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FAQ for parents

You can find some ideas and concepts which caused the creation of this camp here.  Also, check the links on the sidebar for some great local and national organizations which are involved in enrichment programs, games in education, and gamefication generally.

So is this a full day event, ie I can drop my kid off before work and pick them up afterwards?

- Yep, the camp is weekdays from 8:30a - 5:00p.  Those times aren't strict, slightly later (like 5:30) is also fine.  Note, however, that there is a 2 week portion from July 10th - July 22nd that we won't have organized sessions, so if they come to Maker Works to work it will have to be during normal Maker Works hours and with supervision (if they are younger than 16).

Is food provided?

- Nope, we assume participants will come with food for lunch.  If not, Maker Works is within easy walking distance to Zingerman's Bakehouse which has sandwiches and soups and other tasty stuff.  If you want to give us a one time sum of money at the beginning of camp to dole out to your kid, we can accommodate that also.  The participants need to be aware of their own allergies when purchasing food.

What else do they need to bring?

A notebook and pencil is any inventors best friend.  If they have a computer and can bring it, that would also be helpful, though computers are available at Maker Works when needed.  A good attitude.  That's about it.

Should I be concerned about safety because of the tools which will be used?

The most frequently used tools which will be standard paper and glue type stuff.  Other possible tools groups may use are the laser cutter, 3D printer, vinyl cutter, sewing machines, serger, and soldering equipment for specialized projects.  With the exception of the serger and soldering equipment, this equipment is very safe.  Any time participants want to use equipment which may be dangerous, they will be well trained on that equipment.  Any larger equipment in the metal or wood shop will require supervision during use.  The safety policy will be clearly communicated on the first day of camp.

What sort of games exactly will the participants be working on... video games?

Our goal is not to be a video game camp - if you want that, you should go to iD Tech Camps which seems to have a pretty good things going (though it's quite expensive).  This is for making physical games, with the only real definition being that it can be shown off at Detroit Maker Faire.  That may be a board game (like Monopoly or Settlers of Catan), a party game (Jenga), a physical game (Twister), a puzzle game (Rubix Cube), a story or narrative based game (role playing game), a game which uses electronics (Simon Says), an educational game, or something else more creative.  Video games won't be prohibited, as we have a lot to learn from them, but ultimately students will need to create a real world object or rule set.


My kid is only really interested in one aspect of this camp (maybe just art, design, building, storytelling, ...), OR my kid has a game idea, but isn't great at interacting in groups... is this experience going to work for them?

- We intend to let the participants create their own groups, and we expect that most of the games will be created in group settings.  However, it's possible that some participants freelance for many groups (like an artist, for example, doing all of the artwork for several groups).  It's also possible for a participant to do everything by him/herself, though they will have a harder time achieving all of the goals of the experience (having a finished, polished prototype for Maker Faire, or creating a Kickstarter campaign, for example).  The point is, there's room for everyone so long as they are willing and interested in being creative.

What about transportation to the Detroit Maker Faire, Protospeil, and the University of Michigan Game Archive - are you going to provide that?

- No, probably not directly.  Once we have the participants and volunteers identified, we'll figure out a reasonable car pooling solution to these events which are not at Maker Works.

So if my kid comes up with a great idea, what about intellectual property rights, etc?  What if he/she actually sells units, do you handle the money or transfer of funds?

- One of the main goals of the experience is to dissipate the fear of sharing and collaboration that can develop from childhood to adulthood - we feel that this is incredibly destructive to creativity, happiness and motivation to innovate.  That's why the sharing component is so important, and part of the experience is organizing and sharing the games on the internet in a completely open source way.  That being said, Austic Labs has no implied or expressed claims to any ideas, concepts, prototypes, or anything else generated by participants and they will have the right to do whatever they want with their ideas.  We intend only to be a guide through the process for as long as the participant want us to be there.

Aren't there already a billion technology and science related summer camps in Ann Arbor?

- Yes, and we fully support them all!  We hope to attract participants who may be less inclined to sign up for a normal "techie" type summer camps like those interested in art, design, storytelling, and other less traditionally technical fields.  Also, there's plenty of time to take part in other camps besides this one - check out Brain Monkeys and Rocks and Robots for summer experiences, or All Hands Active for events all year round, and of course everyone should be a member of Maker Works!

If you have any more questions, feel free to email greg (at) austiclabs dot com .


Please send questions, comments, and inquiries to greg (at)

Office located at Maker Works near Ellsworth and State st in Ann Arbor at:

3765 Plaza Dr.
Ann Arbor MI 48108
tel: 919 545 1083

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