Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Why Connected Camps ROCKS for Minecraft After School

Our daughter Rachel is an avid Minecraft player. Last summer we paid to enroll her in the Connected Camps (@connectedcamps) online summer Minecraft camp and it was AWESOME. Even though Connected Camps is based in California and we live in Oklahoma City, the magic of the interwebs meant Rachel could fully participate in this virtual camp experience from our house in the middle of the USA! Rachel and I recorded a 20 minute audio podcast together about her experiences back in September. This school year she’s continued to participate in Connected Camps’ “Kid Club in Minecraft,” which is FREE for kids ages 8 to 15. According to their website:

Kid Club members have access to our safe, moderated free Kid Club server, home base for our Connected Camps community. Members learn with expert counselors and peers through building challenges, collaborative activities, social games, and group problem solving.

Rachel’s Stampy Monument in Minecraft at by Wesley Fryer, on Flickr
Rachel’s Stampy Monument in Minecraft at Connected Camps” (CC BY 2.0) by  Wesley Fryer 

Rachel has not only developed some good online relationships with peers who participate in the Minecraft Club, she has also really bonded with several of the moderators. She told me the high school moderators are volunteers, but the college moderators get paid to help with camp and the club. She is thinking about volunteering herself when she gets into high school. She thinks so much of the Connected Camps moderators that she actually created a tribute video for one of them, “Queosdesupizza,” a few weeks ago. It’s just under two minutes and titled, ‘Short Documentary On Queosdesupizza, “The Legend.”

Of our three children, Rachel is the one who has seized hold of her potential to become a digital creator with the most passion. Her YouTube channel, “RachelArtist,” has almost 397 subscribers as I write this post! She’s very excited about nearing the 400 subscriber milestone – so if you’re reading this, head over to her YouTube channel and click subscribe to push her over the edge… and tell other young Minecrafters you know at home and school about her channel so they can subscribe too!

I have used MinecraftEDU extensively at school with 4th and 5th graders, both for in-class STEM activities as well as an after-school “Maker’s Club.” As a result, I’m very familiar with Minecraft griefing as well as “trolls.” When kids have opportunities to build, create, interact, make and carry weapons, and even fight monsters in a virtual world…. guess what? At some point, someone is going to make a bad choice. It’s human nature, and it happens.

This afternoon, for reasons Rachel does not understand, another Connected Camps Minecraft player she’d been mining with for a long time and “thought” was her friend decided to drop her character in lava when she was AFK. (“Away from keyboard,” she informed me at dinner tonight.) This was rather traumatic, since she had all diamond armor, a diamond sword, several stacks of collected iron, etc, etc. If you don’t know, when you get dropped or fall into lava in Minecraft you lose all your stuff, you can’t go back and get it after you respawn. I know from personal experience in Minecraft, it can be very traumatic even when it happens accidentally.

Here’s the good news: Today Rachel was playing on the super awesome / fantastic / I love them Connected Camps Kid Minecraft Club servers. As a result, moderators were there to intervene and help. It sucked that another kid decided to be mean and do that to her Minecraft character, but it was awesome that moderators found out what happened, documented it, and helped Rachel “get all her stuff back again.” Outstanding job, Connected Camps: 10 points for Gryffindor for a moderation job well done!

You might belong in Gryffindor by Thalita Carvalho ?, on Flickr
You might belong in Gryffindor” (CC BY 2.0) by  Thalita Carvalho ? 

If you have kids ages 8 to 15 in your house who love Minecraft, I definitely recommend you head over and check out Connected Camps’ free Minecraft Kid Club. You’ll have to verify your identity as an adult when enrolling your child, using a credit card. Rachel is continuing to absolutely LOVE the Connected Camps community and challenges, and I’m loving them too because I see my daughter thriving and having a blast in a well supervised and moderated Minecraft world.

I’ll close by sharing what is absolutely my favorite Minecraft video that Rachel has made to date. She titled it, “I Can Fly! | Sqaishey’s “Dream” Mini Cover.” She used the new “Elytra” transport item introduced in the recent Minecraft 1.9 official release which allows players to glide. I love the “bloopers” which Rachel included at the end of the video, but most of all I love that she SANG this song in her own voice which popular Minecrafter Squaishey wrote, produced, and originally used in one of her videos. This is the description Rachel included in the YouTube video. Is our girl demonstrating a great understanding of REMIX and ATTRIBUTION in 6th grade or what? I’m so proud of her for this for so many reasons. Mainly because of the COURAGE it takes to create this AND share it publicly. (Some dad encouragement did help with that “public” part.”)

I know I am nothing compared to how Sqaishey can sing, and I messed up on a few notes. But as you can see by the bloopers, this is the best run I could do! So exuse the times I sounded horrible.I can’t wait to use these in Scandinavia! 🙂 Thanks for watching

Instrumental Music I used:…

Original Video:

My Instagram:

My Skindex Page:…

My Twitter:


You may have thought the Holodeck from Star Trek was still a long way away from becoming a reality. If so, you’re mistaken. Minecraft is the Holodeck, and it’s amazing to see what the brave learners and gamers of 2016 are making, creating, and doing there. Thanks Connected Camps for providing such a fantastic Minecraft community for our daughter to learn, play and grow in!

Minecraft with Rachel by Wesley Fryer, on Flickr
Minecraft with Rachel” (CC BY 2.0) by  Wesley Fryer 

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One response to “Why Connected Camps ROCKS for Minecraft After School”

  1. Sharlene Maynard Avatar
    Sharlene Maynard

    I like that this post shows the community that Minecraft has built for your daughter. I am glad that she has found this outlet for her learning.