Kits are key at Boys & Girls Clubs summer camps

STEAM materials make happy campers at Roseburg nonprofit

From Wacky Science to H2Oh! to a Robot Showdown, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Umpqua Valley has numerous ways to engage kids in its STEAM Camps taking place this summer from June 15 to Aug. 21.

The Club’s primary goal is to make quality after-school and summer opportunities available to kids from disadvantaged economic, social and family circumstances, according to Executive Director Kris Besson.

“The objective of our STEAM programs is to provide fun, hands-on activities that give participants an opportunity to develop the skills to prepare them for 21st –century careers including critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation and collaboration,” Besson said.

As one of the recent recipients of an Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub mini-grant, the Club plans to enhance programming with the purchase of STEAM kits to use during the summer program. The Club received a total of $11,889. Of that, Besson said about $4,600 will be used to purchase elementary-age curriculum in the form of kits that are easy to implement by program staff. About $4,800 will be invested in kits and materials geared to middle school and high school students. Nearly $2,000 will be spent on a STEAM Kick-Off Field Trip for teens that would feed the excitement for STEAM Camps and provide a launching point for future weeks’ camps.

Besson said the Club expects to serve 60 to 70 kids per week in the elementary STEAM Camps over the 11 weeks of the camp, as well as 10 kids per week in the Teen STEAM Camps. Last summer’s total attendance was 432 in the STEAM Camps and 86 in Teen STEAM Camps.

Elementary STEAM kits requested for this year include topics such as Extreme Machines and The Science of Super Powers. Teen STEAM Camp resources for the same period include robotics and hands-on engineering supplies.

The kits include guided lessons with curriculum and tested activities, enabling our staff to implement quality STEAM activities,” Besson said. “This improves both the impact and applicable knowledge the kids will glean from the activities.”

The STEAM camp opportunities will also be a launching point to work with participants to start exploring career options in STEAM fields and post-secondary needs for those careers.