The Leonardo is a new kind of museum in Downtown Salt Lake City. The Leo fuses science, technology, and art into experiences that inspire creativity and innovation in people of all ages and backgrounds.

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Summer Camps at The Leonardo!

What’s cooler than being cool? What’s cooler than being ice cold? Taking part in summer camps at The Leonardo, that’s what!
Starting in June there are 13 Camp Leo sessions at The Leonardo, for ages eight through teen, with tantalizing names including Urban Art, Geometry Jungle, Animation Fun Fest, STEAM Punk, Leo Film Fest and Music and Media Immersion. You can master the math and science behind sports (while playing sports, of course!) You can work side-by-side with artists who have impacted the street art scene, turn flames into your favorite color, capture lightning in the palm of your hand, or even make your own snow (yes, you’ll be missing snow by then). On top of all that, The Leonardo will partner with Hawkwatch to bring in three birds to discuss form, function, and bio-mimicry, there’s a camp dealing with the fashion, the technology and engineering of Steampunk, where you can make a Steampunk story and/or comic. You can also learn the craft, the art, and the science behind film, working with industry experts to gain insider knowledge on all the latest trends and techniques, master cutting edge technologies, and create your own short to debut at a Leo Pink Carpet premiere. Or in another camp discover the science and technology of music and sound and take home your own digital music piece.

To learn more about Camp Leo and sign up (better hurry, spaces are limited and filling up fast!) click here or paste into your browser.

camp leo logo

We talked to Leonardo staff members to get the inside scoop on Camp Leo. Answering questions are Erika DuRoss, education manager, Brooklyn McNaughton, education facilitator, Katherine Leksander, Leo on Wheels coordinator and education facilitator, Ben Leonhardt, education facilitator and Elly Baldwin, education facilitator.

What are some interesting, weird, funny, unusual things about you that young people taking the classes this summer should know? 

Erika DuRoss (education manager): I’m a bit of a frog fanatic. I grew up chasing frogs as a kid. As an adult I got paid to chase frogs, snakes, tortoises, salamanders and lizards for a handful of years in my work as a wildlife biologist/herpetologist. Unusual fact: I can touch my tongue to my elbow. Can you?

Brooklyn McNaughton (education facilitator): I can wiggle my nose just like Samantha on the old “Bewitched.” I’ll accept any challenge for Hands-up Stands-up, can’t really stop so well when on rollerblades, and sometimes, when I get bored, I like to imagine that the ground is made of trampolines. Try it!

Ben Leonhardt (education facilitator): I love sports and used to work for the NFL, NBA, and Minor League Baseball; I also played football, basketball, and pole vaulted in track, I loved the physics of it! I was even a track coach for three years, so if you misbehave I’ll make you run laps around the building.  Learning about science is cool and all, but having a hands-on teaching activity to demonstrate that knowledge is really what I’m all about.

Katherine Leksander (Leo on Wheels coordinator): I love climbing trees, chasing a soccer ball, telling jokes, and learning/using a new word of the day.

Elly Baldwin (education facilitator): I am an artist and I’m currently working on a project making my own books. I’m also from the Pacific Northwest where it is overcast 95% of the time, so I am preparing to tackle my first full summer here in Utah with a really good pair of sunglasses and lots of sunscreen.

Please pick one of the workshops you will be facilitating and tell us why you’re excited to be running it. 

Erika: As education manager I won’t be facilitating any camps but I will be involved in developing curriculum and will certainly pop in to see how kids are connecting to the concepts.

Brooklyn: I’ll be teaching a lot this summer! I’m particularly excited about SUM Fun Sports—I’m a former collegiate athlete as well as a firm believer in students using kinesthetic learning to explore concepts, which are sometimes lofty or difficult to grasp. There’s also the added benefit of calling the campers “mathletes.” Cool, right?

Katherine: I’m excited to run SUM Fun Sports because I love games. Sports are my favorite kind of games, because you get to run around! With this workshop we get to run around and play, while also learning some techniques to make our skills better. In explaining those techniques we’ll cover the math and science behind why those techniques make our game (and ultimately our skills) better!

If you were going to pick one of the other workshops to take part in (if you were a kid), which one would it be and why? 

Erika: If I were picking just one camp camp to go to, I’d be first in line for the Crazy ConCOOKtions camp. Lucky for me though, I don’t really have to choose one because I can pop into them all and experience the thrills of being a kid at camp all over again. I’m not only a science “geek” but I love all things food. You could say I’m “hungry for science.” My passions around food include using science as I tend to the fruits, vegetables and herbs growing right in my own backyard, experimenting with new flavor combinations, preserving the harvest, photographing the array of colors and textures, playing with different cooking techniques and ultimately sharing food with friends and family. I enjoy the sense of accomplishment of making my own food. My husband recently asked me if I would categorize my cooking as more of an art or a science. Honestly, I don’t know. Similar to science, good cooking is almost always the result of many failed attempts in the process of finding just the right combination. I use my understanding of science to inform my cooking and then bring in the art/creativity.

This camp will be a series of hands-on lab explorations investigating science phenomena connected to daily experiences with food. When all is said and done, it will be interesting to see whether the kids attending camp consider food preparation an art, a science, or the perfect blend of the two disciplines.

Brooklyn: Man oh man, I don’t know if I could choose just one. I actually developed these workshops, so it’s kind of like choosing a favorite child; I may or may not have one, but I’ll never admit it…

Ben: SUM Fun Sports for sure! You get to play all day and learn some cool science that could help make you a better athlete! It’s a win-win.

Katherine: I would pick the Animation Fun Fest, because I’d get to make my own movie out of stop motion animation characters! This makes it a bit easier to make a movie by yourself if you’re the only actor… I love making movies, but sometimes my friends aren’t into the same thing I am into. So, this would be a chance for me to fulfill a creative outlet that I enjoy doing, without needing my friends to help.

Elly: I would sign up for Urban Art. It’s such a cool opportunity to hang out with SLC street artists and experience firsthand how art can make a social statement or help build community.

Why is the Leo the place to be this summer? 

Erika: The Leo is a great place to give your curiosity a little nudge. Come ask questions, wonder with us about how and why things work the way they do, test your hypotheses, make new friends with similar interests, play with ideas and technologies, design something you can call your own, learn while playing, see our cool exhibits, need I say more…?

Brooklyn: Where do I start!? Not only is The Leo just a way rad place to be anyway, but our summer programs are geared toward campers who want to have a spectacularly fun experience without turning their brains off for the season. What’s not to love?

Ben: Your parents want you to keep learning even during summer break, but you want to play around and have fun, right? So come here and do both! That way you get to tell your parents about all the cool stuff you learned, but really, you were just playing around having a good time, and learned a bunch of really cool stuff in the process.

Elly: The Leo is the place to be all the time, but especially this summer because it’s the only place you can find such a wide range of fun camps that any kid would want to join.

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