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Summer Fun

DATE: Monday, May 11, 2020

HCC offering fun, interactive youth programs, starting June 8

A boy builds a video game during a Summer Youth Program at HCC

Holyoke Community College is partnering with the company Black Rocket to offer 12 weeks' worth of online summer programming for children 8 to 14 years old. 

Registration is now open for HCC's Summer Youth Programs, which begin June 8 and run through the week of Aug. 24. HCC is not running its traditional on-campus summer youth programs this year because of COVID-19 restrictions.

"While the pandemic has upended all of our lives, HCC is still planning to offer an exciting, engaging array of summer programming for kids and teens," said Michele Cabral, HCC executive director of professional development and corporate learning, who oversees HCC's Summer Youth Programs. "We want to keep kids safe and healthy, but we also want to offer them alternate way to engage with others – and learn. Through Black Rocket, kids will be able to learn coding, design video games, play eSports, create YouTube videos and much more."   

The remote classes are conducted in real-time via computer, with each focused on building creativity, and problem-solving and critical thinking skills through play. The classs are broken up into two groups by age, 8-11 and 11-14.

"They are meant to be fun as well as educational," said Cabral. "This is not just another screen experience."Each of the Black Rocket programs runs three hours a day for five days.  

Separately, but also starting June 8, HCC is running an online Youth Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Campaign, where players can challenge their imaginations, solve puzzles and navigate epic quests. This program will run one day a week for six weeks, with each session three hours long. 

All programs cost $149 each.Cabral said HCC is also exploring opportunities to add other courses.

"If we can provide on-campus programs in a safe manner, we will announce those in coming weeks," said Cabral. 

Updates, full course descriptions, computer requirements and registration information are   available at:

June 8: Battle Royale: Make Your First Fortnite Style Video Game; Minecraft Redstone Engineers; ROBLOX Makers; Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Campaign

June 15: Minecraft Modder; Video Game Animation 

June 22: eSports Apprentice - Streamers and Gamers; Make Your First Video Game! 

June 29: 3D Game Design with Unity; YouTube Content Creators 

July 6: Code Breakers; Inventor's League - Prototyping for the Future; Minecraft Designers 

July 13: 3D Game Design with Unity; Minecraft Animators; Pokémon Masters: Designers & 3D Makers Unite!

July 20: Inventor's League - Prototyping for the Future; Minecraft Designers; Rocket Kart Racers: Design A Mario Kart Style Game 

July 27: Code Your Own Adventure! Interactive Storytelling; Minecraft Modders 

Aug 3: Battle Royale: Make Your First Fortnite Style Video Game; Video Game Animation  

Aug 10: Minecraft Redstone Engineers; Rocket Kart Racers: Design A Mario Kart Style Game; YouTube Content Creators 

Aug 17:  Minecraft Redstone Engineers; eSports Apprentice - Streamers and Gamers

Aug 24: Make Your First Video Game; Minecraft Animators 

For more information please contact Valentyna Semyrog at

PHOTO by CHRIS YURKO: A boy builds a video game in an HCC summer youth program.