New online summer camp helps kids utilize social media to share their passions
Studio Be readies its next 6-week session
A new summer camp based in Park City helps kids in grades 5-12 explore their interests through videos, podcasts and other social media platforms.
Studio Be, an online camp developed by On Track Coaches, an academic coaching company, works with kids to recognize their passions and develops skills, behaviors and habits to find their purpose in life, said Marc Esper, who co-founded the program with Alex Murphy and Max Fink.
During the camp, students will identify an area of interest and research it, and ultimately tell a story via new media platforms such as YouTube and podcasts, he said.
“Many kids want to make videos and be a YouTuber or a Twitch streamer,” Esper said. “They want to be interesting to others, but they have no idea how hard it is to be interesting. So we created an opportunity for the kids to identify what they care about, what they really want to do, and we asked how they would like to tell their stories and how they would create interesting and compelling content.”
The next Studio Be camp will run from July 6 to Aug. 13, and registration is open by visiting ontrackcoaches.com/studio-be or calling 646-463-0411.
Since the camp is held online, kids can join sessions from anywhere around the world, and maintain a flexible schedule, Esper said.
“If kids are off in Costa Rica saving turtles, they can still dial in,” he said. “We have to be flexible in today’s world.”
Participants meet five days a week for about 30-60 minutes per day in a combination of one-on-one and team sessions, Esper said.
“We decided to add the small teams sessions, so kids can get that chance to work through the creative process with others,” he said. “They can riff off each others’ passions and energy, which will not only allow the kids to help each other out, but also give them a sense of purpose.”
The basis of Studio Be emerged after Esper, a Parkite, Fink, who hails from Midway, and Murphy, who is based in Austin, Texas, launched On Track Coaches last year.
“Max and I are parents, and Alex was a teacher,” Esper said. “As parents and teachers, we want our kids to be successful, but when you look at people who you think are successful, you tend to ask yourself, ‘How did they get there?’ and ‘What does it take to become successful in life?’”
With those questions in mind, the three came to the conclusion that 50% of success comes from soft skills, or executive functioning skills — time management, organizational skills and self advocacy, according to Esper, a former NBC executive who worked in the network’s digital media group.
“If you compare those things with what we teach in school, there is a pretty big gap, because those things that it takes to be successful aren’t always taught,” he said. “So, that’s what On Track Coaches helps with.”
A couple of students who enrolled in On Track Coaches caught the trio’s eye.
“They really showed a passion and told us about their interests, so we put a plan together for them to pursue those interests,” Esper said. “It worked so well that we decided to turn that opportunity into a formal program, because we realized we would hit an amazing home run if we did nothing but help students develop a sense of purpose, or at least put them on a path to discovering their purpose in life. Because people who have a purpose are more compelling, more attractive to others.”
To expand the Studio Be program, Esper and his colleagues partnered with professional content creators, podcasters, comedians and real-world experts that help these kids identify their passions, Esper said.
One of those mentors is Dr. Adrienne Maclain, a creative coach, best-selling author and host and founder of That’s Aloud podcast.
Maclain, who is known as “The Story Whisperer,” works with authors, bloggers and other social media influencers to help them find their authentic voice and guide them through their personal creation process, Esper said.
“Dr. Maclain does some magic in the way she coaches,” he said. “The way she tells stories is inspiring and motivational for the kids. And if we go back to the idea of helping kids find the purpose to their lives, as a parent I can’t think of much else of what I would want for them.”
When: July 6-Aug. 13
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