It was only one year ago that the enormous metal hanger at NASA Ames Research Park greeted me into a summer unlike any I had ever experienced before. I was facilitating Singularity University‘s (SU) first ever Exponential Youth Camp. When driving up to SU’s colorful flags, I could have never have imagined the experience I was about to have. The Exponential Youth Camp (XYC) was a summer program designed in partnership between IDEAco and SU to empower young future leaders to harness the most emergent technologies into the most profound and positive impact for global good. This isn’t your average high school tech camp.
In the weeks ahead, five eager teens entered into a world of hacking, making, doing, designing, and building in ways they had never experienced. They were exposed to graduate-level seminars, learned the newest prototypes in technology, participated in NASA internships, and were immersed in a state-of-the-art Innovation Lab. Somewhere in between watching these youth build phosphorescent exercise gear for space, genetically engineer proteins for innovative medicinal use, drive lunar bots, deliver TEDx talks and create apps to avoid cancer-causing agents, I realized I was watching some of the most brilliant thinkers of tomorrow take their first steps towards significant global impact. Several of the pilot year students shared their experiences afterwards:
I had never before been in an environment where so many ideas that would seem insane to any normal person were being thrown around. Because of the huge diversity in the backgrounds and the mindsets of all the GSP and the XYC kids, there was this underlying sense that we could find a solution to practically any problem. It was really amazing.
-Amiti Banavar, 17
Being a part of XYC was one of the most amazing and life-changing experiences of my life. After four short weeks, I left with life-long friends, new goals, and a new outlook on the world around me. It’s changed the direction of my life completely and helped me reevaluate my future.
-Ayesha Rajan, 17
SU is by far one of the greatest experiences of my life!
-Connor Frank, 16
In approaching our second year, we are providing advanced immersion experiences, internships, hands-on curriculum, group challenges, and individual opportunities. The students will walk away with new ideas, a network of professionals, and a portfolio demonstrating their work. I’m excited to be a part of each participant’s processes, watching them embrace each challenge, prototype entirely new innovations, find their own personal passion, and become a part of a global community answering: “How can I make a better tomorrow?”
Let another thrilling year at XYC begin!
Applications are still open for 2014’s Singularity University Exponential Youth Camp. Apply at SingularityU.org.