The first day of camp for participants of Brookdale’s Inventing A to Z week-long summer program rang true to the description found in the course brochure: “Meet a real life inventor, learn about famous inventors past and present, and become one yourself.” Camp instructor Lisa Ascolese, product developer for the popular shopping television programs QVC, Home Shopping Network, and Shop NBC, spent the morning teaching campers the necessary ingredients for a successful product invention. By 1p.m., students had designed their products, developed a marketing plan, and were ready to present their inventions to a panel of judges that included actress Jasmine Guy.
Campers Myles Natenzon and Andy Poon presented first. Their product, The Vulcan Foot, is a pair of slippers designed with a special pad that warms-up from the friction of walking. They named their product line after the Roman god of fire.
“I love the idea because I always have cold feet,” said Guy, who most is known for her work as Whitley Gilbert on A Different World. Other projects included the Shakey-Wakey, a vibrating pillow to wake you up without the startle that alarm clocks can provide, and The Door Helper, a product designed to prevent drafts. After the presentations, Guy told campers that she was impressed with their ideas and stressed the importance of believing in yourself and your product.
“Pay attention to what’s going on around you; pick the best person around you to learn from. My business is me, so I sell me. Believe in your product and you will get rid of the nervousness. When you have to go into a room of strangers to sell yourself, get their attention and engage them. People want to work with other people’s energy, so know your product and radiate confidence,” she said.
Guy’s work as an actress includes two television series A Different World and Fame, the movie Harlem Nights (starring Eddie Murphy), and a role in the famed Broadway play Chicago.
Inventing A to Z is an example of Brookdale’s community-centeredness. Linda Martin, manager of community programs, explained that a parent suggested we offer a camp on inventing. Martin knew that Ascolese would be perfect for the job and a new camp was born.
“Every year we try to add programs that are new, original and creative to create a unique experience for our campers,” said Martin.
For more information about Brookdale’s Camps-on-Campus program contact Linda Martin at 732-224-2303 at or visit the Camps-on-Campus website.
PHOTO CAPTION: Standing from left: Campers Andy Poon and Myles Natenzon, inventors of The Vulcan Foot, and Linda Martin, manager of community programs at Brookdale.
Seated from left: Lisa Ascolese, camp instructor; actress Jasmine Guy, and Chandra McQueen, who participated on the panel of judges.