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CNN Today

Cybercamp: Instead of Building Camp Fires, Kids are Building Web Pages

Aired August 7, 2000 - 1:57 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Remember the good old days when our moms and dads used to send us off to camp so that we could swim and hike and make arts and crafts, stuff like that?

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: No more.

WATERS: Apparently our children are off on a different tact.

ALLEN: Yes, they are, Our national correspondent Martin Savidge visited a place where, instead of building camp fires, the kids are building Web pages.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At cybercamp, the only bugs are in the programs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, I got my first page messed up, so I got to fix it.

SAVIDGE: Cybercampers from 7 to 16 spend a week mastering the mouse, the keyboard, and a future most parents can't even comprehend. Eight-year-old Corey is taking advanced Web design.

(on camera): Now can I really find this Web site?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can actually, after this week, or another week after this, you might be able to find Verycool.com.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Nine-year-old Ahad (ph) just programmed music for his site.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's called action cartoons. I thought this was action music, so I can put it on my site.

SAVIDGE: Don't expect to find kids with taped glasses or pocket protectors.

TOM MCHUSH, CYBERCAMP: We have students who come in who have very little computer background, but have heard about our program and want to test the water, get their feet wet, and they are just as likely to excel as someone who has a lot of background; so, no, definitely not geeks. SAVIDGE: First appearing in 1997, the camps have spread to 22 colleges. Last year, the company that runs them grew 400 percent.

(on camera): This group of campers is actually making their own robots. They not only put them together, but then they program them. They have infrared sensors. Some of them even have speakers so that they dance and sing. When I went to camp, I made a clay ashtray.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, I put my foot in front of it, it backs up and turns.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Like real camp, the kids team up to tackle projects. Thirteen-year-old Christina Lopez is a counselor in training and hopes to get more girls into the cyber-world.

(on camera): What do your other girlfriends do?

CHRISTINE LOPEZ, CYBERCAMP COUNSELOR: They sit at home and go skating on Friday nights.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Courses cost between $329 and $800.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's a lot better than just sitting at home and watching TV.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Especially when you can build your own robot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, last week I took programming.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Writing to mom and dad from cybercamp is no problem. Letters home are e-mailed.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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