Kern County Summer Camp Helps Kids Have Fun While Learning About STEM

Edison International provided a $5,000 grant to the Frazier Mountain Boys & Girls Club in Kern County to help fund the camp.

April 25, 2014 | By Lauren Bartlett @SCE_LaurenB

Continuing to learn over the summer without being in school is a challenge parents face with their kids, but a grant from Edison International to the Frazier Mountain Boys & Girls Club in Kern County helps fund a summer camp there where students engage in activities without realizing they’re learning.

Think about hot days and kids looking for ways to stay cool. Last summer, kids creatively simulated a car wash using PVC pipe with holes drilled through it, and they got to stay cool by answering math questions while going through it to get wet.

“They have fun and don’t even realize they’re learning,” said Kristina Graves, the camp’s site coordinator.

The camp serves students from Kern County through high school. Edison International’s $5000 grant helps pay for field trips for all of the kids and program support for about 20 to cover supplies, snacks and meals. The program support for students is prioritized for working families. The company also provided a grant for last year’s summer camp.

Graves said that because of their location in the mountains between Valencia and Bakersfield, it is a long drive either way to the city.

“It’s huge for them to have something to do every day,” she said.

Enrollment for this summer’s camp opens the first week of May, and camp will start on June 9.

Graves said one of the most enjoyable activities for the kids last summer was the Santa Barbara Zoo. They were able to go into the animal kitchen and feed the giraffes.

Kids also took a bus ride to the California Science Center in Los Angeles and saw the space shuttle Endeavour.

This summer, Graves said they’re planning to take the kids back to the California Science Center and combine it with the Natural History Museum, which is on the same property.

To help the kids learn about engineering and math, the camp taught a NASA summer innovation program. NASA provided the camp with the curriculum to teach kids in innovative ways.

Arlo Cox, 10, said he enjoyed the NASA space camp activities they had last summer.

“We made towers out of straws. We also made a ship going from the earth to the moon,” Cox said. “We had to make a moon rover — a cylinder that rolled around and put people in it ... I learned what it was like to be a rover.”

Nathanael Kimbrough, 10, said he enjoyed the trip to the zoo and had fun feeding the giraffes. The zoo puts the kids up on a pedestal so they are the same height as the giraffes.

“You stick out your hand with lettuce,” he said. “It felt yucky.”

Topics: People