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Extension, 4-H offer STEM camp

More than 250 students from Franklin County Schools gathered Monday at the Ralph C. Bishop for a STEM day camp through the Franklin County Extension and 4-H, as part of the T.R.A.C.K.S. summer program.

“The Extension really is about having face-to-face interaction, so we were very excited to be able to get these students out here today,” said Franklin County Extension Director Katernia Cole-Coffey. “We loved getting to see how excited the students were about being involved with science.”

Throughout the day, students moved through various stations to learn about everything from robots and coding to virtual reality, colors and fitness.

“The kids have had a lot of fun working with everything,” said Urban 4-H Youth Development Agent Jay Townsend. “The best part about doing things in person is we are able to see the look on their faces and how much they are enjoying learning.”

Cole-Coffey said each year the Extension tries to do a large program like this during the summer.

This is the first event with so many in attendance the Extension has been able to offer since COVID-19 began.

“When COVID-19 hit, we really had to dial things back and move a lot of things to virtual, so we are excited to be back working hands on now,” Cole-Coffey said.

Townsend said students were able to get a taste of several science activities, but he will expand on them more in the coming weeks as he begins traveling to each individual site and working with students.

Townsend said they originally hoped to offer a station where students could build and launch rockets as part of the day camp, but that had to be canceled because of the weather. Instead, Townsend will be doing this activity with students when he visits each site.

“It has just really been a good time today,” Townsend said. “I even have my own kids here to experience all the fun, so it has been great getting to see all of students interacting and learning together.”

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