This is the first year my 9 yr old daughter attended the YSC camp. One of our friends, an engineer, recommended our daughter attend the camp. My daughter participated in three weeks of full time classes. She loved every minute and most importantly was exposed to various genres of science ie physics, engineering, math, biology, etc. The teachers were able to inspire her and every day she explained in great detail the things she learned. One particular episode stands out; In her rocketry class there were 2 girls and 9 boys and they had a contest, boys against girls on whose rocket could fly the farthest. Each team had 4 attempts and my daughter's rocket won every time. She told me she felt the pressure as the other girls rocket didn't fly very far but she said "I can do this" and she did. Never in the 30 years of classes had a girls team won all four attempts! It taught her to not be afraid and to believe in oneself. As a professional in the science field, I am very pleased with the program, recommended it to several of my girl scout troop girls. We will participate in the program next year.
This is my 30th year teaching at the Youth Science Center in Hacienda Heights. I have to tell you that it is the most exciting and uplifting career enhancing organization I've ever been involved with. As an elementary school educator, you rarely get a chance to teach outside the core standards set by a district, so teaching for YSC releases creativity and deeper interest in many fields of science. I have been able to develop and teach classes that appeal to children- such as inventions, rocks and gems, tidepool animals, human body, toys in space, magnets, circus acrobatics, astronomy, weather instruments, and glow in the dark phenomena. Stimulating a child's curiosity is such a rewarding "AHA!" feeling. The support given to me by the administering staff is phenomenal!
The Youth Science Center in the San Gabriel Valley has fantastic scientifically literate enthusiasts on its board and in the community. My involvement was first as a mother of 3 boys 25 years ago - looking for a place to interest my sons in a science field. Through YSC classes, workshops, guest speakers and field trips, my sons went to college to learn more about a particular science field. The hands-on classes were so interesting that I soon became a active volunteer and then an elementary school science coordinator. I gained an appreciation of tidepool animals (pretty much outside our back door) and geology (rocks and minerals) and it influenced my personal teaching skills. All students attending classes learn what that particular scientist does in the real world so that they can pursue their passion as they grow.
I love working for the Youth Science Center. It is so awesome to see little children experience science by doing their projects. It is great to see the children grow and change over the years as they come back year after year for more classes and sometimes when they are too old to take classes they come back to volunteer for us.
The Youth Science Center gives children an opportunity to learn about science while having fun. Hands-on activities allow children to explore scientific principles at a level and pace that is meaningful for them. I have seen children who are reluctant to come to our classes at the beginning of the summer because they have had difficulties at their regular school. Sometimes these children find that they love science and their attitude about learning in general is transformed. Many of our students and student volunteers go on to major in the sciences in college. They tell us that their interest in science began with the Youth Science Center. One of my own sons is a PHd candidate in bio-physics.
I joined the board of this organization 3 years ago because of its reputation of providing top quality STEM education programs to the youth of the San Gabriel Valley. I have seen with my own eyes that the reputation is accurate. It was founded in 1962 and in the ensuing 50 years has developed an outstanding staff of quality instructors with a passion for science education. The current YSC board has developed a strategic plan to grow the organization so as to increase the availability of a quality science education throughout the valley, especially in the lower income areas.
The enthusiasm with which the organization presents science to young minds is catching. It is no wonder that those who are fortunate enough to be a part of the Youth Science Center's program go on to remarkable careers. It was very satisfying to see the wonder and the joy in the faces of the kids in a shopping mall as they interacted with the inventions and creatures that the YSC brings.
The YSC is a magical place for children of all ages. If you spend a few hours observing classes you will find quality teachers who love their work, eager students who are being turned on to the world of science, and a small dedicated staff of professionals who keep the program running. I was so impressed by what I recently saw that I eagerly accepted an invitation to join the YSC board and become a part of this fine educational effort. I wish such an opportunity existed when I was growing up.