Camp Blackbaud provides real-world STEM experience for students
Twice a year, students from participating schools in the Charleston County School District travel to Daniel Island for two days full of technology and innovation at Camp Blackbaud.
In partnership with the school district and Charleston Promise Neighborhood, a local nonprofit that works with schools, parents and community members, specifically those located within the county’s poorest areas, hosts a camp geared towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for fifth and sixth graders. The program aims to get students out of the classroom and into a real-world working environment.
The camp, which began as a program for fifth graders that focused on software programming and coding, expanded to include a separate camp for middle school students with a focus in robotics last year.
On Oct. 24 and 25, Blackbaud associates led 20 seventh and eighth grade students from Simmons Pinckney Middle School and James Simons Middle School on an exciting two-day experiential learning initiative where they studied the basics of robotics and even got the chance to build and present their own robot prototypes.
James Simmons Middle School eighth grader Saniyah Rivers explained that her favorite aspect of Camp Blackbaud was being able to learn about new topics.
“When I heard about [the camp] in my mini course in STEM at school and how good Blackbaud was, I knew I wanted to sign up,” said Rivers. “I really like learning about new things, like working with robots. I like working in groups, too… Oh and the glass elevator and the atrium in the building are amazing.”
Not only does the camp benefit the students, but the associates who serve as counselors as well, according to Corporate Citizenship Coordinator for Blackbaud Gabrielle Sanders.
“Through camp, our associates are not only able to pass their knowledge and expertise onto the next generation, but also give back to our community through skills-based volunteerism,” said Sanders.
Blackbaud associate and counselor Courtney Grainger, who has volunteered with the camp for several years, stated that she enjoys seeing the students’ eagerness to learn.
“I think my favorite part is just seeing the kids get excited about something they haven’t done before,” said Grainger. “Coding is just becoming much more pervasive in regards to the school systems and this is really introducing them to concepts that they may have not had exposure to in their classrooms.”
Like Grainger, Blackbaud associate and counselor Sam Hosig explained that seeing the excitement in students when they learn something new makes volunteering at each camp worth it.
“Just seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces when they get a concept that is, maybe, new to them is great,” said Hosig. “Working here day after day can become repetitive sometimes, but when we get these young kids who are excited to be out of school and some place new and learning, it makes the job fun and the volunteering worth it.”
For more information about Camp Blackbaud, email Blackbaud Public Relations Manager Nicole McGougan at firstname.lastname@example.org.