Science for Girls Camp. More than simply metrics.
by Tosha Punches and Chris Lim
5 days of science + 13 women mentors + 19 young girls = Science for Girls Camp.
Yet, the numbers don’t even begin to explain the remarkable week.
Science for Girls camp returned for its second year, full of new activities ready to engage young, open minds. The girls ranged in age from 6-13 and joined us from throughout the county. We even had two “graduates” return as junior mentors to assist with the camp.
Each day our campers encountered a different piece of the science pie. The camp was powered by S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) and endeavored to get young girls to become scientists in the future. The women mentors, all experts in their field, took the idea of STEAM to heart and crafted hands-on activities from an array of disciplines. Campers learned about electronics from iFixit, DNA from a chemist, rocketry from a Cal Poly propulsion professor, watershed science with One Cool Earth and us, and material engineering with Cal Poly’s Vista program.
It was amazing to watch the positive way the girls worked together, supported each other, celebrated successes, and ultimately bonded.
One 11 year old, Erika, was asked by a reporter what her favorite thing about camp was. She replied that she really liked it all because she loved science, but her favorite part was the friendships she made. Now that sounds like a true summer camp experience.
5 days of science + 13 women mentors + 19 young girls = countless memories
If there is any doubt as to the power of education, herein lies an even deeper story behind the numbers. One of our mentors, Victoria of One Cool Earth, had what I like to refer to as, a “full circle” experience. As a young student, Victoria was a participant in Central Coast Salmon Enhancement’s programming. She then went on to intern with our organization and at the Science for Girls Camp came full circle by leading her own activities for young students.
So why don’t more girls pursue careers in science? Young people are all natural scientists, curious about the world around them. We all recognize that we need more women scientists. In spite of that, something happens along the way that discourages girls. I feel that it’s not necessary to light a spark in young people; the key is to not extinguish that spark.
Who knows, maybe one of our campers will follow in Victoria’s footsteps? What we do know is at our Science for Girls Camp, we did nothing to stop that.
Thank you to all our partners, especially STEAM Trunk, we could not have done it without your help. We already have a wait list started for next summer and we can't wait to do it again!
If you girl might be interested in participating next year, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.