Solar power STEM camp aims to get kids excited and keep talent in Michigan

- At an energy camp for kids here in Metro Detroit, it's more than just the experiments on the line -- it's our future.

Students put remote control cars powered by the sun. Solar power - just one kind of renewable energy, Water, wind and sun are powerful pieces to a summer camp brought to these kids by DTE Energy and Oakland University. 

"It takes kids who have learned a lot and it gives them a chance to gain new experiences, meet new friends and learn about new things involving renewable energy and natural resources - and I find that to be interesting," said future scientist Christian Webb.

Christian is from Detroit. He loves science and is stubbornly passionate about wanting to work in science one day. The challenge is it's keeping kids like him from leaving.  

Inside the Edison Boat Club, that is the goal. Kids were toying with sugar and blackberry juice to make solar panels. That is an organic renewable energy source. 

"We are testing the voltage of our mini Nano-crystalline solar cells," said Amira Martinn. "A lot of people think science is just technical and not fun, but it is."

Some had more juice in them than others. 

The adults putting the camp on are making more of a difference, helping kids piece together a future in stem.

"That they go to school here and find a job here, raise a family here and stay in Michigan," said Cassi Meitl with DTE.

"Eventually go into the workforce and come up with the next best idea for energy efficient homes or a better design for a hybrid vehicle or a better design for a solar panel," said Chris Kobus, Associate Professor at Oakland University School of Engineering. "You never know; the human intellect is the greatest natural resource we have on this planet."

August 13-17 is the next camp. For more information go to

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