Nevada Appeal Newspaper Article
"ComputerCorps Offers Summer Camp"
BY JIM SCRIPPS,
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer, Friday, June 29, 2001
Since it moved in September to a 40,000-square-foot warehouse at the east end of Carson City, ComputerCorps has increased its volume of business and the bustle of its 90-plus force of active volunteers.
This summer, however, the nonprofit proliferator of recycled computers is taking its business one step further, enriching the .computer knowledge of area youth with a summer camp program.
"For a $300 donation, these kids get a marvelous education," said ComputerCorps executive director Judy Feaster.
"It's a four-week program where, in the fourth week, they put together their own computer and get to take it home."
In all, four separate four-week sessions are expected to put children ages 11-15 through a basic hands-on education in the construction, processes and software computer basics.
The children start by dismantling donated computers, pulling out the metal and plastic, and determining which circuit boards ,and wiring harnesses are reusable.
They then help by sorting the parts into bins that will be sent to the testing area, where, in the third week, the children will test parts that where actually be incorporated into their self-constructed computers.
In the fourth week, the tested parts are assembled, tested for a final time and installed with a Windows 95 operating system as well as other basic software.
James, a 15-year-old Carson High School student who directs one of the groups, helped the campers test hard drives and CD-ROM drives on Thursday.
"We test them to make sure they work, and if there is information on there, it has to go," he said. The fun for him and his fellow campers, he says, "is learning what each piece is and what each piece does."
Niels; also 15, is entering his fourth week in the program with a new understanding of the importance of computers to our culture.
"All I knew when I got here was how to open up the computer and maybe add a card," he said. "This is good for us because everything you do now revolves around computers."
In addition to receiving computers at the end of program, the children provide an invaluable service by helping relive the stress of major backlog in computer inventory.
Inside the storage warehouse, heaps of computers, ranging from desktop personal computers to cabinet servers, are lined in row along a football-field size grid. The generosity of corporate computer contributions looks overwhelming. ComputerCorps program director Ron Norton estimates there are 5,000" computers, 6,000 monitors, 3,000 printers and miscellaneous office equipment and furniture in storage.
"Everything you see here is donated, "he said. "We are putting out about 150 computers a month mostly to Carson City. And it will be another month before we are fully operational."
Since it started in 1998, ComputerCorps has relied solely on contributions from companies and the public -- hardware as well as money., There are no employees, and the difficulty of finding cash is ever present.
The warehouse property, off Drako Way, is owned by Lynn Hettrick, a Gardnerville assemblyman. Norton said the group is given a good deal on its rent and has been able to outfit the innards with everything from donated carpet to construction and materials.
Now, the facility, complete with two classrooms, is able to educate and outfit locals who do not have the means to purchase a computer at retail price, or participate in expensive training programs.
The classes, available in two-hour blocks for, a $40 donation, teach Use in all kinds of software applications. For a $5 donation, students can come back and redo a class.While many of the summer camp children are sponsored by local companies and individuals, more sponsorships are being sought. There is also room for more children for the final camp which begins July 10. In the case of overwhelming demand, Norton said, there may be an additional camp section added. For information call 883-2323 or visit www.computercorps.org.