Western is offering four virtual summer day camps for kids this summer.
Mini-University, Discovery Western, Space Explorers and the Western Engineering Summer Academy are all taking their summer programs online for the second consecutive year. These camps will be offered to school-aged children throughout July and August.
Mini-University was launched by Western’s Indigenous Student Centre in 2006 to connect Indigenous youth aged 11 to 17 from across Turtle Island with mentors who are current Indigenous students.
The week-long programs will take participants through various workshops with interactive activities and cultural teachings. Program materials will be mailed directly to homes.
“Our goal is to provide Indigenous youth with a meaningful opportunity to meet new people, help foster positive cultural identity, and motivate youth to pursue post-secondary education pathways,” said Zeeta Lazore-Cayuga, community enhancement coordinator for the program.
“We’ve been lucky to have entire families attend and have seen youth participants cycle into the role of staff members,” she said. “Last year and this year it has felt like we owe it to our amazing community to continue to find a way to deliver the program in a virtual and accessible way.”
Although Discovery Western summer camps, part of the Faculty of Engineering’s outreach and recruitment unit, are online this year, campers will receive physical kits to get the full experience.
Students from senior kindergarten to Grade 8 will be offered a jam-packed schedule of educational activities and a science magic show at the end of each week.
Students in grades 9 to 12 can expand their knowledge of the different types of engineering and get a glimpse of what university life entails through the Western Engineering Summer Academy.
“We want camp to be the starting point for campers to see themselves in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) in the future as STEM careers cross into so many different fields and offer so many different opportunities for the future,” said Joanne Moniz, manager of engineering outreach programs.
Another camp making the best of the virtual format is Space Explorers run by Western’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration. The online format means the program can be expanded to every province and territory and engage francophone communities for the first time.
“Pushing ourselves to adapt to a remote setting has taught us many lessons about the importance of making outreach programs like summer camps accessible to all Canadians and, in turn, take a hard look at our accessibility for those with disabilities and those needing accommodations,” said Tabetha Sheppard, coordinator of the Western Space outreach program.
“This has resulted in changes and upgrades to our current curriculum to be adaptable and user-friendly, as well as offering French-language options to make attending our camp possible to every young Canadian.”
Partnering with the computer science department’s Bit By Bit, Space Explorers will offer technology- and space-related programs in both English and French. The program has been expanded to offer three-hour sessions over a total of eight weeks.
Students from grades 4 to 6 will get to explore the basics of planetary sciences through various hands-on activities and demonstrations. Those from grades 7 and 8 will engage in experiments and discussions led by faculty, postdoctoral and graduate students to learn about space science and technology in the Summer Academy program.
To learn more and to register for Space Explorers, Discovery Western and the Western Engineering Summer Academy, visit Western Summer Camps 2021.