A Director’s Note on the 2019 Kiptopeke Experience

From left to right, (background) David Smythe, Dr. Robert Call, Foster Kimple, and James Wilson and (forebround) Nicholas Rose, Stinson Moss, and Kai Wang measuring and marking the wood to be cut.
From left to right, Foster Kimple, David Smythe, and James Wilson measuring the seat of the bench to make sure that the boards are evenly spaced apart.

Last week, the 2022 EDI Fellows had their summer experience – their first significant time with each other and with their directors, Dr. Robert Call and myself.  From a director’s point of view, this trip was very productive and successful. The EDI Fellows gracefully designed and constructed two structures, a Lego table for young children and a sturdy outdoor bench in memory of a Barrier Islands Center friend.

From left to right, Kai Wang, Stinson Moss, and Dr. Robert Call cutting the wood on the table saw.

While the designs were creative and thoughtful, what impressed me most was the potential of our youngest cohort.  The 2022 EDI Fellows as a group were cohesive, all pitching in after every meal to clean up, and demonstrated a deep consideration for their ‘clients’ for a lack of a better word. When the Fellows met with Monika Bridgforth, the Museum Director of the Barrier Islands Center, they asked questions about the use of the structures and then listened to the answers, incorporating thoughtful design changes. As a result, the Barrier Islands Center further asked the 2022s for assistance with assembling picnic tables and benches. All in all, the 2022 EDI cohort shows great promise to grow and embody the principles of Norfolk Academy and the EDI Fellows program. I am looking forward to working with them the next three years.

-Dr. Vallery (Doc Val)

Gratitude: Special thanks to Mr. Sean Wetmore for his unwavering support as Director of the Fellows Program, to the OBS Eastville hardware store for being patient with our Fellows, to SouthEast Expeditions for quickly arranging a same-day kayak rental, to the Barrier Islands Center, whom we are excited to work with in the future, and to the parents for trusting us to have a meaning summer experience!

Completed Project – Lego Table for the Barrier Islands Center – Post by Stinson Moss EDI’22

From left to right, Nicholas Rose, Kai Wang, and Stinson Moss with their completed lego table. The design included lego compatible tiles, storage space, and consideration of weight. Here the EDI Fellows and the table are pictured in the attic of the Barrier Islands Center, where the Lego Table will be kept.

The Lego Table was a success! The hard work put into the table has reflected on the final product; It’s bigger, holds storage for legos, and most importantly, inviting to children. Although the Lego Team faced many obstacles, they stayed compelled to their task and persevered through the trials and tribulations placed before them. Kai, Nicholas and Stinson have successfully built an innovated lego table for the Barrier Islands Center. We all can’t wait to see little children gathered around playing with their Legos. It will be fantastic!

Kai Wang (foreground) is pictured here working on the Lego Table.

Completed Project – Bench for Barrier Islands Center – Post by James Wilson EDI’22

From left to right, Foster Kimple, David Smythe, and James Wilson on the completed build of their bench design.

We have now finished the 2×4 bench and it has been a resounding success. We have just finished the final coat of stain and it is ready to give it to the Barrier Island Center. The bench is very sturdy and comfortably fits four people. Since the last bench blog post, we cut the 2x4s into our predesigned lengths and angles. We have completely screwed the bench together and stained the whole bench in a light grey color to match with the area. We call our bench ‘the Man Bench’ and are excited to give it to the Barrier Island Center in honor of Art Schwarzschild.

From left to right, David Smythe, Foster Kimple, and James Wilson on their completed bench placed next to the Fossil Pit at the Barrier Islands Center, VA.

A Sarcastic Review of the Food Prepared by the 2022 EDI Fellows during their Summer Experience – Post by Kai wang EDI’22

From top to bottom and then left to right, Foster Kimple, Kai Wang, David Smythe, Stinson Moss, James Wilson, and Nicholas Rose. Human pyramid constructed at Barrier Islands Center on the final day and after they presented their completed build projects.

Food was an integral part to our Kiptopeke experience. The meals consisted of pancakes, BLTs, spaghetti and meatballs, scrambled eggs and sausage, ham and cheese sandwiches, hamburgers, and tacos. The pairs of chefs that cooked the meals were Stinson and James, Foster and me, and David and Nicholas. While each chef did a phenomenal job curating meals to fulfill our energy, Stinson and James were, by far, the superior food connoisseurs!

Burger Night after a hard day of building in company with Mr. Wetmore (not shown)! Avocados, Eggs, and Bacon were made for this gourmet meal. From left to right, Foster Kimple, Stinson Moss, Dr. Vallery, Dr. Call, Kai Wang, James Wilson, David Smythe, and Nicholas Rose.

On the first day that they were cooking, they added the extra touch of burnt flavor to our meal. They also made the executive decision to create an innovative, makeshift alarm to wake us all up. James set butter on the pan for too long, thus causing the milk solids to burn away. This act of burning the butter resulted in a thick smoke. James and Stinson then proceeded to physically and metaphorically “twiddle their thumbs” as the smoke from the pan rose and set off the smoke alarm. The lightly blackened chocolate pancakes lightened up our cohort’s mood for the rest of the day.

S’more night! From left to right, Kai Wang, James Wilson, Nicholas Rose, Foster Kimple.

For dinner, James and Stinson cooked spaghetti and meatballs. Although the consumption experience brought me to the fourth dimension, the cooking was comparatively mediocre compared to the earlier morning’s food. However, for dessert, James was put in charge of baking the cookies. One might ask, “How is it possible to make an item, like Tollhouse cookies, better than it already is?” Well, James bakes the cookies so well that I went into a coma for 4 hours because my brain could not handle the dopamine produced by simply ingesting the cookie. James had also used a dab of burnt flavor. The secret to his baking was watching the oven intently. Dr. Vallery noticed that the cookies were “burning” and asked James if the cookies were done. James confidently said that the cookies were almost done, and then proceeded to spectate the card game. Afterwards, the cookies also turned out lightly “blackened”, just as James intended it to be. The food was a success!

Celebrating Foster’s 15th Birthday! From left to right, James Wilson, Kai Wang, Foster Kimple, David Smythe, and Nicholas Rose.

2022 Summer Experience: A Lego Table for the Barrier Islands Center – Post by Nicholas Rose EDI’22

Pictured from left to right is the 2022 EDI cohort, Kai Wang, James Wilson, Foster Kimple, Nicholas Rose, David Symthe, and Stinson Moss. Kai, Nicholas, and Stinson are working on a lego table for the Barrier Islands Center during their EDI summer experience.

For our first EDI summer experience, Stinson Moss, Kai Wang, and I are designing and building an improved LEGO table for the Barrier Islands Center, which serves as main attraction for younger kids in the museum. The current LEGO table, which only allows a couple of kids to play at once, has no base plate for the legos and does not include any storage.

Stinson Moss, Nicholas Rose, and Kai Wang (left to right in foreground) are developing their design of the lego table for the Barrier Islands Center.

Our LEGO table design is contains eight 10×10 inch base plates, surrounded by a ½ inch lip to prevent legos from falling off the table. Our design also includes a cubby storage system on the underside of the table and a possible 4 inch divots along the sides for temporary storage. After creating a prototype out of popsicle sticks, we visited the center to see the current table and the new space for it. Following our discussion with Monika Bridgforth of the Barrier Islands Center, we adjusted the design and then purchased supplies from a local hardware store out on the Eastern Shore (VA).   

Stay tuned for another post on building phase and final product and look for the blog post on the accompanying summer experience project, a lego table, by the other 2022s.

-Nicholas Rose EDI’22

2022 Summer Experience – Designing a Bench in Honor of Art Schwarzschild, A Friend of the Barrier Islands Center – Post by Foster Kimple EDI’22

From left to right, Foster Kimple, David Symthe, and James Wilson working on their design of the Barrier Islands Center bench.

After arriving and settling into our awesome lodge – an upgrade from Leadership Lab – at Kiptopeke State Park, we were introduced to our projects that our cohort will be working on for the week. Our cohort split into two groups; each group will design and build a helpful item for the Barrier Islands Center, here on the Eastern Shore.

My group will design and build a bench in memoriam of Art Schwarzschild, a UVA Professor of Engineering and friend of the Barrier Islands Center, and the others will make a lego table. We went to different parts of the lodge and started planning. We decided to make a basic, scale model of the bench out of popsicle sticks and hot glue. After planning and tweaking our prototype, we purchased supplies at the OBS hardware store, picking up 13 2×4 wood planks to make our bench that should hold 4 people.  

From Left to Right, Foster Kimple EDI’22, James Wilson EDI’22, and David Smythe EDI’22 is pictured with their popsicle prototype of a wooden bench in memoriam of Art Schwarzschild, UVA Professor of Engineering and a friend to the Barrier Islands Center on the Eastern Shore, VA.

Stay tuned for an update on this project and look for posts about the other project for the Barrier Islands Center – the lego table.

-Foster Kimple

2022 Summer Experience – Discussion of The Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley – Post by David Symthe

Pictured from left to right, James Wilson, Nicholas Rose, David Symthe, Foster Kimple, Kai Wang, and Stinson Moss, is the 2022 cohort of the EDI Fellows at Norfolk Academy, VA.

One of the first things our cohort did when we got to the Kiptopeke lodge was discuss the book The 10 Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley. The 10 Faces of Innovation describes the 10 most common personalities amongst innovators. These personalities include the experimenter, the hurdler, the cross pollinator, the organizer, and many more.

Prior to the trip, each of us were tasked with picking 1 personality we identified with and 1 we wanted to be more like in the future, and then we wrote 1 paragraph about each. During our discussion we each shared the 2 faces of innovation we wrote about. In our group many people identified as either a hurdler or an experimenter and wanted to be more like a caregiver or an anthropologist. Also, we discussed the importance of bringing every different personality to the table when working on a project and how implementing all 10 of the faces of innovation can bring about great results.