Though they may be out of school, youth in Wisconsin have a chance to keep their minds and bodies active while learning about science, technology, engineering and math. This summer, Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development, in partnership with the Kern Family Foundation, will host more than 30 week-long Gateway Academies in 27 counties around the state, giving youth a fun, hands-on opportunity to develop new skills.
Youth at the camps can experiment with rocketry and robotics, explore alternative energy through projects like solar cars and wind turbines, and learn about eco-friendly design using recycled materials. Each project incorporates basic scientific principles, like physics and energy, while giving campers an opportunity to see some of the real-world applications of what they’re learning.
Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development has offered Gateway Academies across the state since 2008. More than 520 youth attended the camps last year. The week-long day camps show middle school students new aspects of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The camps also introduce youth to opportunities and careers in STEM fields. Camp activities encourage useful critical thinking, creative problem-solving and collaboration skills. According to Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development STEM Specialist Joanna Skluzacek, kids who attended the camps last year also left with increased confidence in their science and technology skills.
“More than half of the youth who attended camp last year and completed the survey said the Gateway Academy helped them think about their future careers,” Skluzacek says. “The camps encouraged many youth to take more science and technology classes in school.”
To find a Wisconsin 4-H Gateway Academy in your area, check out http://4h.uwex.edu/set/engineering_gateway.cfm or contact your county UW-Extension office. For more information on Wisconsin 4-H STEM, visit http://www.uwex.edu/ces/4h/set/index.cfm.
Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development is a program of the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension in partnership with state, federal and county government in each Wisconsin county.