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Alton, Ill., to Begin E-sports Summer Camps for Grades 4-8

The iMerge Community Center in Alton is working with the K-12 computer science curriculum provider Mastery Coding on two-week summer camps that focus on coding for game development.

Esports tournament CC BY-SA 2.0
(TNS) — A new E-sports program is planned at the iMerge Community Center in Alton through a partnership with Mastery Coding.

E-sports Summer Camps are set to start June 12 at the iMerge Community Center, formerly the Community Center, at 200 W. 3rd St. in Alton, according to iMerge Director Brigit Holt.

In addition to six afternoon camp sessions, the center plans to offer two evening camps lasting two weeks each that focus on coding for game development. The camps camps are open to children in grades 4-8.

"E-sports is gaining in popularity," Holt said. "I've learned so much in building this program. All branches of the U.S. military have teams, as do many colleges and universities.

"Offering E-sports is now considered one of the best ways to attract both college students and military enlistees," Holt said. "It has been sanctioned as a competitive sport by the Illinois High School Association. Students can win scholarships in E-sports as well."

Holt said iMerge has just completed its fifth month of operating the center dedicated to providing a safe, fun and educational space for middle-school youth. The center also has continued the Friday Night Open Play events that were offered at the Community Center which allow middle-schoolers to engage socially within a secure and enjoyable environment.

Mastery Coding provides project-based curricula to prepare students for competitive E-sports play, as well as STEM careers. In addition to the coding content, the camps will include E-sports training that combines critical thinking skills with project-based learning. Participants will learn to build E-sports teams as well as host and promote tournaments. They also will gain insight into diverse career paths within the esports industry, including shout casting, event management and professional gaming.

Holt said iMerge's E-sports will continue through the school year as well with its after-school programs.

"I'm excited to bring E-sports to Alton," Holt said. "Several of the surrounding communities have high school E-sports teams, and I want to prepare Alton middle schoolers for competition by giving them a state-of-the-art experience here at the iMerge Community Center."

She added iMerge is seeking sponsors for camps and events and that that iMerge has partnered with the E-sports program at St. Louis Science Center for future tournament league play.

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