant & Event Specialist. “It was a special experience to see the campers explore Lenovo’s impressive technology and enjoy a game of floor hockey, too!”
After the STEM activities, the campers played floor hockey with Hurricanes staff and defenseman Haydn Fleury. The room was full of energy as they all tried to score the first goal. One camper was successful – jumping up and down when he finally makes one into the net! After the game, they all rushed at the opportunity to take photos and get an autograph before the day ended.
“We are so thankful to Lenovo and the Hurricanes for providing this chance for our campers to explore career options in STEM fields and think about their futures,” said Kristy White, ASNC Chief Development Officer. “Even as they were having fun, the campers were learning new skills.
“These young kids are our future. In just a few years, they will contribute to our community with jobs in this field, and today showed them all that is possible for their futures.”
This special day for our campers would not have been possible without the dedicated employees at Lenovo, the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Kids ‘N Community Foundation. Lenovo, a global leader in providing innovative consumer, commercial, and enterprise technology, is a longtime supporter of the Carolina Hurricanes, the Kids ‘N Community Foundation, and numerous statewide educational initiatives. The Kids ‘N Community Foundation, a dedicated supporter of ASNC, funds programs and services that enhance the lives of kids, specifically underserved populations, in our community.
Interested in providing opportunities for kids or adults with autism to learn about your business? Contact Kristy White, Chief Development Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.Tags: ASNC, autism, autism advocacy, autism awareness, autism camp, autism education, autism society north carolina, autism society of NC, Autism Society of North Carolina, Autism spectrum, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Camp Royall, carolina hurricanes, Lenovo