Donation for STEM – Valparaiso Family YMCA Summer Day Camp

By: Valparaiso Family YMCA Last Updated: May 23, 2014

YMCA-Red-PurpleA donation from the Valparaiso Family YMCA Board Member Jacki Stutzman, will significantly impact approximately 160 children of all ages, abilities, incomes, and backgrounds in Porter County this summer alone. This donation will enable the Y to greatly enhance learning opportunities offered at our 2014 Summer Day Camp with the integration of STEM programming, and then beyond when we incorporate it, as an before and after-school program. Camp augmentation will help participants curb summer learning loss while increasing knowledge and developing essential skills in math, technology, and the sciences to better prepare them for success in school and future careers.

The Valparaiso Family YMCA’s Summer Day Camp Program offers an enriching outdoor experience providing a safe environment in which children learn and grow. This year’s summer day camps will be held from June 9, 2014 to August 15, 2014. Campers will be divided into age-appropriate groups from ages 3 to 5 (Pre-K); 6 to 8 (grade school); and 9 to 14 (middle school). We anticipate serving 160 children in Porter County in camp this year.

This wonderful donation from Ms. Stutzman launches STEM into the YMCA summer day camp. She describes how her contribution will enable the Y educators to use a similar method Jacki used in the classroom when she was a teacher. She said, ” Tell me, and I’ll forget; show me, and I’ll remember; involve me, and I’ll understand. This resonates with the STEM Program, enabling the kids to better understand how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math work in our world.”

Using the Statewide STEM Education Plan as a reference, STEM curricula will be weaved into our existing Y camp programming and provided 3 hours per day, 5 days per week to all ages for the entire 10 weeks of camp. With professionally trained and prepared staff, we propose to offer a high-quality, well-balanced, supplemental STEM program. The program will be designed to engage and inspire students, helping them increase educational achievement and develop critical skills such as problem solving, planning, analysis, and decision-making. In an enhanced learning environment, children will discover and explore in depth various STEM subjects such as forensic science, oceanic exploration, wind energy, robotics, physics, engineering and math.

Building on the Y’s core camp fundamentals, STEM programming will employ a hands-on approach to learning intended to support whole child development, boosting self-confidence and encouraging a sense of accomplishment. All students will benefit as the STEM subjects will teach them to work independently, as well as cooperatively, while helping them think critically and to be innovative.