Bladen County 4-H giving off STEAM this summer

By: Chrysta Carroll - Bladen Journal

ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County 4-H is charging full STEAM Ahead this summer.

“We’re really excited about what we have planned this year,” said Stacie Kinlaw, N.C. Cooperative Extension agent in charge of youth development. “This is brand new.”

In the past, 4-H has offered STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) day camps to the residents of Bladen County and surrounding areas, but there were fees involved.

“People with limited resources aren’t always able to come, whether it’s because they don’t have transportation or can’t afford the fees,” Kinlaw explained. “I had a vision to take 4-H to the community, to get our program out to limited resource populations.”

Having worked with Bladen County Schools nutrition staff previously, Kinlaw contacted the central office about teaming up this summer to present some programs and activities that would be available to everyone. The extension agent also applied for and received an Innovative Program Grant funded by A&T State University.

A&T’s funds will be used to take STEAM activities into several Bladen County communities. With the exception of the week of July 4, Full STEAM Ahead activities will be held June 25-August 3. The first week will be devoted to chemistry, the second to biology, the third to engineering and design, the fourth to animal science, and the fifth to robotics.

Activities will be held Tuesdays at Bladenboro Middle School, Wednesays at West Bladen High School, and Thursdays at Elizabethtown Middle School.

“People only need to come once a week, because we’ll be doing the same activities at each site throughout any given week,” Kinlaw explained.

There is no charge for participation, nor is advanced registration required.

The STEAM activities are open to any school-aged child, and they will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in conjunction with Bladen County Schools’ summer feeding program.

“Any school-age child who comes to the cafeteria to eat is able to participate,” remarked Kinlaw.

She added, “I’m really excited that we’re able to take this on the road and make it affordable to everyone.”

For additional information, Kinlaw may be contacted by calling 910-862-4591 or by emailing stacie_kinlaw@ncsu.edu.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing ccarroll@bladenjournal.com.

Chrysta Carroll

Bladen Journal