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STEM Summer Camps
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What is it?  

  • At Cochise College the Summer Camp is called, “Summer CampUS”

  • The Summer CampUS began in 2007, offering one paid camp to the Sierra Vista community — Technology Camp.  Parents in the community asked for more camps.  In 2008, seven camps opened centered around the STEM fields for children in grades 6—8. In 2011, the camps doubled to 20 targeting students in 4-10 grades with offerings in STEM and the creative arts or STEAM.  

  • Summer CampUS details:

    • Offered each summer in June & July (7 weeks)

    • Four-day camps, 4 hours each day

    • Tuition: $100 per student per camp (includes all materials)

    • Adult to child ratio is 1:6 at maximum

    • All of the camps are held on the Sierra Vista campus of Cochise College

    • Total budget comes from tuition (instructors, instructional aides, class materials, promotional materials)


How is it done?

  • One full time K-12 Outreach Specialist in the Cochise College K-12 Outreach Department develops and coordinates all functions of the Summer CampUS

  • College instructors/professionals develop and deliver HANDS-ON curriculum for a particular grade level and predetermined number of students

  • Each February, we hold an instructor’s meeting to discuss camps and plan schedules. Instructors are recruited throughout the year

  • Train future students with Summer CampUS opportunities; current college students instruct and aide at the camps http://www.cochise.edu/k12/summer-camps/

  • Flyers are created and delivered to every elementary, middle, and high school within a 25-mile radius of the college with a camp flyer for each child in grades 4-8, and 200 fliers are delivered to each high school

  • Parents register their children though the business office at the college/tuition is $100 per camp/camper

  • Enrollment is tallied weekly by the college business department and monitored by the K-12 Outreach Specialist until camps close at capacity

  • A physical mailing goes out to each family for each camp registered.  The mailing includes a Welcome Letter with camp details, instructor notifications, a campus map with room locations, and multi-media waivers

  • Most camps do not require prior knowledge and experience unless it is an advanced camp

  • Budget: The camps are self-sustaining and camps are closed if they can’t pay for themselves.


What are the results?

  • From 2010-2014, 200-300 students registered each summer across all camps.

  • Provides an opportunity for children in grades 4-8 to participate in a STEM or other college program before deciding their career/study path.

  • Creates an excitement to work on STEM HANDS-ON projects

  • Motivates students to pursue careers and studies within the STEM areas in school and beyond (Approximately 10 incoming freshmen students attending the 2013 Summer CampUS participated in the 2013-2014 STEM Exploration Academy the following fall)

  • In 2013 —students attend the camps from six U.S. states — New Mexico, Colorado, North Dakota, Alaska, Texas, and Arizona.

  • Students come to the college campus and work with college instructors within the college classrooms


What have we learned?

  • It is difficult to manage the amount of camps, processes involved, and daily problems and decisions that must be made/solved to be successful without the support of the college staff and other departments within the college

  • Hiring experienced instructors is a crucial element and most are able to deliver the same or similar camps the following years

  • Constantly recruiting instructors or professionals in the field provides the variety of skills and camps taught each year

  • Keeping the main focus on the STEM fields ensures solid attendance numbers

  • Many parents sign their children up for multiple camps

  • It is best to have the registration forms and monies handled by the Business Office

  • Having a website for the community to access info on the camps each year is very important

Private donations fund our operating budget, education and research efforts.

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