WARSAW — The Baker Youth Club has launched two new programs, the STEM Activity Center and an art studio. This launch, combined with the October launch of the ExerGame Room, completes a year-long initiative to offer the kids at BYC additional programming.
The STEM Center and new art studio offer unique opportunities for children with different passions. The creation of the STEM Activity Center grew from a desire to bring exploratory project-based experiences to club members in the rapidly growing fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“We are excited to provide a dedicated space for our club members to develop skills they need in school and in life: collaboration, creativity and critical thinking,” said Tracy Furnivall, BYC director.
Support from local community partners, Dekko Foundation, Network Partners, Warsaw Metal, KREMC, and Warsaw Community Schools, and Grace College School of Education, made the STEM Center a reality. Partnering with local organizations has allowed BYC to provide opportunities to its members that just would not be possible otherwise.
“We are extremely fortunate to be in a STEM-rich, partnering community,” shared Christine Bonifield of Network Partners and part of the BYC STEM leadership team. “BYC is looking for continued support from the community as it looks to expand the offerings in the STEM Activity Center.”
BYC is looking for additional corporate partners.
“This community has many businesses utilizing STEM principles. It just makes sense for us to develop relationships as we motivate our kids to become excited about STEM fields of study. Our goal is to develop activities related to area businesses that will benefit the local job force and our club members in their future career paths,” said Furnivall.
The STEM Activity Center offers an aquaponics station. Members will learn how to create an ecosystem friendly to plants and aquatic animals. A 50-foot-long LEGO wall is where building and engineering principles are discovered.
A 50-foot ball wall teaches principles of physics, such as slopes and velocity. A gear wall teaches mechanical relationships and principles. In addition, more than 200 discovery tubs with independent learning activities, created in cooperation with Grace College students, contain child-friendly, guided activities. This allows club members to learn specific aspects of STEM principles.
The new art studio is an engaging space for club members to unleash their creative streak.
“Opening an art studio at BYC has been one of our dreams. We want to engage our members by providing opportunities to experiment with different art techniques, while developing their fine motor skills,” said board member and Grace College Professor, Dr. Rachael Hoffert.
The art studio exposes BYC members to canvas painting, dump pour painting, sketching, 3-D crafts, color usage and a variety of other creative projects. These concepts were developed by Calyn Howell, an art major at Grace College. She has developed age-appropriate projects that will bring out the creative side of the young members of BYC. She will offer holiday take-home crafts that will allow the BYC kids to create personal gifts to give to loved ones.
If STEM is a young person’s passion, BYC has them covered, said Furnivall, adding, “If creativity is their interest, BYC has an outlet for them as well.”
“But even more exciting is, they don’t have to choose, they can do both. BYC is focused on learning, while having fun, keeping young people interested in fun activities, while teaching them important concepts in art, science, technology, engineering and math,” he said.
For more information, call BYC at (574) 267-8771.