- Associated Press - Sunday, June 19, 2016

RIVESVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - Marion County children got a chance to learn about service animals during a science camp Tuesday in Rivesville.

Gloria McClain, of Rivesville, brought her service dog Judd with her to show the children attending Camp Invention at Rivesville Elementary/Middle School.

Camp Invention is a science camp for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. It costs $220 for the weeklong camp, but scholarships are available, Kaitlin Hawkins, director of the Rivesville location of Camp Invention, said.

Camp Invention is a federally funded program. There are only two Camp Invention locations in the state of West

Virginia, Rivesville and Charleston, Hawkins said.



Camp Invention started Monday and runs through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. A midmorning snack and lunch are provided to children attending the camp, Hawkins said.

The children participate in different science activities throughout the week. One of those activities was meeting Judd the service dog.

On Tuesday, McClain taught the children at Camp Invention about how her service dog Judd helps her. McClain has paralysis on her right side and migraines due to a childhood bicycle accident, she said.

McClain received Judd from Hearts of Gold in Morgantown five years ago.

“He’s a blessing,” McClain said.

Judd helps McClain with her balance and if she drops things, and he helps her by getting her migraine medication for her, she said.

McClain decided to share her story with the children at the camp because she is working on a degree in early childhood education at Pierpont Community & Technical College.

On Monday, the children had the opportunity to make solar-powered cricket robots with the help of Camp Invention teacher Gabriel Rhoades.

“It’s kind of neat. It gives them a chance to learn about these technologies they may never see,” Rhoades said.

On Tuesday, the children participated in an engineering activity where they got to build a pulley system to transport items back and forth, Rhoades said.

The children attending the camp will also enage in activities where they get to build things.

“They break apart different household items such as microwaves, VCRs, DVD players, anything that they can get their hands on, and they just tear it apart and then use those parts to build other things,”?Hawkins said.

The activities at the camp give “students an opportunity to see new science and technology ideas and to use them in everyday life,” Rhoades said.

Bryce Swann is going into the third grade this coming school year, and he attended Camp Invention. He said he likes the camp “because I like science a lot.”

Swann enjoyed meeting Judd the service dog, he said.

“He was pretty interesting,” Swann said.

To learn more about Camp Invention, visit the organization’s website at campinvention.org.

___

Information from: Times West Virginian, https://www.timeswv.com

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