Girl Scouts, students now have access to STEAM mobile
Girl Scouts in York County interested science, technology, engineering, art and math need only hail the traveling STEAM mobile.
After officially launching Wednesday, April 24, the mobile programming SUV is available in York County for appearances by request during this year's pilot program — an expansion to the STEM mobiles, which travel throughout the 30 counties under regional council Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.
The STEM project has been so successful that "it's been astonishing," said council spokeswoman Amy Mountain.
Mountain said the expansion to arts reflects the thinking of educational and community groups, many of which now say art is an important part of the mix because it includes elements of STEM and facilitates self-expression.
She said the council's plan is to ultimately transition its three STEM mobiles to STEAM by fall 2019. Services would be provided to about 3,500 girls in York County and more than 17,500 Scouts in the region.
Girl Scout troops have been scheduling STEM mobiles to come to their troop meetings four days out of five and on the weekends, too — which is especially helpful for Scouts who meet in rural areas, where transportation is more challenging, Mountain said.
They don't have to go to a church, school or community center. "We can kind of adapt the curriculum based on where the group’s going to be," she said.
The first STEM mobile began making its rounds about two years ago — with only four curriculum components — and this year's pilot program will expand it to 18 components, including art.
The K-12 programming, offered at no cost to troops, includes activities from trained council program coordinators, such as programming for robots, model building with a virtual reality component and artistic projects using nature and educational studies on watersheds, to name a few.
Jenn Klimchock, who works with seventh- to ninth-grade Girl Scouts in Troop 20018, in York County's Service Unit 220, said the planned programming allows more time for relationships, and the hands-on projects are a hit.
"My girls love when they do the STEM program," Klimchock said.
Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania also partnered with Martin Library to offer York City students access to its mobile programming through the district's after-school program, in which students also become Girl Scout members, Mountain said.
Students in grades K-8 participate in a six- to eight-week STEM program, covering skills such as product design, urban planning, software engineering, architecture and fashion design, said library spokeswoman Deb Sullivan.
"It introduces career possibilities to the kids that they might not have ever thought of," she said.
Sullivan said about 35 girls at each of the district's elementary schools are involved in the program, for a total of 250 students. This year's program also will expand to STEAM.
"I’m so proud of my kids," said York City school board President Margie Orr, adding that Superintendent Eric Holmes worked hard to establish a STEAM academy in the district and that she's supportive of anything that challenges students to do better.