Camp Fire Central Oregon and High Desert Museum selected as one of the Central Oregon STEM Beyond School Project sites.
STEM offers science, technology, engineering and math programming for underserved youth.
Bend, Ore ⎯ Camp Fire Central Oregon, a local organization that provides co-ed programs for our youth to find their spark and ensure they gain the skills necessary to thrive throughout their lives and the High Desert Museum have been selected by the Central Oregon STEM Hub to create STEM learning opportunities in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson Counties.
In today’s rapidly changing world, all youth deserve the opportunity to participate in engaging, interactive and fun experiences related to science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM. The STEM Beyond School Statewide project (SBS) seeks to increase after school hours STEM programming for underserved youth by cultivating a vibrant and engaged collaborative network. Led by OSU Extension Service and Portland Metro STEM Partnership, and in partnership with the Central Oregon STEM Hub, together, they work to expand existing STEM programming and grow new STEM learning opportunities outside traditional school settings. Program sites of the SBS project are formed as part of a Community of Practice, where they will share curricular resources, receive coaching and professional development, and support project assessment and evaluation efforts to demonstrate the importance of STEM learning in non-traditional learning environments.
Oregon’s high school graduation rate of 69% ranks 49th nationally (National Center for Education Statistics). In the Bend-La Pine School District, economically disadvantaged students have a graduation rate of 68%. These students are unprepared for 21st century jobs, leaving an achievement gap that perpetuates a cycle of poverty. These students need high-quality STEM learning opportunities. Informal learning experiences are vital to achieving this goal. Studies complied by the Children, Youth and Environments Center for Community Engagement found that students who were engaged in informal learning in nature or at museums had higher standardized test scores in science, reading and writing; improved overall academic performance; increased pride in their accomplishments; and more advanced critical thinking skills. Many underserved students are not receiving these opportunities.
Together Camp Fire Central Oregon and the High Desert Museum will receive $28,000 to create STEM learning opportunities for a targeted group of 30+ students and will collaborate with the Central Oregon STEM Hub and other regional partners to implement the STEM Beyond School program in the Central Oregon region.
“Through the partnership with Camp Fire Central Oregon, we will engage students in activities from four established after-school clubs in some of the most economically disadvantaged schools in the region,” said Christina Cid, Director of Programs at the High Desert Museum.“ We will serve fourth and fifth grade students at Title I schools in Central Oregon, including Bear Creek, R.E. Jewell, Juniper, and Silver Rail,” said Cid.
The program will be divided between after school programs offered on school grounds and no-school day camps that will be located at several sites in Central Oregon, including the High Desert Museum.
“Camp Fire has been providing educational opportunities to underserved students in Central Oregon for 100 years,” say Kecia Kubota, Executive Director for Camp Fire Central Oregon. “Currently, we have more than ten established after-school clubs and through this program, participating students will gain vital STEM skills, explore STEM careers, and develop confidence and leadership skills,” says Kubota.
Founded in 1910, the national organization Camp Fire has actively engaged youth and teens in building essential skills for life. Camp Fire Central Oregon has been a co-ed youth development organization since 1975 that provides out-of-school time, teen service and leadership, camp and environmental programs. Young people want to shape the world. Camp Fire provides the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are.
Through exhibits, wildlife and living history, the High Desert Museum creates learning experiences to help audiences discover their connection to the past, their role in the present and their responsibility to the future. The Museum is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that was founded in 1982.