Closing Ceremonies at the 2023 Manufacturing Camp

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Campers and Parents at the closing ceremony

The 2023 Manufacturing Camp through the Darke County Economics Development came to an end Friday afternoon with their closing ceremony. This was hosted by DCED workforce specialist and camp coordinator Tamala Marley. The ceremony recognized sponsors and campers, had campers share what they learned from camp, what counselors learned, a pitch for a new camp, and thank yous.

“I needed to share with you that we’ve had an amazing group of students that have been with us this week,” Tamala Marley said. “The summer of our first camp in 2019 had just eight campers attending; this year, with our fourth camp, we have grown to 22 campers from seven different Darke County schools.”

“Thanks to the creativity and the support of the teams of all our manufacturers and business partners, our campers have had a great week learning about local manufacturing and the careers available here in our community. Along the way, your campers have had the opportunity to practice and grow their skills in communication, public speaking, teamwork, problem-solving, and continuous improvement.”

Representatives from all the manufacturers that were part of the camp were recognized and spoke. These were representatives from Jafe, Midmark, Whirlpool, Fort Recovery, and Edison. All manufacturers were very excited to have been a part of the camp.

“They were very neat, very creative,” Jacob Weaver from Jafe said. “It was awesome to watch them collaborate and bounce ideas off of each other, come to a consensus, and produce very neat candles.”

“Guys, you were so great to have on Monday,” Cassie Cable from Whirlpool said. “You were very attentive, and we really enjoyed talking about safety with you guys.”

The camp presented the manufacturing representatives with certificates of appreciation for all they did for the campers throughout the week.

The camp then recognized all the campers that participated, and a few of them got to share what they learned throughout the week.

“These are some of the most amazing kids I think I have ever met,” Heather Suerdieck, Inside Out Coaching, said. “At the end of every day, we asked them to do a reflection on a puzzle, so they were creating their own puzzle based on how they would fit into manufacturing, what they saw, and what they liked to do.”

The campers shared their puzzles and some of their favorite things from the camp.

“This camp had so many great learning experiences that I can take with me to my future
career,” one camper said. “I’m so glad I got this opportunity.”

The manufacturing camp hosts not only the seventh and eighth-grade campers but also four counselors from the high school. The camp recognized them, thanked them, and had them share what they got to see and learn from the camp as well.

“My whole group was so social by the end of this, and they all worked so great together,” Leah Curtis said. “I’m so proud of all of them. The best thing I got from camp was seeing grow and work together.”

Before Marley could give the final closing thank yous and goodbye, the camp had a surprise thank you dedicated to her.

All campers, counselors, manufacturer representatives, and camp leaders from DCED presented Marley with statements they wrote for her. These statements all started with “Because you created space and cared,”

“Many of you may not know, but Tamala is the reason that this camp was created,” Suerdieck said. “She has a real passion for growing kids. Tamala is retiring this year (November), so we wanted to give her a very special award.”

“Because you created space and cared, you gave me a new learning experience.”

“Because you created space and cared, I had fun.”

“Because you created space and cared, I was able to open myself up more.”

“Because you created space and cared, I had an amazing time at camp.”

“Because you created space and cared, I have learned lots.”

“Because you created space and cared, I was able to meet some amazing people and experience things I had never thought of.”

These are just a few of the wonderful things said to Tamala Marley

“Because you created space and cared, you created so much growth in myself, in this county, and everyone who comes into contact with you,” Suerdieck said. “Thank you for being amazing and creating spaces.”

Mike Bowers, Director of DCED, gave Marley a “Best Space Creator Award.”

“The Best Space Creator Award is present to Tamala Marley for allowing young people of Darke County to grow to their full potential,” Bowers said.

“Thank you all very much; this was very unexpected,” Marley said. “I am just so blessed to be part of the community I am a part of. I’m just so grateful for these opportunities.”

The campers, the counselors, the manufacturers, and the DCED leaders all shared their love and appreciation for the camp.

Funding for this event was provided by donations through the Darke County Foundation, the West Tech Prep Region, and Edison State Community College.

A thank you to Greenville City Schools and Superintendent Doug Fries for the use of the Advanced Manufacturing Lab and providing transportation to tours, Heather Suerdieck of Inside out Coaching, Camp Facilitator Susan Ahrens, Camp assistant Mary Lee Moore, Career Tech Secretary, Edison State Community College, and Mrs. Lori Hoover and the Interactive Media students at Greenville C-TEC.