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Each Summer, in collaboration with the National 4-H Council, HughesNet sponsors Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) camps for local youth in four different states. The program, launched just 2 years ago, is built on the premise that access to quality, hands-on STEM education should not be limited by where a young person lives. Kids all across the US should be exposed to STEM. As the nation’s premier youth development organization, 4-H has a long history of leading such innovative programs.
This year, programs in Colorado, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, were chosen from a host of proposals to receive a $10,000 HughesNet grant to help fund their efforts. The grant is designed for each state to create a STEM program tailored to its youth and their needs. Some employ workshops that mirror the classroom experience, while others take to the outdoors and apply STEM principles to vigorous activities like hiking, zip-lining, and geo-caching.
Discover STEM, Discover Colorado!
For 41 years, the Colorado-based Eagles Nest Owls Roost (ENOR) camp has provided an environmental science, teamwork and leadership focus for kids in 3rd through 6th grades. This year, they were able to use their HughesNet grant to purchase kits and supplies, including GPS units, binoculars, and water testing equipment to support Natural Science Experiential Education (e.g., Forestry, Geology, Sustainability, Entomology, Ornithology). The grant also helped ENOR to expand and extend its curriculum.
With 20 new GPS units networked to computers in the field, the program connects kids to the nature around them and guides them on scavenger hunts to better understand insects, animals, and plants. The ENOR camps reached 400 kids through their week-long summer sessions and will reach another 600 to 700 throughout the year.
Engineered to Fit Kentucky
For 400 boys and girls in Kentucky, a novel program developed by Cornell University and University of Minnesota introduced 10 to 15 year-olds to STEM concepts through their interest in fashion and engineering. Via hands-on activities they explore the relationships between smart clothing and such principles as circuitry, LED lighting, pattern making, design, and movement. The HughesNet grant supported curriculum funding for these emerging Style Engineers and the purchase of kits used in workshops throughout the year.
Finding STEM in the Missouri Woods
An often overlooked gem of the Missouri state park system, Knob Noster State Park is an interesting mix of prairie, savanna and forest, with 3,567 acres lying along both sides of a meandering creek. For more than 90 years, Camp Bob White has hosted summer camps. This summer, the camp used its HughesNet grant to fund higher level science programs by acquiring software, kits, tablets, and more.
With the new equipment, campers were able to work on projects with Lego Robotics kits, involving activities, such as building, coding, and troubleshooting. Others focused on meteorology and learning how to predict weather patterns and their effect on the world around us. Still others built model rocket engines and learned about drones. The camp reached more than 1,900 youth from seven counties in west central Missouri, which included campers 8 to 12 years old, as well as counselors aged 13 to 18.
In Tennessee, STEM is Here to Stay
Many youth are unaware of the countless ways STEM topics impact their daily lives. Tennessee’s goal for its program was to expose campers to hands-on STEM learning in a way that would motivate them to see and explore STEM long after summer camp ended. Ultimately, Tennessee wanted to introduce campers to potential STEM careers.
Its program, called SYSTEM Overload (Students Yearn for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), set out to use the HughesNet grant to create an immersive camp experience. SYSTEM Overload’s key objective was to encourage STEM-based activities throughout the camp day—for example, connecting zip-line activities to the science of energy, learning about physics through archery, or exploring local ecosystems. Campers attended sessions at one of three Tennessee locations: Ridley 4-H Center, Clyde York 4-H Center, and Clyde Austin 4-H Center.
A Winning Partnership
For its efforts to inspire the next generation of leaders in STEM, HughesNet’s partnership with the National 4-H Council is winning recognition in the business community. The HughesNet/4-H partnership won the Business Marketing Association’s B2 Award of Excellence for corporate community relations programs on June 1. Previously, the partners won the American Business Awards Gold “Stevie” for Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year in 2015. HughesNet and 4-H were also finalists for a “Halo” award for cause marketing from the Cause Marketing Forum and for a PR Daily Digital PR and Social Media Award for cause advocacy.
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