RICHFIELD (WCCO) — It’s camp season for many kids, but while most of them are outside, a unique one is going on indoors, inside Best Buy’s world headquarters in Richfield.

It isn’t your old-fashioned Camp Fire camp. For starters, the Camp Fire Girls are now joined by boys. The Camp Fire organization is co-ed, and instead of a camp fire, these kids are gathered around computers.

“With Camp Fire, it’s our thinking that it’s already within them and their spark,” said 19-year-old Lauren Lampe the Camp Fire USA National Youth Advisory Cabinet Chair. “We’re just giving them the tools to use that spark and let it shine and figure out what they want to do.”

About 120 kids take classes in things, including PC basics, programming, photography, and making digital music. There’s even a virtual scavenger hunt — using iPads to crack QR codes.

It can get loud.

“I expected it wouldn’t be as much yelling,” said 11-year-old Kat St. Martin-Norburg of St. Paul, surprised by the team yells that echoed through the corridors of the Best Buy headquarters.

Teams with names like Digital Divas, Binary Boys and Mega Pixels are encouraged to make up team yells, and they’re all called Junior Agents, helping the kids connect with the tech.

“People that have done computer camps have been very just heads down, focused,” said Geek Squad’s Greg Dinert. “But we want to have fun with technology. We want to have a whole different spin.”

Geek Squad holds these camps in 40 different cities, but hosting this one at its parent company’s headquarters gives these kids an extra incentive.

“Exposing our kids to the opportunity of working right here at home is exceptional,” said Camp Fire Minnesota CEO Marnie Wells. “Most of our children live right down the road from headquarters, so it actually makes a career seem real to them in the technology world.”

The camp continues Wednesday and they expect to do one again next year.


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