At our camps, the Galileo Innovation Approach (GIA) is integral to everything we do. From campers of every age to staffers at every level, Galileans learn to apply an Innovator's Mindset (one that is visionary, courageous, collaborative, determined and reflective), understand Innovator's Knowledge (the ideas, contexts and skills that relate to their work), and use the Innovator's Process (from identifying a goal all the way through designing, testing and sharing their final product). And the more they practice it, the more they start to see themselves as innovators who can make positive change in the world.
But how does our excellent staff understand and apply the GIA? And how do they make it meaningful to campers? We asked Dylan Wen, who's spent two years as a summer intern at Summer Camps @ The Tech and is returning this summer as an assistant instructor, to give us his take.
What's been your most memorable camp experience so far?
Two summers ago in CSI: The Tech, one of my roles was to help campers on a crime scene scavenger hunt. It was the big project at the end of the week, where they put to use everything they learned from the class. As I led each group out into the museum to find clues, it was an amazing feeling to watch all the campers I helped grow in such short amount of time. Whether it was in the form of new friendships, new ideas or new confidence, the campers were certainly different people by the end of the week.
How have you helped your campers apply the GIA?
There was a camper in one of my Code Fundamentals classes who was feeling behind the rest of the class. He kept saying he wasn't good enough. So I sat down next to him, pointed at [a poster of] the Innovator's Mindset and told him to repeat each of the mindset elements with me, starting with "I am visionary." It took a bit of convincing to get him to follow along, but after repeating the "I am" statements a few times, he felt better. Every day after that, he believed more in his own courage and determination, and started catching up with his classmates. By the end of the week, he had a project to present to his clearly proud family.
How do you apply the GIA yourself?
[When I started working at The Tech], I was one of the less experienced staffers, which gave me pretty low self-confidence at times. When that happens, I always go back to the Innovator's Mindset. I tell myself I am visionary or courageous until I'm ready to try again. When I struggle with a task, I slow down and apply the Innovator's Process, which is how I approach a lot of what I do outside of camp.
Why do you think the GIA is important?
I think the GIA is a valuable tool in the development of young minds, not only in education, but in life itself. The GIA provides structure and a definitive approach to success, and I believe that if campers truly embrace it, it can impact their entire lives.
From understanding how to tackle new challenges to trusting their own vision and determination, Galileans who embrace the GIA become bolder, braver, more empowered people. The impact is profound—and we can't wait for your kids to experience it.