What Parents Say About NCC
That was extraordinary for you to start NCC back in 1977, a time when personal computers were expensive and difficult to assemble or to buy. When I was 16, I had my first computer. I had worked many jobs to save enough money to buy an Apple ][+ with 16KB add-on “language card”, an Apple Disk ][ floppy drive and controller card, and a color monitor.
At the time you hired me as a counselor, I knew the Apple ][+ like the back of my hand. At camp during one “creative computing” session basically on a “dare” from one of the campers, I wrote some 6502 code in HEX to activate the dual floppy disk drives. It was so fast that the drives’ switching noise generated a clearly audible tone with controllable pitch. Oh I wish you’d seen my campers go wild when I tapped out “Mary had a little lamb”.
Dr. Zabinski, I grew up in a single parent family, the elder of two children. I was a basement-dwelling mad scientist who preferred the company of elder geeks and books, and later, computers. I didn’t have brothers, but during those weeks at NCC when I taught programming the campers became my little brothers. As a lifelong educator yourself, I’m sure you have also experienced this many times. NCC was the highlight of my teen years.
I am so excited about the news that NCC will hold a virtual camp this summer. My son will be there for at least 1 week and he wants to continue with Java. “See” you this summer.
I have many memories of being at NCC as a camper and counselor in the early 1980’s. I fell in love with programming at NCC! I remember mostly focusing on Pascal, though I know I also took a week of Assembly. Back then we mostly used Radio Shack Model 1500’s and Apple IIe computers. After camp I taught myself more Pascal during an independent study class in high school. Thanks to the Pascal training at NCC and my independent study, I was able to take and pass the AP Computer Science exam which at the time was in Pascal
I ended up getting a chemical engineering degree and was hired as a chemical engineer by a large industrial controls corporation. They had a need for someone to program Pascal for a multi-variable control system and asked me to do it. Pascal was a fairly uncommon skill at the time and I ended up writing Pascal for several years. For the last 26 years I worked in software development. NCC was the spark that lead to it all.
As a camper, I remember loving instruction and what I learned was very useful for many years. NCC was the first time I was ever around other kids that were really interested in computers. It was liberating.
I’m really excited to send my own kids to NCC this summer!
My son attended this camp for several years. He loved it, and he’s now acing his AP Computer Science classes. Great camp!
Great people, great learning, great fun!
Wow! Campers can earn college credit when they enroll for a week. What a great opportunity to receive one credit in computer science from Fairfield University. My son’s college application will certainly stand out among other applications. It is difficult to find universities that accept high school students. This course credit option speaks highly of the NCC programming curriculum.
Thank you NCC.
I would like to compliment you on the wonderful partnership our school has had with NCC. During the last 2 years our school has sent each summer 6 students to learn Java at NCC and prepare them to take on leadership positions in the robotics club at our school. The students loved the camp and learned a lot. They returned each year eager to share their new skills with fellow students and faculty. The students not only gained valuable computer science skills, they also loved their time staying in the dorms at Fairfield U. After camp, they could better envision themselves as future college students one day. We plan on sending six more students this summer.
Laura, School Business Manager
I attended NCC 8 years ago and just graduated from college with a degree in computer science. I want you to know that my time at NCC was excellent and left me with a passion for learning to code.
Dear Michael Zabinski
Wanted to take a moment to thank you for what has been an amazing and fulfilling summer experience for my son (and countless other kids no doubt) for 4 years, and I want to tell you how much I appreciate it. You truly care for the camp, the counselors, and the campers, and do an amzing job making sure the experience is tailored to each individual.
Thank you again for making NCC a truly outstanding summer experience.
See you next summer!
My son had a great time and learned a lot. Please feel free to include me on the camp refernce list.
Funny thing happened at work the other day—I was telling a story about working at NCC, and one of my coworkers said the camp sounded familiar—turns out we were both campers and both also worked at NCC! My coworker apparently was a counselor back when you conducted camp at Stanford; I worked about 10-15 years later. I guess it’s a small world where NCC alumni are involved. Since my time at NCC (which was awesome), I’ve graduated with a degree in computer science from Harvard, spent some time at a startup in Boston, and then moved out west last year to join the Cloud Security team at Google. I love my job, I get to program interesting things all day, and I’m really grateful to NCC for exposing me to computer-things as a kid, so I thought I’d send you a note saying thanks.
How did you hear about NCC? “I did a web search for computer camps and then spoke to the director. I was very impressed with the camp’s philosophy and especially its unique curriculum. I also called several families on the camp’s reference list. After that the decision was easy.”
–New Haven, CT
My son is starting his 3rd year at NCC! Java’s old news, so he’s on to C++ this year. This camp is unique in that it teaches coding according to ability and interest rather than just age. Love it!
NCC is the third different computer camp my son has attended. I want to let you know that he had fun at all three camps, but he for sure learned the most at NCC. Your curriculum is very good especially since it is individualized and my son was able to learn at his own fast pace.
My son will be back at NCC next year.
Dear Prof. Zabinski,
Thank you very much for all your assistance and your wonderful camp! My son had great time and learned Java. I hope he will continue to learn Java and develop into a solid programmer.
Hi Dr. Zabinski, I just picked up my son from camp at Fairfield University and want to say thank you.
Your staff was fantastic, especially Adrian. He really goes out of his way to make the campers feel welcome and comfortable. My son learned a lot again this year and he really enjoyed it.
Enjoy the rest of your summer,
Dear NCC and Dr. Zabinski:
Thank you for founding and running NCC. My only wish is that I had discovered you earlier!
My son wanted to learn computer science, but was unable to take any courses in high school due to scheduling conflicts. He attended another computer camp, but the content was lackluster.
Then we found NCC.
The environment was warm, encouraging and bustling with energy. Kids of all ages were bonded by their common interest. I smiled every time I entered the room. (I am smiling right now thinking about it!) At NCC my son was truly able to feed his desire to learn. He was able to construct his own curriculum and learned Java and Assembler. The NCC counselors, teaching methodology and curriculum were responsive and effective. With your instruction, help and guidance, my son is currently taking a sophomore level college computer course during his high school senior year. Because of NCC, his passion for computer science has been truly developed. My son is now fully prepared to succeed as a computer science major in college.
Bottom-line, NCC is more than just a camp, it is a pathway to success.
Thank you again. You really helped me build my son’s future. Please feel free to add my name to the NCC camp refernece list. I will be pleased to share my thoughts with prospective campers’ parents.
My son Max loved computer camp and THANK YOU for all that you and your staff do to provide a GREAT camp experience! He is continuing to work on C++ programming. I feel fortunate that Max had such a great experience at camp, and he has told me that he wants to go again next year!
Dear NCC and Michael Zabinski,
Having just heard I’ve been accepted into the Harvard class of 2018, I want to pass along my sincere gratitude for all the opportunities I received at NCC. Both my summers at NCC and the internship you helped me acquire proved among the best experiences of my high school career, and also gave me interest and experience in areas I intend to pursue at Harvard.
My seven year old daughter Sylvia loved the ½ day morning camp and every day she could not wait to show me the new programs she wrote. She then proceeded to write more programs. Scratch is a great introduction to programming. Thank you NCC!
–New Haven, CT
I just found out about the special morning program for 6-8 year olds. My son is six and has been eager to attend NCC ever since his older brother and sister have attended for the past 2 years. The idea of him learning the Scratch programming language is great. This year I will have 3 kids attending NCC.
I was a camper at the CT Computer Camp in the early 1980’s (at The Westminster School in Simsbury, CT). I still have fond memories of the summers I spent at the camp, and attribute my life-long career & interest in computers and electronics to the camp. I’ve even kept in touch with some of the other people who attended the camp when I was there. Hope all is well with you & your family.
Dear NCC, I would like to thank NCC for a great experience! My older son went to NCC for the first time last year; it was his first camp out of state. As a parent, I was nervous about sending my 11 year old away but the staff was phenomenal and so caring. My son had a great time and talked very positively about how helpful the teachers were. He also learned a great deal while he was there; he was challenged and came away with lots of encouragement. His teachers not only knew their subject matter but also had such enthusiasm for computer programming, my son wanted to learn more! With such a positive experience, he returned and excited his younger brother to go too. I also told another mom about it and she sent her son this year. They all had such a great time! They also gained so much computer knowledge! What really impresses me about this camp is that they have a great balance of learning and fun; they played outside doing various sports and games. I don’t know of any computer camp that provides such an excellent and caring staff, fun and creative curriculum and a great campus experience! Thank you NCC for providing a wonderful camp. I’ve been telling all my friends about it and will continue to do so!!
Dear Dr. Zabinski, I was a camper in CT from 1984 through 1986. For this shy 14 year old who was just starting to discover a love for programming, the experience was life changing. I found friends, acceptance and an excitement for learning and experimenting with computers. My time at NCC has always been a great treasure. Today I am a software engineer and the mother of an 11 year old girl. As my daughter started to feel like she was ready for sleep-away camp, I told her about NCC and asked if it appealed to her. This year, she decided to try it for a week in CT. Afterwards, she asked if she could come back next year for two weeks, maybe more. There was a familiar excitement in her eyes and I could tell she thoroughly enjoyed studying web design. She now wants to try game design. She even asked if she can start programming and learn the language qBasic. But the biggest surprise was during Friday pick up. I was absolutely speechless when you told me that my Pascal instructor from camp all those years ago was there picking up his son too! Thank you so much for all that NCC has done for me and many, many other young people. I look forward to seeing you again next year.
My son has been a camper for the past 3 years and he is planning to return for his fourth year. What makes it so nice is that he learns new things every year not only because NCC offers a broad curriculum, but also because NCC keeps up with technology and each year adds new topics. For example, this year NCC has added Android App programming and so my son is really looking forward to learning to write Apps.
It is not too often that I write a letter like this, but when my son graduated from Northeastern University last month I felt I had to. Johnathan attended your camp for three years. Ever since then he has known that he wanted to become a computer engineer. The counselors at NCC were great; they taught him a lot and gave him the confidence he needed. I am happy to say that he just started his engineering job – I am so proud of what he has accomplished.
Dear NCC, My son Peter attended NCC last year and not only did he love camp, but he has been programming ever since. He will once again attend camp this year and he tells me that he can’t wait to show his programs to his counselors. I also want to mention that Peter has impressed his classmates and was elected president of the school’s computer club for next year!
I just sent in the registration for my son’s 4th year of National Computer Camp in Cleveland. His older brother had attended your camp in Cleveland and one year in Atlanta. Peter just started working for THE COMPANY OF THE YEAR, Nvidia, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, on the integration team. I cannot tell you what a difference computer camp made on this square-pegged kid from Ohio. You allowed him to be different. He loved everything about camp and continued to learn between the yearly weeks that he attended. Peter graduated this past spring from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and was named “most outstanding teaching assistant” his final year. (No doubt he had great role models from NCC.) He continues to perform music and compose. Thanks for the great work you do!
Dear NCC, The other day when my son Thomas was completing his college application he included National Computer Camp in his resume. Thomas is applying to RPI where he wants to study computer science. I want you to know that his love for computers dates back to 8 years ago when he first attended NCC as a 10 year old. Since then he attended NCC for 5 years in a row and each summer was the highlight of the year. NCC gave my son a wonderful foundation on which he hopes to build his future.
Your slogan “NCC, where learning and fun are rolled into one” certainly came through for my son. He is 15 years old and has attended NCC for the past 4 years. NCC has done wonders for his confidence. As a sophomore in high school he is now taking Advanced Placement Computer Science and is doing very well; the juniors and seniors in his class are having a difficult time keeping up with him. He really learned a lot at NCC during the last 4 years and had so much fun. It has been the highlight of his summer every year. I highly recommend NCC.
Our 11 year old son spent two weeks this summer at NCC. This was his first time staying away from home at camp and it couldn’t have been a better experience. He was very excited about learning to program and couldn’t believe how much he learned in two weeks. Now he’s trying to convince us to let him go for 4 weeks next summer! The counselors were wonderful and very attentive. We were able to email questions and received quick and helpful replies. When asked to monitor a health issue for my son, the director was very supportive. Being a computer person myself, I am quite impressed with the curriculum and the caliber of the instructors. They have attended camp and understand how to teach the material, all the while encouraging camaraderie and fun. Children can proceed at their own pace and are made to feel successful every step of the way. National Computer Camp has been a positive experience for our son. We will definitely send him again.
My 14 year old daughter attended NCC Atlanta 2007. I am writing to let you know how much she enjoyed her 2 week stay. She learned so much – the 2D and 3D video games she created are impressive! The counselors were very attentive and were always there to help. And last but not least she loved the facilities at Atlanta Christian College including believe it or not the food. My daughter is planning on coming back next year; she wants to learn Java. See you then.
I first became aware of NCC when my son John was 6 years old. What drew me to NCC was its reputation; several of my friends whose kids had attended told me that at NCC campers learned a lot and at the same time have a lot of fun. After waiting a few years I sent my 9 year old to NCC for one week. At the end of the week John promptly informed me that next year he wants to attend for at least 2 weeks. John is now 13 years old and has attended NCC every summer. I am thrilled with his knowledge and the self confidence he has gained. Thank you NCC.
Dear NCC, It was a great experience for my son. The extra time the counselors took to help him was terrific – thank you for their patience. Today was his last day and he is really sad that it is over. I am sure my son will see you again next summer.
Dear NCC, I’ve had the intention of writing NCC every year after camp. However, since my son is 17 years old, this may have been his last year at camp, so I cannot let it pass without letting you know how much NCC and the weeks at camp during the past five years have meant to Peter. Each year the week spent at camp has been both a lifeline and a time of incredible growth for Peter. If you recall when he first came, I was a nervous wreck and so was he. Often teased or punished for his lack of knowledge of social conventions and other things, it was the first time he’d been on his own. I can’t thank you enough for that opportunity! He has always been treated with such respect by everyone at the camp, that his confidence has blossomed more and more each year. Your counselors are wonderful role models for him and I can tell they were hand picked. Going to camp each year has been the highlight of his summer. So thank you, thank you NCC for being the caring and responsible camp that you are and taking on and teaching Peter and the other campers all that you have over the years. I have never had one minute’s hesitation about the excellence with which your camp is run. We may see you again next year, but if do not, we won’t forget NCC. Thanks again for everything and kudos to all.
Our son has attended NCC in Fairfield, Connecticut as a residential camper for the past 4 years. The first year, when he was 11, he stayed for one week. Following that, he has attended for all of his available summer weeks, and it has become a priority when setting his summer schedule. This past summer he attended for 3 weeks, and if it were not for a family commitment, he would have attended for 5 weeks! To demonstrate what a great time Marc has at NCC, this year he insisted on getting to Camp 1/2 hour before registration began and as soon as he was registered we were promptly asked to leave so he could get over to the computer room. Marc really likes the curriculum: so far he has learned to program in Basic, C++ and Java. The NCC instructors are great. He (and we) find them personable and knowledgeable, and eager to share what they know. This past summer Marc thought that his instructor Dan was fabulous. I watched Dan interact with the kids and he was great. The counselors obviously enjoy what they are doing and pass that enjoyment on to the campers. I also find that it is very beneficial for him to interact with recent high school graduates in this type of environment. Speaking with them makes him think about his own future and what he would like to do and where he would like to be in a few years. As a result of his experiences at NCC, one of his immediate desires is to return to NCC as a counselor in training! In addition to the classroom instruction, Marc loves the Robot Wars, where the campers learn to program their own “robots” and have their robot programs battle each other in each weekly session. He also loves the free computer time when the campers play computer network games. A highlight for my son (and many others) is the weekly camper-counselor soccer game, which inspires even the most sedentary campers to get out on the field in the hopes of whomping the counselors at soccer (which they frequently do!). NCC has proven to be a wonderful experience for our son, and one that I recommend for any child interested in learning in a supportive and fun atmosphere.
My son (age 12) and daughter (age 10) attended National Computer Camp held at the Fairfield University. They found the coursework really interesting and liked the mix of on-site recreational activities with computer learning. In addition, they spoke very highly of the counselors and often mentioned how friendly and helpful they were. They also very much liked the cafeteria food.
My husband and I are extremely satisfied with the quality of experience our 3 children (ages 16, 14, and 11) had this summer at NCC. Not only did they definitely learn a lot about programming and computers, they had a great time getting to know other campers and the counselors. The counselors did a great job giving as much one-on-one teaching as they could, and a nice balance was reached between quality instruction time and gaming/free time. According to our youngest, “The counselors were really funny, nice, and they helped us a lot.” See you next year!
My 13 year old son John attended NCC for the first time last year – he loved it. This year he thought it would be neat to split his time and attend NCC for one week and a different computer camp also for one week. Well that was quite a mistake. John complained that he learned hardly anything at the other camp. He spent an entire week writing a game and when he came home he couldn’t even demostrate the game. The game software was not included in the tuition. Coming home from NCC was a different story. John was invigorated. He started Java and wrote programs that he was really proud of. He loved his counselors – he says they were so knowlegeable and so friendly. John made lots of new friends and can’t wait to go back to NCC next year!
I am writing a quick note to tell you how much Ed and I have been impressed with our son’s experience at the National Computer Camp! Eddie is 9.5 years old; yet he first went to the National Computer Camp when he was 8 years old. We are both very protective of our son and very concerned that he has both fun and educational learning experiences during the summer months. Because he has always shown an affinity for computer games, we thought it would be a great idea for him to attend NCC. Boy, were we correct! Thus far, he has gone to the camp two years in a row. The duration of his stay has been for a two-week session on a commuter basis. We are impressed with the counselors. They are great role models, either college students themselves studying computer science at schools all across the U.S. or adults who have been affiliated with NCC for some time and provide a mature and responsible presence for the campers. We were constantly amazed at how much our son learned by attending the camp and he continues to utilize his newfound computer knowledge and skills even during the school year. The NCC curriculum is challenging yet age-appropriate. Finally, we have noticed an increase in our son’s confidence level and we attribute it in part to his experience at NCC, which provides a multi-age environment on a college campus that has served our son well. He feels comfortable in these surroundings after associating with the older campers, who themselves are well-mannered and intellectually strong young people. Thanks for your wonderful camp. Viva la NCC!
It has been quite a while since I was a camper in Connecticut (2006) and in California (2007 and 2008). I am now in my last year at the University in Paris. If I accept a job in the US I will contact you. NCC was a great experience for me and I am so glad that every year more and more campers are learning up-to-date computer technology at NCC. Best regards.
Dear Dr. Zabinski, My name is Araia T. You probably do not remember me, but I was a camper at Ursuline College, Cleveland, in the early nineties. I haven’t forgotten about the wonderful experience I had at your camp. I owe much of my expertise in video editing to the training I received at NCC. I now live in Zimbabwe and am still using the skill sets I learned back at NCC. Thanks for everything.
Some folks plan summer activities around vacations or extended family reunions. I plan summer activities around National Computer Camp weeks! My two children have attended NCC for the last four years. My son first attended NCC when he was 11 and my daughter when she was just 10 years old. They both fell in love with NCC that year and have been back every year. Once computer camp is over they usually start looking forward to the next summer when they can go back again! Camp at NCC has been a truly rewarding learning experience for both by children. Instruction time learning Basic, C++, Open GL and Java seem as enjoyable as Frisbee games and chess tournaments! The easy camaraderie that exists between counselors and campers and between campers and campers make for a relaxed and encouraging atmosphere that makes learning fun and keeps my son and daughter waiting to go back year after year. A strong testimony to how enjoyable and intellectually stimulating this camp is, is the fact that my 14 year-old son is a camper this year even though he’s already taken the AP Computer Science exam! Need I say more?
Our son may have been one of the younger day campers (age 8), not to mention he was only a novice. At the end of the first day, he was excited about returning and learning more. The counselors made his first time camp experience a wonderful experience. Not only was it fun, it was also educational.
As my son just finished his sixth summer at National Computer Camps, I’d like to thank you for the wonderful opportunity you have provided for kids to learn computer skills in an enjoyable, relaxed atmosphere. Anthony first went to computer camp as a 9-year-old and was comfortable from the start, which was unexpected because he is usually reluctant to try new things. He was welcomed by the counselors and several older campers as well. He was able to nearly complete the beginning Basic program in his first week at camp. He appreciated being able to progress through the program at his own pace, with the counselors always on hand for assistance. There was a relaxed attitude among the staff which made Anthony feel comfortable being himself. After seeing how much he enjoyed himself the first few days of camp the first year, I was only too willing to have him return each year. The consistency of staff from year to year helps as well to make the camp a positive experience for the kids. Thank you again for your dedication to computer education in children. Anthony looks forward to continuing with NCC as long as you will have him!
Both my children attended NCC. I was thrilled that my 11-year old son and 8-year old daughter actually learned a computer language and had a great time doing it. They came away with an amazing understanding of the logic of a computer language and how to write computer programs–and they finally experienced the real-life relevancy of mathematics. I had to wait until I was in college to learn what they learned. All this was possible because of the dedicated staff of smart and fun loving counselors who provided a lot of help and support, and the terrific learning materials available to the campers. My children also enjoyed the instruction in software applications and playing group and individual computer games.
My oldest son, David, has participated in the NCC Atlanta program since he was eight (he is now sixteen) and his brother, Paul (now fifteen), has participated since age nine. We have been extremely pleased by the program of the National Computer Camp under Michael Zabinski’s leadership. Although we didn’t know exactly what to expect when we first sent David to the camp at age eight, we found that he took to the program like a duck takes to water (ditto for Paul). They both have been absolutely devoted to the camp ever since and they look forward to the camp as the high point of their summers. Having counselors who have themselves gone through the camp and thus are knowledgeable about the program, enthusiastic about the material being taught, and available for help, has been very effective. The additional supplemental computer and related activities that are open to the campers have also been points of special attraction.