Local MPP Ross Romano joined Science North’s CEO Guy Labine and Deputy Mayor Sandra Hollingsworth on Friday morning to visit with youth who are participating in four of the Science North’s summer science camp programs in the Sault.
Science North has been hosting these summer science camps for over 30 years. In that time, they’ve reached 40,000 Northern Ontario children, aged four to 13, through these week-long summer programs. These camps, now reaching 36 Northern communities, are designed to spark an interest in science with a unique blend of hands-on and engaging activities, such as stop-motion clay animation, density testing, and beginner coding using robots.
Romano, whose children are participating in the science camp this year, said he thinks this is an important way to keep children engaged in the sciences and to get them thinking about potential careers in science and technology.
“It’s good to have our children looking at science as an opportunity for the future – it’s not only great for their own purposes individually, but also working together in groups, which is what they’re doing, so it’s developing teamwork skills, it’s developing an excitement for science and innovation and the whole technology area, and I think that’s great,” he said “That’s where the future is at, and we want to certainly inspire our youth and ignite a flame in them to want to pursue careers and backgrounds in the science, technology, engineering and math areas. So this is an excellent opportunity for the kids, something for them to do over the summer that is informative, educational and fun.”
This summer, the program in the Sault has the largest attendance yet, reaching 450 children over the course of the nine weeks of summer camps. This increase in numbers also helped create more jobs in the Sault, providing nine youth with summer employment.
Science North CEO Guy Labine said he thinks these camps are an integral way to educate children while keeping things fun.
“There’s also a role, I think, for organizations like Science North to engage in informal science learning, in maybe a bit more fun environment,” he explained. “I think if we can inspire kids at a very young age to be interested in science, to be interested in pursuing potentially a career in science or further education or appreciating the importance of science and the role of science in society. I think that’s an important part of why we do summer camps at Science North.”
Labine said a lot of the kids who start off in these summer camps end up going on to continue in a career in sciences, including working for Science North itself.
“There’s a lot of kids who’ve been in summer camps who become summer students working for Science North and become part of our regular workforce who go on to do other things with their science career,” he explained. “I think there are a lot of examples out there in the role that we’ve played – along with other partners – in inspiring kids to be interested in science.”