Download 1NEW ORLEANS (press release)  In an effort to combat summer learning loss amid the COVID-19 pandemic, STEM NOLA and Chevron have partnered with UBTECH, a global leader in robotics, to bring Camp: ASPIRE (At-Home Summer Programs IRobotics and Engineering) to children, ages 8-16, in the New Orleans area and beyond. Developed in partnership with the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice, a global initiative dedicated to preparing youth through high-quality STEM education, Camp: ASPIRE is a virtual robotics camp with supplies and expert instructions delivered to campers’ homes.

“Our hope is that every one of the campers will close out the summer with a passion for STEM,” said Public Affairs Manager for Chevron’s Gulf of Mexico Business Unit, Leah Brown. “Due to COVID-19, we are facing even more challenges in making sure that young men and women are not falling behind due to summer learning loss. We are proud to work with STEM NOLA and UBTECH to overcome those challenges and make a difference in the lives of local kids.”

Sessions will begin on June 15 and will run each week until Aug. 24. In each 5-day camp, small, interactive groups will receive 10 hours of live virtual instruction by accredited STEM educators via conference. Campers will also receive a UKIT robotics building kit that includes servos, connectors, a main control box, and 300-500+ pieces, all of which they can keep and continue building with after the class ends. In addition to the live virtual instruction, Camp: ASPIRE will provide 10+ hours of self-guided activities to keep the kids’ creativity flowing throughout the week.

While enrollment is open to all kids ages 8-16, Chevron is funding 175 full scholarships. Children affiliated with New Orleans organizations Son of a Saint and Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana will receive first priority.

“We are so excited to be able to offer Camp: ASPIRE at a time when meaningful learning opportunities for children have been curtailed,” said Calvin Mackie, director and founder of STEM NOLA. “Special thanks to Chevron for their generosity. Because of their donation, kids that might not have this opportunity otherwise, will be immersed in activities that will challenge their imaginations and equip them with practical skills for the future.”

It is the shared belief of both UBTECH, the STEM Learning Ecosystems and TIES – the founder and facilitator of the STEM Learning Ecosystems – that every child should have access to the STEM education they need for a brighter future. For this reason, a portion of revenue from Camp: ASPIRE registrations sold through STEM NOLA, will be returned to the New Orleans community, providing valuable funding for future learning initiatives. On a larger scale, up to 10 percent of revenue from Camp: ASPIRE, with a minimum of $100,000, will be directly reinvested into communities as scholarships awarded to students across the country, for whom a summer robotics program would otherwise be out of reach.

For full class descriptions, pricing, availability and registration, visit stemecosystems.org/camp-aspire.