Camp lets teens explore the guts of gaming systems

Aidan Fairbairn (right) works on the motherboard of a Wii gaming system while Dylan Juran gives instruction (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

Ever since it came to fruition three years ago, the volunteers at Satellite Gaming — a nonprofit organization in connection with Lakepoint Community Church — have been focused creating a positive community for kids that is centered around video games. 

Dylan Juran, who is the education director for Satellite Gaming, usually holds weekly gaming nights or online tournament events for kids to participate in during the summer. 

However, Juran wanted to shake things up a little bit this summer. 

“Every summer, we have been trying to do different things when students are not in school,” Juran said. “This year, we wanted to do something educational.” 

During the month of July, Juran has offered different classes for eager youngsters who want to learn about the technology that makes their favorite games work.

Earlier in the month, Juran held a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) retro gaming console class where students learned how to make their own home video game console, which they got to take home after the class was through. Students also learned about how to convert their old games into digital format so that they could play them on the system they created. 

Last week (July 15-19), Juran taught a console repair class, instructing students about the basics of microelectronics diagnosis and repair. All the kids in the class got the opportunity to repair broken Wii gaming systems, and even could keep them if they were able to successfully repair the systems.

These classes gives curious kids the opportunity to dive deep into the technical side of their hobby.

“I’m just a really techie guy and gaming is a huge hobby for me. I’ve been doing in my whole life,” said 14-year old Aidan Fairbairn. 

While Satellite Gaming is directly affiliated with a church, Juran confirmed that this wasn’t a class that involved any religiosity. For him, teaching these classes is one of the ways he feels that he can serve the community. 

“It’s not a religious event, we’re doing something great for our community because this is what are faith has driven us to. This is a religious organization that is doing something in the community because we feel compelled to,” Juran said. 

When he isn’t volunteering with Satellite Gaming, Juran serves as a technical consultant for Northwest Evaluation Association. But working with youths through the avenue of video games is where Juran has really found his passion. 

“We’re offering a service that we think needs to be offered by reaching kids that aren’t provided for with other opportunities. So for the kids that aren’t into sports or music and would rather go home and play video games, those kids now have a community and other kids to enjoy that hobby with,” Juran said.

Kevan Johnson, one of the directors at Satellite Gaming, also commented on how these classes could help kids towards a career path in game development

“These are skills that kids can take to careers in the future. One of the main focuses of Satellite Gaming is to bring gaming more to the forefront of society,” he said.