We are proud to announce the opening of our first school-based site in Wright City, MO. This site serves children in grades K-5 each day after school. The site opened on the first day of school for the district, August 22, 2022. We have 50 kids registered to participate with an average daily attendance of 47. Since the kids served here are younger, our STEM programming has started with more basic STEM concepts and a lot of hands on activities. The kids are really enjoying the opportunities to engage in STEM activities, especially since they do not have a dedicated STEM class or session during the school day. Starting a new site is a huge endeavor and has required significant financial investment. Grant, foundation, and community donors have been a huge part of this success and we so appreciate the investment in our kids, mission, and STEM education.
Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Charles County is gearing up for our annual Summer Camp and three of this year's camp weeks are centered on STEM. Members will participate in hands-on learning, go on field trips, and enjoy guests speakers each week at camp. Week One kicks off "Out of this World" and members will visit the Science Center. They will also have the opportunity to connect via Zoom with NASA Engineers to learn more about all that goes into designing and engineering rockets. Week Two is "First Responders" week and during this time, members will have the opportunity to explore SWAT trucks, ambulances, fire trucks, and the like. During Week Three (the official STEM week of camp), members will visit the Magic House and Myseum - both hands-on, children's museums in our community. They will also have Lego build sessions and work hands-on with volunteers from Mastercard and Thermo-Fisher. We provide all the hands-on opportunities, field trips, speakers, and experiences to members ages 6-18 at no additional cost to families. We are so excited to see the magic that happens over the summer and are thankful for our many funders who allow us to turn dreams into realities for our kids who need us most.
While we just started a new calendar year, we know summer will be here before we know it. In response to a great STEM week during last year's Summer Camp program, Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Charles County is exploring ways to make the week even stronger. This year, STEM week will happen at both Club sites during the week of June 20-24th. Throughout the week, members of every age will have hands-on opportunities to flex their creativity, problem-solving skills, and technical expertise. From Lego Day to Creative Kitchen Chemistry, our members will be able to experience new STEM activities at the Clubs. In addition, field trips to the Science Center and Myseum will round out their learning and bring in key elements of fun and exploration. Incredible donor support allows us to leverage even more for our members (at no additional cost to their families) and we are grateful for the ongoing support received through GlobalGiving.
Both of our units are blessed with the opportunity to grow vegetables for our Club members. From discussing seeds and germination to exploring new flavors and recipes, University of Missouri Extension Master Gardeners helps from beginning to end.
During a recent lesson at our O'Fallon Club, Master Gardeners encouraged kids to taste the difference in tomatoes of differing colors. The reactions were priceless!
Gardening is fun and it is a learning tool appropriate for children or adults of any age. Early childhood programs use gardens to provide multisensory learning experiences and to give children a strong foundation in basic STEM concepts. Elementary educators utilize gardens to expand on children's previous knowledge and to reinforce what members are learning in Club programs. Gardening also exposes children to science and other STEM disciplines at an earlier age, which increases the likelihood of them studying or working in a STEM-related field later in life.
Support from STEAM donors allows us to continue bringing the science of food to our members at both units.
We are thrilled to report that thanks to grant funding, donations, and corporate partnerships we recently added a new part-time STEAM Specialist position to support efforts at both our locations in St. Charles County. While we had an active STEAM program at our St. Charles Unit, we had not been able to fully implement programming at out O'Fallon location. Members will now have access to more STEAM opportunities with a special emphasis on our 6-7 year old age group. In addition, we are hosting two Summer Blast Camp weeks focused on STEAM. Members will participate in programs and activities, guest speakers will be at each unit to discuss STEAM careers, and members will visit the St. Louis Science Center. Grant funding makes so much possible for our children, and we are very grateful for the support.
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