Gage Moss was serious as he counted silently down at the start of filming. He held up three fingers, slowly put one down, then another, and another; then he made a fist at zero.
Filming had begun.
The shoot took place Wednesday at Oregon State University, during a new KidSpirit program in which middle school students learn the basics of video production and other forms of electronic media. It featured a camp participant and a camp staffer trying to outdo each other in throwing a football with their non-dominant hand.
KidSpirit News sessions are a week long, and participants got started last week with video production. The next two weeks they will be working on a weekly magazine show, and later in the summer they will do a daily live broadcast online.
KidSpirit is an OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences program that offers day camps during the summer and a variety of other youth programs the rest of the year.
Karen Swanger, KidSpirit’s director, said she came up with the idea of doing a media camp after seeing YouTube video reviews of Lego sets made by a friend’s second-grader son.
“We wanted to create a program about what kids are interested in,” she said.
This week the kids are preparing a show with multiple segments, such as interviews of other KidSpirit campers, a story about a play being put on by other campers and an interview with some of the program’s teen mentors. There's also a segment where the KidSpirit News students do activities on a “challenge wheel” that includes a non-dominant hand showdown, where participants try to outdo each other at tasks like writing and hitting a tee-ball without using their dominant hand.
All of the 10 or so kids in the program are helping to write the show, and they all have specialized roles in production, such as actor and editor.
Gage, an 11-year-old from Albany, was one of the group’s camera operators.
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He said he liked KidSpirit News because, unlike other camps, it let him explore his interest in technology.
“My mom usually wants me to be outside in nature, but I really like modern life,” he said.
He said he’s learned about various aspects of filming, such as how to use different kinds of microphones to record different sounds.
“The way it’s interesting is when you complete something you feel really good inside … you feel like you’ve accomplished the impossible,” he said.
Miranda Gyldersleve, a 12-year-old from Beaverton who spends her summers in Corvallis and has been involved in KidSpirit for five years, said she was learning to act, edit video and use production equipment.
“The fact that we get to use equipment that normally we wouldn’t even be allowed to touch is amazing,” she said.
She said she is naturally comfortable speaking to groups, but she’s seen other kids involved in the program gain confidence in speaking that they didn’t have before they started. And she said it also helped them become friends.
“It brings us together and it shows us how to work as a team in a working space, but still be able to get along.”