Youth testing robotics

Bethany and Ezra’s Y Story

Stories and Videos
March 9, 2021

“Last summer, my then 7-year-old son Ezra Handel (he’s 8 now) wanted to attend your late July Robotics camp so badly. He was told there needed to be a minimum of 6 campers enrolled in order to hold the camp. At the time, there was only him and one other camper signed up. 

Ezra prayed every night for 4 more kids to sign up and we invited everyone we could think of to join us. Things were looking pretty bleak with only 3 kids now enrolled until Ezra asked to talk to the camp organizer one more time before he canceled it. Much to Ezra’s delight, they agreed to hold the camp with the 3 campers!

Ezra had just earlier that month been diagnosed with ADHD after facing and overcoming many challenges. We are always seeking and learning new ways to keep up with and challenge his amazingly fast paced brain.

“Robotics camp proved to be a great fit for him and he LOVED learning about and building the Lego Mindstorm with his awesome instructors.”

When camp was over, he was set on getting his own Mindstorm kit. Since they are very expensive, we helped him set the goal of saving his money until Christmas and that we would match whatever he saved. We pay him $5 each week to mow our lawn by himself and he saved every penny. He found other chores to do to earn money. He wrote hand-written letters to all our relatives prior to his birthday talking about his experience at YMCA camp and how he was saving up and wanted money for his birthday. 

When Christmas came, he had earned his goal and received his Mindstorm for Christmas! 

He immediately got to work building and programming and learning about his robot on his own. He spent hours after school building and playing and experimenting with it. It has captured his attention just as we had hoped and has been a great way for him to spend his time during quarantine. 

A few weeks ago, his school, Gem Prep Meridian, informed us about a video contest hosted by Bluum for students to enter. They had to submit a video capturing something they’ve learned or done during distance learning. Ezra of course wanted to do his video on his Mindstorm. So, he quickly learned how to use iMovie and created a video to enter the contest. 

We hope you know just how much your decision to host camp for “just” 3 campers last summer has impacted his life and ours. We’ve loved seeing him thrive in this way! 

Thank you so much!”

—Bethany, Tomlinson South Meridian YMCA Member