Students in the Charleston County School District are receiving real world STEM experiences outside the classroom for two full days a year at Camp Blackbaud on Daniel Island. Thanks to a partnership with Charleston Promise Neighborhood and the school district, students from participating schools attend a camp for middle school students which aims to get them out of the classroom and into a real world environment geared towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The camp began as a program focused on fifth grade software coding and programming and expanded last year to include a separate middle school camp focused on robotics.
One of the best things that middle school eighth grader Saniyah Rivers likes is the ability to learn about new topics.
“When I heard about [the camp] in my mini course in STEM at school and how good Blackbaud was, I knew I wanted to sign up,” said Rivers. “I really like learning about new things, like working with robots. I like working in groups, too… Oh and the glass elevator and the atrium in the building are amazing.”
According to Blackbaud Corporate Citizenship Coordinator Gabrielle Sanders the camp not only benefits students but also associates who serve as counselors.
“Through camp, our associates are not only able to pass their knowledge and expertise onto the next generation, but also give back to our community through skills-based volunteerism,” said Sanders.
“I think my favorite part is just seeing the kids get excited about something they haven’t done before,” said Blackbaud associate and counselor Courtney Grainger. “Coding is just becoming much more pervasive in regards to the school systems and this is really introducing them to concepts that they may have not had exposure to in their classrooms.”