This is a guest post from SCFG parent, Ellen Barnett. If you’d like to share your perspective about how Science Club for Girls has played a role in your daughter’s life, please write us at media [at] sciencelubforgirls. org
The fun of having a child is watching the seedlings of interest you saw from his or her first days take on new dimensions. Like a painting that starts with one stroke, we can only stand back with interest, supplying the paints, maybe throwing in an opinion here and there. And suddenly you begin to see the image taking shape, the composite of the work more defined.
As soon as she could walk, my daughter Avery began to show her spark for science and engineering. Which meant that every errant, discarded, and collected piece of cardboard was stashed in her room for a ‘project’, rolls of tape were blown through sometimes daily, and as soon as she was old enough to staple we suddenly needed four. Her room was filled with mini microscopes, and chemistry experiments she cooked up and left for the next time. Hard to clean around, but fun to watch.
At school, though, picking up bugs and building contraptions with cardboard begged and borrowed from your teachers doesn’t seem to go over well with the elementary school girl set. So I watched my energetic, smiling bundle of ideas slowly, over time, feel awkward, uncomfortable – the “other” from the rest of the group.
Turning things around
This is where Science Club for Girls comes in. Since those first moments of “otherness”, no matter what school, club or sport Avery became a part of, she couldn’t really feel she fit. With Science Club for Girls’ vacation week program, it seems they had her from ‘hello’.
Welcomed by “mentor-scientists” from nearby colleges and grad schools, girls ran into the room, and hunkered down into projects. 2 ½ hours later they would be still fully absorbed, working together on small groups, making stuff happen. No girl drama, no boredom – these girls were laughing and learning with the young women around them. There were teenagers that girls like Avery could look to with interest, ask about science. There were older girls who were more fully vested in their path. And there were women, including the staff, who had gone even farther.
Avery found her voice and her freedom. She found a place to relax, engage and enjoy, the learning secondary to the situation.
I want her to be a part of it straight through her life. She’s now a STEMinista (love that name) and will move onward through their club structure, mentoring the younger while learning from the more established, and with luck, into college.
Science Club for Girls changed everything for my daughter. Her confidence built, her motivation grew, her interest started to really take shape – and her room? Blessedly free of found project supplies – they’ve found a new home.
If accumulating cardboard is also a feature at your house, consider encouraging your young engineer and inventor to participate in the Global Cardboard Challenge, culminating on October 11, which is also the Day of the Girl.