Summer STEM Camp 2018

The Cause

The Boys & Girls club of Whitecourt & District provides a safe and supportive place where children and youth can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships and develop confidence. We provide them with opportunities for building life skills, peer relationships, leadership skills, and a sense of community. Our organization serves youth ages 4.5 to 17 years old. Our Boys and Girls Club serves children aged 4.5 to 11 and the Teen Centre serves youth ages 11 to 17. Through these two programs, we facilitate the development and enhancement of community programs for all children and youth. These programs are aimed at prevention and support which in turns helps to develop young contributing members to society. 43% of our children at the Club are considered to be low income. These children often come from single parents, and are accessing multiple other resources in the community for assistance. The program we would like to run this summer will help all children, under privileged or not, have the ability to develop science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) based skills. The STEM Summer Camp 2018 will consist of nine weeks of structured activities for the children relating to the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. This would involve science experiments using chemistry, biology, physics, space, and weather. The technology component will involve digital literacy by implementing iPad use and online research for projects and activities. Engineering skills will be developed by the building of structures and trial and error techniques. The building of these structures will foster teamwork, resiliency, motivation, and the importance of decision making. Mathematics will be taught through math work sheets, and play based education, such as baking (measuring) and art (patterns and shapes). These STEM skills will help our children retain the knowledge they learned throughout the school year and will set them up for better success when school begins again in September.

Who Will it Benefit?

This program will benefit several demographics in the community; children, families, and the schools. The purpose of this program is to enhance learning for children throughout the summer months with the absence of school. Studies have shown that when children take break for the summer from school, they forget anywhere from 1 to 3 months worth of content learned in school over the course of the summer months. Scientists promote at least two to three hours a week during the summer months to prevent this learning loss. Through our STEM Summer Camp, students will be learning for up to 11 hours a day, for 5 days a week, but the learning will be done through play. Students will have the opportunity to maintain their knowledge that they learned throughout the school year which will give them a head start for the following school year. Families will benefit from this as a result of having children that are prepared for the school year, and these students will be learning life skills through STEM concepts that will contribute to their household. For example, when a child learns to bake in our Club, they will be able to take these skills home and use these with their parents or guardians. Teaching children these skills will help to foster and strengthen family relationships in the home. School systems will benefit from this program by having children that are better prepared for the new school year. Studies have shown that it can take up to two months of a new school year for children to relearn what they have lost in the summer, which puts children behind when trying to reach educational goals. Our program is designed to help bridge that gap for both students and teachers to help make learning easier. After participating in the STEM Summer Camp, we intend to have students feeling better prepared for the school year which will allow teachers to feel that they have less of a barrier with students come September.