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.
This month, members have participated in activities focused on Black History Month. As part of this, we worked to incorporate this learning into a variety of platforms including Career Launch, STEAM, Youth for Unity, and Reading for Success. Members learned about Mae Jeminson, the first Black female astronaut. As part of this, they are discussed work completed by astronauts while in space and how they prepare to become astronauts. Members then created their own rockets and space stations using gears and blocks. Their creativity and problem-solving skills were reflected in their creations. Thanks to support from GlobalGiving, activities like this can be provided for members free of charge.
We are excited to announce the installation of our new BEAM Interactive system at our St. Charles Unit. BEAM is an interactive projector game system that makes learning fun, lively, hygienic, educational, and above all, a ton of fun. BEAM’s revolutionary technology gives children the opportunity to explore, discover, & interact. It enhances not only brain development, but also gross and fine motor skills.
The interactive floor projector is a hassle-free way to entertain and teach-- all you need is a flat surface and some motivated children. There are no toys to wash, no boards to fold up, no balls to clean, no rackets or bats that can hit other players, and most importantly, allows us to maintain social distancing in light of COVID-19.
Thanks to donor support, we installed the system earlier in the summer as we re-opened for our members. Our BEAM device is set up inside our games room as it is a large space. We had hoped to install it next to our STEAMbotics Academy but due to safety restrictions we pivoted to a new area. BEAM is set up to be used for programming activities related to STEM as well as our healthy lifestyles curriculum. The kids love it and so do our staff and volunteers. multiple times a week and the kids love playing with it.
Members across all age groups are always asking to play on it and we have witnessed many times when a child does not want to leave the Club because they are having such a good time playing on BEAM. Given the stress of the last several months, the BEAM system has helped provide our members with new opportunities to explore STEM in a fun, engaging manner. Thank you for helping create this STEM opportunity through your generous donations.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Charles County closed its doors on March 13th due to COVID-19. We re-opened on June 2nd for a modified schedule and summer program. During the 3-month gap, we worked hard to keep our members engaged. In addition to the meals sent home each week and weekly phone call check-ins, we wanted to provide our kids with activities to help keep their minds engaged. To that end, we began an online program called My Future where our members could participate in virtual learning activities heavily focused on technology, math, and science. Our members earned badges for creating sessions including lessons on Digital Literacy, STEM exploration, and DIY stem. In addition, we created a YouTube channel called VISION BGCSTC where our members could participate in activities led by our staff including mentoring, dance, physical activity and so on.
We are most proud, however, of the work our older members accomplished. BGCSTC proudly worked alongside the health department and the economic development department to create PPE components for an area hospital. Working in shifts at the Club, our older members and staff utilized the 3-D printer to create pieces for the PPE. The printer ran around the clock at times and we are proud to have been a part of this critical community collaboration, thanks to STEAMbotics Academy and our dedicated staff and members.
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