Summer campers Ken Rogers and Chandler Wall talk with instructor Kodi West as they get ready to weld at Robeson Community College.
                                 Courtesy RCC

Summer campers Ken Rogers and Chandler Wall talk with instructor Kodi West as they get ready to weld at Robeson Community College.

Courtesy RCC


Summer camps were in full swing this week at Robeson Community College. RCC hosted two camps, the 5W’s of Welding and a Forensics and Criminal Justice Camp, funded through the Perkins Grant.

The summer camps were small and close knit, allowing for individualized attention, giving the students attending an opportunity of a lifetime to explore the career fields they were most interested in.

5W’s Summer Camp

“They are doing exceptionally well,” Kodi West, the instructor of the welding camp stated. “To have been in camp for just three days, they have done a great job… it is fun to help out younger kids and gives them something they can look into as far as a career path”

The campers learned how to TIG weld using filler wire.

“I have always been interested in welding, especially TIG,” stated Ken Rogers, a 13-year-old from Tarheel Middle School. “I like to watch my Grandpa do stick and I’ve heard a lot about TIG.”

Rogers took video of the projects he was working on, and even got a video of himself welding.

“I love it,” Rogers said. “This has been fun to basically learn about welding and see what it’s all about.”

For Chandler Wall from Dublin, he signed up for the camp because he wanted to learn how to weld.

“This is what I want to do, I plan on taking it in high school,” Wall said. “I want to go into welding.”

Program Director James Thomas says he hopes the campers have enjoyed this weeklong activity.

“It gives them something productive to do in the summer,” Thomas said. “It’s a good experience for them to come in and try welding to see if they like it.”

Forensics and Criminal Justice Camp

Only one student enrolled in the forensics and criminal justice camp this summer, but for summer camper Halle Bethea, that provided the opportunity of a lifetime.

She spent the week exploring the various aspects of law enforcement, diving into crime scene puzzles, touring the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, watching helicopters land, driving simulators, flying drones, and just having fun.

“I wanted to see how law enforcement actually is compared to how you see it in the movies,” Bethea said. “It has been really fun, I have really enjoyed it.”

Bethea hopes to go into law enforcement one day, starting out as a police officer and possibly joining the FBI one day.

Her favorite parts of the camp were the crime scene investigation and the simulators.

“Mr. Joe made up a crime scene and put something together for me to solve,” Bethea said. “I really enjoyed that.”

Bethea who is only 14 had a chance to drive the simulators, without a driver’s license.

“I had fun driving it and practicing driving,” Bethea said. “They teach you about what to do if stuff comes at you and how to try to avoid if someone loses control… I enjoyed it, I feel like it helped me learn how to be a better driver.”

“Halle a really great kid, we had fun this week,” Thompson said. “She was really interested and asked a lot of questions, and she wanted to learn more.”

The camp, Thompson says, was important for Robeson Community College to hold.

“It’s a way for us to reach out to youth more and to give insight about what law enforcement does in a good way,” Thompson said. “It’s important to teach what we do because much of what people know is from what they see in the news media which is not always accurate, this helps give a behind the scenes lesson and gives us an opportunity to have a positive impact.”

Cheryl Hemric is the public information officer at Robeson Community College. Reach her by email at [email protected].