CNCC to offer creative mix of teen summer camps |

CNCC to offer creative mix of teen summer camps

Camps tapping teen interests to be presented for the first time in Craig

Nick Cocozzella is among the instructors slated to offer summer camps for middle and high school students through Colorado Northwestern Community College this year.

A registration meeting is scheduled from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday at CNCC’s Craig campus. It’s a chance for students to register for the summer camps and to receive financial aid if they need it.

— Nick Cocozzella has played in bands since he was 4 years old. But when he was about 20 years old, he started to devise ways of making the presence of other band members less necessary.

“In college I had a Mac, and it had a recording program,” he said. “I basically kind of felt like an octopus where I just could record a bass by myself, I could record guitar, I could record electronic sounds. I could play all these instruments — so I didn’t need a whole band to record.”

A registration meeting is scheduled from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday at CNCC’s Craig campus. It’s a chance for students to register for the summer camps and to receive financial aid if they need it.

So that’s what Cocozzella did, mixing his created sounds into productions that quickly garnered attention. At the time, about 10 years ago, he was attending what’s now the Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in technical communications.

“It started getting some attention on MySpace back in the day,” he said. “I ended up jumping to the top unsigned artist for like four years in Colorado.”

Cocozzella, who lives in Craig, continues to produce and perform music, sometimes focusing on acoustic sounds, and other times concocting a heady mix of synthesizer sounds. He performs independently, as well as with other musicians. He serves as the education zone director for GOAL Academy, in Craig.

And now Cocozzella — along with a cluster of other instructors — will apply some striking expertise to a summer camp program at Colorado Northwestern Community College.

The camps, designed for middle and high school students, start in early June and may run through July or August. Desiree Moore, CNCC’s director of community education, said this was the first summer for the camps at the Craig campus.

From wildlife to robotics

In addition to Cocozzella’s “Audio Production, Singer & Songwriter Camp,” offerings in Craig include Rafting Expedition & Wildlife Conservation,” presented by Ashlee McBurnett; two camps digging into entrepreneurship by Kirstie McPherson; “Lego Mindstorm Robotics,” by Michael Leeb; and “#Flywords Performance Poetry,” offered by Amber Delay.

Moore said the camps plunge into areas that may interest teens outside of any classroom, helping them to pursue activities they relish in ways that engage them intellectually. Moore noted Delay’s camp, a “slam and performance poetry camp” designed to explore a host of contemporary poetic forms.

“Hip hop is one of the cultural attributes of our millennial and younger generations,” Moore said. “To see how they can utilize those cultural attributes — those interests — in something that is academic I think is really cool.”

The rafting expedition camp, according to the college’s description, will allow students to get “a front line view to the beautiful and abundant wildlife that exists in Northwestern Colorado,” and the robotics camp will delve into “advanced building skills and knowledge of a drag and drop software program.” One of the entrepreneur camps will let students explore the process of “starting a business by developing and running their very own lemonade stand.”

A group of camps will be offered in Rangely and Oak Creek, as well.

Moore said she met with members of the Moffat County School District and GOAL Academy to generate ideas, and she said she’s also been in touch with the Boys & Girls Club staff.

Scholarships available

The summer camps are part of the Reach Your Peak Colorado program that includes CNCC, Colorado Mesa University and Colorado Mountain College. The three schools received a matching grant from the El Pomar Foundation to conduct the camps.

Participation in the camps also can lead to a college scholarship to one of those institutions.

“There’s a pipeline model,” said Moore. “Get kids inspired to learn, get them to enroll in concurrent enrollment, get them to go to one of our partnering institutions and then get them into the workforce.”

To qualify for a scholarship, Moore said, students must attend at least one summer camp, participate in at least one concurrent enrollment class and enroll in one of the three schools.

Moore said the student also must fall into one of the following categories: low income, first generation college, ethnic minority, child in a single parent family, child living with a relative other than parents, or with foster parents and child with a learning or physical disability.

Moore said she worked particularly closely with the school district and the Boys & Girls Club of Craig. Members can receive transportation from the club and, if they’re eligible, scholarships from CNCC.

“If a student qualifies for free or reduced lunch and they say they need financial assistance, they can get an 80 percent scholarship,” she said, and she noted that students who don’t qualify for free or reduced lunch can qualify for a scholarship of 40 percent if they need the financial help.

Registration meeting scheduled

People can register for the camps online at — where they’ll also see a schedule — and Moore said a registration gathering is scheduled from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday at CNCC’s Craig campus. It’s a chance, she said, for students to register and receive financial aid if they need it.

“I’ll be there to help them, and I’ll be there in case they have any questions about the camps,” she said, noting that instructors will also be invited.

Moore said the camps are capped at about 12 to 16 students, and students should register at least a week before their camp begins.

Contact Michael Neary at 970-875-1794 or or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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