By Lindsay Ducharme
Janvier area youth were offered the opportunity of a lifetime August 12th-16th when ACTUA, a national charity with a mission of providing life changing experiences in science, engineering and technology, came to town offering a free day camp.
“Regardless of where they come from the youth will inspired to see their potential, ultimately to fulfill their role in the world,” said ACTUA senior director of partnerships and communications, Leslie Cuthbertson.
“What we are trying to do is provide experimental learning experiences for youth by exposing them to our model, which is a for youth by youth model, by engaging them in a wide variety of science, engineering and technology fields and exposing them to as many careers that are related to the fields.”
The camp in Janvier, as with most of ACTUA’s camps, was delivered by an undergraduate student studying the science and engineering fields. The incorporation of post-secondary student led camps is an important part of the organization’s “for youth by youth” mandate.
“They (the instructors) make great role models for the kids. What they do is give kids the opportunity to do activities that allow them to simulate real life scenarios – actually be an engineer or a researcher. By exposing them to the post secondary education through our undergraduate students instructors, kids get the opportunity to see their own potential, it’s a way to build self esteem, self confidence, it’s a way for them to understand the relevance of science and engineering in the real world and the world that they live in, it’s great for them to understand that they have an important role to play in the world.”
Those youth who participated in the camp got the chance to take part in activities such as designing and building their own working hydraulic powered construction machines; learning about the importance of protecting the brain and the ways the brain controls the human body, by crafting a helmet, much to the delight of one camper who exclaimed “I just engineered a helmet! “ Youth also participated in a tower building competition which had to be able to float on water. Campers learned that by distributing your weight evenly over a large surface you can even complete challenges like walking on eggshells.
If the success of the event can be measured in the enthusiasm of the youth who participated, the camp was an undeniable hit with one particularly excited camper begging “can’t we do one more activity?” at the completion of the camp.
The Janvier camp follows ACTUA’s initiative aimed directly at supporting aboriginal youth across the country through their National Aboriginal Outreach Program. “Through our whole national program we are able to reach 225,000 youth in 500 communities nation wide. As a subset of that we have a way of reaching aboriginal youth in a way that is community based, we do our best to involve community elders who help to bring their cultural experience and traditional knowledge to the kids. That approach enables us to reach 30,000 aboriginal youth every year across the country. Janvier is one of them, a very important one,” said Cuthbertson.
For more information on ACTUA, including their youth camps, visit their website at http://www.actua.ca/.