Summer eSports Camp Offers Free Online Learning and Gaming Tournaments – NBC 7 San Diego

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During the coronavirus pandemic, kids
are probably going to be (and have been) inside playing more video games. That
doesn’t need to be a bad thing. In fact, it can be the springboard to their professional
careers.

“I think it’s just a matter of
figuring out and respecting what students are passionate about and not just
shrugging if off saying they’re just playing video games,” says Ben Leskovansky,
a coding instructor and gamer who understands just how big eSports have become
and wants to use that popularity to focus kids in the right direction.

“Trying to get them to have that
spark of interest into, wow I can make a career out of this, and just talking
to them about how to do it in a healthy manner and a balanced manner with life,
school, and everything like that,” says Leskovansky.

The way Ben and Destinations Career
Academy, an online learning platform, is doing that is by offering a nationwide
camp teaching coding and video game design, then an eSports tournament
featuring Fortnite, Rocket League and Super Smash Bros.

To get to the fun game playing part
in the afternoon session, the kids must go through the morning coding camp.

“It’s a means to expose the kids to
the world of eSports and coding and just kind of giving them a chance to see
what it’s like to learn online in an online school format,” says Leskovansky.

That’s important for a couple of
reasons. One is, as we’ve seen during the pandemic, the ability to learn
through virtual platforms is important and only getting more common.

“There is going to be synchronous instruction,”
says Leskovansky. “So, there’s going to be a live instructor that the students
will be able to interact with and the students are going to get the full
experience of learning in an online school.”

Another reason for the camp is
eSports are growing by leaps and bounds. The 2018 League of Legends world
championship tournament was watched by more people in person and streaming than
the 2019 Super Bowl. In fact, Leskovansky sees a parallel between professional
football and professional gaming.

“Not every kid out there is going to
become a professionally paid competitor, NFL or eSports. But both are whole
industries so if a kid is passionate about it they can find a job in the IT
support side of things, sort of like an NFL statistician, or they could become
a coach of an eSports team just like there are coaches in the NFL. Then there
are also commentators on both sides. And then if you look at an eSports arena, that
looks like a (traditional sports) arena, the way it’s packed when an event is happening.
So, the infrastructure that goes into setting up the consoles, the screens, the
whole tournament management is a career opportunity when it comes to eSports.”

This camp was being planned before
the COVID-19 outbreak so the timing is strictly coincidental. But it could be a
silver lining to what will otherwise likely be a fairly boring summer for many
kids.

“I think this is gonna be a great
opportunity for a lot of kids that may be stuck at home just due to the
circumstances and have a no-pressure educational opportunity as well as a
chance to dive deeper into their passion for video games,” says Leskovansky.

The camp is available for 9th through 11th graders and runs June 15-25 and will be followed by a Virtual Reality edition from July 6-16. Best of all, both are completely free. For more information or to sign up your high schooler, click here.

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