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This summer NCCE is hosting our third round of Maker Camps! We’re not sure of the exact count, but this will make about fifteen NCCE camps that we’ve offered over the last dozen years. Holding a professional development program as an overnight camp adds a lot of challenges. It means dealing with overnight accommodations for all participants and instructors, arranging meals, and transporting all the equipment and supplies necessary because we’re about 90 minutes away from our homes in Burien. (We had so much to haul last year we actually needed to rent a van.) So if there’s that much hassle involved, why do it?

Because setting matters. We will have great instructors and sessions (and you can read about them all at but these are greatly enhanced by the location. Pack Forest is a relaxing, beautiful facility outside of Eatonville. The buildings are rustic, surrounded by tall fir trees and little else. Delicious meals are provided, so for the two days of camp participants can simply concentrate on learning and networking with others. Freed from the distractions of being home (at least for one night), it provides a chance to immerse more deeply in exploring, learning, and making.

Maker Camp CabinIt should seem pretty logical that people learn better when they’re comfortable, relaxed, and able to spend uninterrupted time focused on engaging activities and interesting colleagues from around the Northwest. And our experience with these camps indicates it’s definitely true.

Many years ago I heard a researcher speak on the connection between emotions and learning, and one of his quotes stuck with me: “In an atmosphere of ecstasy, learning is not only enhanced, it is inevitable.” We won’t go so far as to say that our NCCE Maker Camps will be ecstatic experiences, but they certainly will include a lot of learning and a lot of fun!

Full camp descriptions and registration are available at We hope to see you in August!

Conn McQuinn

Conn McQuinnConn McQuinn is a consultant and the owner of McQuinnable Educational Services. He has degrees in science and education, and over 40 years of experience in science and technology education at the Pacific Science Center and Puget Sound ESD. He has taught hundreds of workshops on educational technology, personalized learning, makerspaces, neuroscience, and more. He has also served on the boards of the Washington Science Teachers’ Association and the Northwest Council for Computers in Education, presented at numerous conferences, and survived two years of being a PTA co-president. Conn is also the author of over a dozen children’s activity books, all of which are out of print and can only be found in the dusty corners of eBay.  

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