A few weeks ago, we welcomed back the Boys & Girls Club of Snohomish County to our community. But both times, it was not just kids and chaperones who came for the afternoon – they had guests with them. These guests were not like normal guests… These guests are very obedient, very clean, and very, very robotic! The children of BGCSC are a part of a particular Lego Robotics Program – a program designed to show kids how exciting science, technology, engineering, and math can be. The children brought along little rovers that were programmed via computer, big boxes of various parts and gears for new robots being built, and a little SONY robotic dog! One of our main contacts at the club, Carla Fondrick, had this to say about the program, “Research and problem solving are integral parts of these fields and keys to success of any real-world engineering team. Originally, the Lego Robotics Program targeted four of our clubs and 200 of our most at-risk youth. Using the LEGO Mindstorm Robotics kits (a nationally validated curriculum which involves a hands-on, STEM curriculum), our youth, ages 6-15, learned various levels of coding and programming while creating customized, programmable robots. The success of the program has been so exciting as we surpass our original expectations due to the enthusiasm and interest of our members. Today, eight Clubs are running the Robotics Program with nearly 500 youth participating in structured, weekly robotics activities.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County has made it a priority to take action and continue to provide youth with access to a variety of interactive STEM initiatives, meeting the widely varying interests of the youth. The residents enjoyed not only interacting with the robots, and seeing how a 7 year old understands the mechanics and programming behind the small machines, but they also enjoyed just sitting and talking to these amazing kids. Most of the kids who benefit from Boys & Girls Clubs come from varying backgrounds, and most of them taught the residents a thing or two while they were here!