Bringing STEM to the Student: A Fun Outreach Event with the Mobile Library
Written by: Kristen Lanier, Marketing and PR Coordinator
The Moncks Corner Branch NAACP hosted its first ever Summer Youth Education Camp on July 18 – 21, 2017, at Moncks Corner Baptist Church Life Center.
The theme for the camp was “Empowering Curious Minds” with a focus on STEM activities and education for students ages 11–14. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. During the 4 day camp, students were able to explore the STEM field in the Lowcountry through the use of Chromebooks, hands-on experiments, educational and motivational speakers and physical exercise.
Presenters at the camp included SPAWAR, Boeing, Google, Berkeley County Library System, Berkeley County Sheriff Department, Department of Juvenile Justice, and youth advisor, Lori Bennett. The students were also be treated to a tour of Boeing’s North Charleston’s Facility on the last day of the camp.
According to an article in the Berkeley Independent Newspaper, camp organizer, Jerald Borden Jr. stresses the importance of such a camp for the area. He explains that in rural areas, residents aren’t always trained to work in the growing field. He said it is important to start training from adolescence.
“Opportunities for [STEM] are lacking in rural areas,” he said. “Although there are opportunities for employment in STEM careers, there is a shortage of qualified workers. These are the type of skills that students learn by studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).”
“With all the industries coming in the area, our children need to be engaged in that,” said NAACP President Ethel Jefferson. “The labor market is poor today. We need more people. This is preparing them.”
When Berkeley County Library System was asked to partner and present at the camp, it was a no-brainer. The mobile library staff and members of the library’s technology and systems department delighted the students with tech toys to experiment with such as a virtual reality headset, 3D printer, circuit games, and other tech toys. Students also had an opportunity to explore the mobile library and check out books and resources about STEM activities, learning, and careers in STEM-related industries. By the end of the day, the students did not want the library to leave!
Barbara Ash, Outreach and Children’s Librarian on the mobile library said, “Our NAACP STEM camp visit epitomized the mobile library and outreach services vision for this kind of programming. The kids had a great afternoon working in small groups to collaborate, problem solve, play and create. Seeing the intuitive way they worked together and their natural aptitude for the STEM curriculum was amazing.”