Career exploration at BBCC

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald A ‘Serious Gaming Camp’ participant adds more blood to a fake wound in medical simulation class. The camp is sponsored by Big Bend Community College to show kids some of the career training available at the college.

MOSES LAKE — The detectives were on the case.

The participants at Serious Gaming Camp tracked the mysterious footprints to an equally mysterious cabin where – well, something happened. There is a suspect. There are clues, some of them pointing in different directions.

And who’s the criminal? Well, that will be adjudicated at trial on Friday.

Serious Gaming Camp is pretty fun – Wednesday morning, the students were painting fake wounds, and the more bloody and gory the better. But under the fun is a serious purpose.

The camp is designed to give kids a look at some of the career options within fields like criminal justice, medicine and computer programming, and show them some of the classes available at Big Bend Community College, said camp administrator Kristen McCrae.

The week-long camp is giving kids some experience in programming the college’s medical simulators and flying the college’s drone. Campers took a first aid class and CPR training. They learned how search and rescue was conducted, said Rebecca Harberts. And that was, said Courtney Ostler, her favorite part so far.

The crew from Grant County Fire District No. 5 brought some of their equipment, and pictures of other equipment. Courtney was especially impressed by the ropes. “One of them can hold a whole elephant,” she said.

The college has a whole family of mannequins that are part of the medical simulation program, and used in nurse’s training. “We saw a little baby one. It was so cute,” said Addie Fife. Campers are not supposed to call them dummies, Jennifer Bennett explained, because the idea is to think of them as patients. Mannequins can cry and sweat, Jennifer said, and one has real hair, Courtney said. It’s called Apollo. “He’s grandpa, mostly.” That’s because “he’s not very pretty.”

The mannequins are an example of the serious purpose, McCrae said. Many of the campers are interested in gaming, and in programming games they have picked up some transferable skills. “Some of the things they really like to do, but can be applied in different ways,” McCrae said.

The criminal investigation will take all week. The campers found a crime scene, and “we found a mom tied up, and she told us her son had gotten away,” Addie said. They tracked the son with the use of the drone. “We flew drones in one of those big net things,” Jennifer said, and inside, around an obstacle course. (The big net thing is the college’s drone course, set up on an old tennis court.)

Serious Gaming Camp continues through Friday, and winds up with a mock trial, where the suspect in the criminal case will be tried with the help of real attorneys and a real judge.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at

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