A Day at Camp

August 7, 2014

I am lucky to have a wealth of reminders in my day-to-day work about why I do what I do at Actua.

This week was no exception. For the first time, I sent my five-year-old daughter to science camp at our University of Ottawa network member, Adventures in Engineering and Science. Seeing my daughter in her Actua camp t-shirt and witnessing her enthusiasm to attend each morning stirred up some pride, I admit, both as CEO of Actua and as a mom. But what I really enjoyed each day was hearing her recount the stories of her experiences, and I could see through her eyes a refreshing perspective and reminder of what an Actua camp really means for a child.

On her very first day, she was in awe of the UOttawa campus. She relayed, in detail, her account of the facilities, the architecture, even the stream of summer students flowing through the halls.  She said, “Everyone thought we were real university students!”  I know how key these early positive experiences on university campuses are for youth, but it was especially poignant to hear the impact from my own child.

Today she spent the morning doing her first dissection (a chameleon) and this afternoon she visited the new maker-space to print on a 3D printer. She is five years old, and today she did what most of us didn’t get to do until high-school or even university!

Twenty years ago, I began with Actua as an instructor. I remember the eye-widening, jaw-dropping reaction of the campers as they experienced science in their own hands. That summer was transformational for me and sparked my personal passion to get science into the hands of all youth across the country.

Seeing this excitement in my daughter, and hearing about STEM through her point of view, confirms what I already knew to be true - that STEM absolutely builds bright futures for youth.

I can’t wait to hear her stories this afternoon.