Description: If you’re looking for a camp to send your kids, consider one where they can fly drones. Our Tyler Mason talked to two college students who started Drone Camp.
Matt King had an idea. He wanted to find a way to teach young kids to fly drones. So he brought his idea to his friend and fellow Ball State University student Daniel Majestic.
That idea back in May of 2016 eventually became Drone Camp. The camp, which has its roots in Indianapolis, is a two-day session for kids ages 7 to 15. Campers learn all the ins and outs of drones, and it doesn’t take long once the camp starts before they’re flying.
“Our policy has always been from Day 1, within 30 minutes of you coming to camp, you will take off. … We just do a real quick cut and dry, ‘This is what we do,’ and then boom, they take off so they can get out of their system and then we divide them into groups.” -Matt King
Getting the camp off the ground — no pun intended — was tough at first. It wasn’t initially easy for a pair of 20-year-olds to convince parents that a drone camp was the best option for their kids.
Among the several ways the camp attempted to market itself? Yard signs.
“Cities have yard sign regulations, and ours were like the only ones up. When they’d get taken down, we’d put another one up.” - Daniel Majestic
The signs and media appearances helped the camp gain traction. Now the camp hosts about 300 kids per month between its locations in Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
King, who has a background in video production, is largely responsible for teaching the campers about the drones, rules and safety. Majestic, a marketing major, is in charge of helping the kids fly.
Students in the camp take two tests: a comprehensive exam about safety and rules, and a flight test. If they pass both, they get a pair of wings at the end of the camp.
“It’s pretty impressive to see a 7-year-old say the word ‘gimbal stabilization,’ ‘airspace,’ ‘ground speed’, and then being able to articulate themselves.” - Matt King
Each camp is a two-day session for a total of eight hours. In the first several months of the camp, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“A lot of the parents love the fact that we’re young because we can connect to the kids a whole lot better. They say, ‘You really do let my kid fly. He’s learned a lot and you make him feel empowered and valued by making him earn his wings.’” - Matt King
Drone Camp has plans to expand to more states, and is now licensing its program. That means anyone interested in starting a camp in their city can do so through Drone Camp.
King and Majestic also have plans to release a Drone Camp drone. By next year, the goal is to supply small drones to each camper that they can take home with them when camp is over.
While the kids learn plenty at the camps, the parents take away some lessons as well.
“The parents are really fascinated by the technology because they see it online. A lot of people are like, ‘I want to buy a drone but I’m scared because I don’t know how to fly it.’ To have their kid teach them what we taught them at camp and make them feel comfortable , it’s really a bonding thing, too.”
Follow AirVuz News for all the latest updates in the Drone Community!