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SEMA Custom Car Camp gives kids the ‘car bug’

The SEMA Custom Car Camp gave kids a chance to customize and race RC vehicles. There was also an opportunity to experience full-size customs.

Diamond Bar, California — September 13, 2016 — Kids heading off to camp is a traditional part of summer, but one camp that made its debut recently is anything but traditional. The SEMA Custom Car Camp took place at the SEMA Garage in Diamond Bar, Calif., from July 18 to 22. The camp introduced kids aged 10 to 13 to the possibilities of the automotive industry and provided them with hands-on experience with custom vehicles.

The Custom Car Camp taught campers the basics of vehicle technology by giving them a chance to assemble and disassemble Traxxas RC cars. Campers were also shown the possibilities of 3D printing, as SEMA staff engineers and members used CAD software to print out parts the campers designed and customized for their model cars. Students could visualize their ideas in CAD files onscreen.

“The car camp demonstrates how you can start with RC cars and use them as a stepping stone to an actual car,” said Nathan Ridnouer, SEMA Vice President of Councils and Membership.

The camp was established by the SEMA Board of Directors, with the intent of infecting kids with the car bug. There’s a perception that young people today are less interested in cars than in previous generations. SEMA hoped to diminish that perception with this program.

“Through this summer camp pilot program, we test drive one of many ways that the industry can reach and influence the next generation,” said Ridnouer.

Campers got to do more than just work on the scale models represented by the RC cars. Teen mentors were available to introduce campers to real-life cars with custom tires and paint jobs.

“The counselors are involved in the industry,” said Ridnouer. “Some have custom cars of their own.”

Campers individually customized their RC cars in preparation for the final race at the end of the week and also took turns using real tools, such as an impact drill, to work on an actual car. The experience likely opened their eyes to the industry, as they were encouraged to pursue any budding interests in cars.

“While they may not be at the same level of understanding as some of our members, the kids have the same interest in finding out the impact of any change to the vehicle, which we think is really cool,” said Ridnouer.

A statement from SEMA says the SEMA Custom Car Camp was a successful first run, as it provided a safe and fully equipped space for kids to pursue any ideas they may have had, whether it be designing, constructing or assembling something related to the automotive world.

For more information on the SEMA Custom Car Camp, visit sema.org/camp.

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