SPOTLIGHT ON GARET FITZPATRICK
Recreation Program Coordinator
What city do you live in?
Wife with two children.
Hunting and sports
What drew you to this work/service?
The enjoyment of doing a job were I get to create programs for people to have fun and to educate them in many different areas.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
It is rewarding to create a program and see the smiling faces of the children and adults that are participating in the program.
How has it changed since you first began?
What do you see changing in the next 5-10 years?
Finding a way to get children away from the electronics and get them to do more stuff outside and to appreciate nature.
The Great Bend Recreation Commission hosts to many events and programs throughout the year.
But in 2015 the GBRC hosted to a new program called Play Well TEKnologies, a Lego-inspired engineering camp.
“The camp teaches children about engineering and in turn it teaches valuable critical thinking skills,” instructor of Play Well TEKnologies David Northup said.
The children had the opportunity to build engineer-designed projects such as boats, bridges, mazes and motorized vehicles of their own design using many different types of Legos.
They also explored many creative possibilities of the Lego building system.
“We are hoping to be able to bring this camp back to Great Bend this year,” Recreation Program Coordinator Garet Fitzpatrick said.
The camp started in 1997 in San Francisco, Calif., and is now offering their program in 27 states. In Kansas, Play Well TEKnologies is based in Kansas City.
The instructors have varied careers and educational backgrounds – mechanical engineering, architecture, biology, art and law just to name a few.
The goals of the company are to help children solve problems, explore the world and express themselves.
The first session, for children ages 5-6 years old, is called “Pre-Engineering with Legos.” They focus mainly on basic designs and basic engineering concepts. They build boats, bridges, mazes and motorized cars and learn how these pieces work through engineering.
The second session, for children ages 7-12, is called Engineering “FUNdamentals with Legos.” They focus on more advanced designs and engineering concepts. They apply real-world concepts such as physics, engineering and architecture though the building of arch bridges, skyscrapers, motorized cars and other engineering designs.
According to Play Well TEKnologies
• They teach approximately 100,000 students per year. They run their engineering programs in approximately 27 states, as well as in France.
• The instructors teach year-round and make the curriculum their own, so that each program is a uniquely fun experience.
• They bring over 20,000 pieces of Legos into each class/camp, and hundreds of projects, there is no limit to what you can build.
• Play Well TEKnologies teaches through play. Kids explore, solve problems and express themselves through Legos. The curriculum is designed by engineers and refined by teachers, but the kids just think it’s fun.
• Play Well TEKnologies is not a franchise organization. Play-Well’s founder and President Tim Bowen maintains a high level of quality by keeping our programs “in-house” and visiting in person with instructors from all over the country.
• They partner with Lego Kidsfest on their national tour. Since 2008, They have been working with Lego Kidsfest, the only tour sponsored and run by Lego.