The Rapidian

At Camp Blodgett, the world is a classroom

Camp Blodgett takes Grand Rapids-area middle school students into the natural environment to help them discover a passion for STEM subjects.
Middle school students learning about native plants on a nature hike at Camp Blodgett.

Middle school students learning about native plants on a nature hike at Camp Blodgett. /Camp Blodgett

Dr. Keli Christopher designed the STEM Academy curriculum for Camp Blodgett.

Dr. Keli Christopher designed the STEM Academy curriculum for Camp Blodgett. /Camp Blodgett

How do you instill a love of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) into middle schoolers, especially those who come from difficult backgrounds and under-resourced schools in and around Grand Rapids? Camp Blodgett’s answer: Take them outside.

The STEM Academy at Camp Blodgett is a one-of-a-kind program that combines academic coaching with a summer camp experience on the coast of Lake Michigan. The curriculum, designed by Dr. Keli Christopher, a Ph.D. in agricultural engineering, helps students build their confidence in a wide range of STEM subjects from biology to robotics.

“The curriculum that I’ve designed for Camp Blodgett – it’s really fun,” Christopher says. “You get to take advantage of the natural setting that they get to experience, and I don’t often have that opportunity in a normal school building.”

The STEM Academy receives funding from Heart of West Michigan United Way. It’s part of United Way’s focus on middle school STEM education.

“It makes me feel very proud to reach the kids that we’ve been able to reach with United Way’s capacity support. We would have not been able to grow to this number if it weren’t for United Way’s support,” says Lucy Dyer Joswick, executive director of Camp Blodgett.

“The wonderful part about United Way is that it’s all of us. It is not just folks making decisions in a board room. It is really all of us that are contributing to this campaign,” Joswick says.

“Without [United Way donors] we wouldn’t have all of this.”

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.

Browse