Bringing virtual STEM activities to the Boys & Girls Club of America
April 12, 2021
April 12, 2021
Lynnwood and Seattle based engineers present interactive virtual STEM lessons to kids at the Alderwood Boys & Girls Club
The Boys & Girls Club of Snohomish County began in 1946 as the Boys Club Snohomish County. Designed to help young boys spend their idle time in constructive athletic and social activities, the Club had expanded to include over 400 female members by 1973. At that time, girls were able to purchase a Girl Activity Membership for $2.00 a year. By 1982, the name officially changed to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County, Washington, to reflect all Club members.
Eight years later, in 1990, the national organization changed their name to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Today, girls represent 45% of the Club’s total membership. Adding enrichment programs like InspireHer have helped to engage more girls and open their eyes to future career possibilities through mentoring, STEM workshops, art programs, life-skills experiences, and more.
Stantec has an ongoing relationship with the Alderwood Boys & Girls Club chapter. The Alderwood chapter serves a diverse population, helping local children achieve academic success, live healthy and active lifestyles, and develop good character and leadership skills. The Club is accessible to everyone—any young person, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or family income can join. After Stantec in the Community Week events in prior years, and a donation drive in 2020 (which saw Stantec employees sewing masks for kids and donating school, arts, and crafts supplies), it was an easy decision for Stantec to connect with the Club on a new initiative.
Over the past couple of months, the Stantec Lynwood and Seattle offices have partnered with the Club to put on virtual STEM activities. On a day-to-day basis, these offices provide electrical engineering, technology, and wireless consulting, audio/visual, acoustics, and lighting design services. Three of our talented engineers were excited to jump at the opportunity to be involved in these lessons.
Electrical designers, Tori Hoff and Caroline Kamm, and lighting designer, Megan Sudol, presented different virtual lessons for the kids—one of which was about currents and conductivity. They used squishy circuits with conductive and insulating playdough to understand how circuits work. The March STEM activity focused on gravity with a parachute egg drop and tallest self-made tower.
“The kids are so excited to work on the activities we have for them. Because of their excitement and inquisitive minds, they end up asking so many great questions,” Tori said, “the STEM lessons allow me to connect and give back to our community—and to share my knowledge and passion for STEM with the future generation.”
“The pandemic has taken away educational opportunities for many students, so being able to bring virtual STEM learning to the Club has been a great way for us to give back,” Megan said, “the kids bring so much enthusiasm and joy to each session; it’s been incredibly rewarding to be a part of this initiative.”
“These experiments that we design for the kids spark creative expression as well as scientific learning,” Caroline said, “this means that each kid, no matter their interests, can find STEM fun. It’s so important to me that every child can see that they have incredible potential.”
As part of each of the lessons, our engineers highlighted the numerous STEM careers that are out there and how fun science can be. As the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Stantec celebrated Women’s History Month, we are proud of the Club's history of inclusiveness and recognize all the girls who have helped to mold the organization.