Clubs & Burlington Library Partner in STEM Projects for Teens

DSC_0827The Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County were able to have an added presence in Burlington this year, thanks to a partnership with the Burlington Library and a grant from Tesoro Corp, focusing on STEM programs. Through this funding, the Club’s Director of STEM Initiatives, John Garman, tours all the Club sites, now including La Venture & Mount Baker Middle Schools, as well as the Burlington Public Library once a week— introducing teens to new, fun & engaging projects.

 The workshops at the library included topics such as: Engineering Bridges, Coding, Digital Photography, Dissecting the Tulip, and 3D Printing. Garman worked with Librarian, Jenny Fredriksen, to come up with and implement the topic for each week. 3D Printing was definitely a hit with the teens. One week’s workshop focused on the free online programs available, like Tinkercad and Sculptris, where teens can create 3D objects for printing or rendering for animation. The following week, the participants saw their creations come to fruition as they used the 3D printer. “As open source technology becomes more and more available, it’s our local youth that take the lead on designing, implementing, and ultimately furthering future technologies as they explore their own creations and applications,” says Garman. 

In its pilot year at the Burlington Public Library the program saw more than 30 youth participate, averaging 8-10 per week. The program was to provided to teens ages 13 to 18 with after school programming, at no cost, and included a free Boys & Girls Club membership. The library will continue to run a youth program through the summer and the Boys & Girls Club will be providing a week long STEM Camp at the Burlington School District building in August. As of now, the Boys & Girls Club and the Burlington Public Library are in discussions about continuing teen programs for the following school year. Until then, the Boys & Girls Club and the Burlington Public Library will continue to provide youth and teen programs as well as resources throughout the summer.

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