SAME E&C Camps: Immersing Students in STEM

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Three camps.

172 high school students.

More than 100 mentors and volunteers.

One mission: To inspire the next generation of America’s best and brightest to pursue a degree in engineering.

SAME E&C CampsEach summer, SAME’s Engineering & Construction Camps give rising high school seniors and juniors an unparalleled opportunity to spend a week eating, sleeping and breathing engineering—with hands-on teaching and mentorship from uniformed military engineers and A/E/C professionals. This year, three camps were held: the SAME/U.S. Army Engineering & Construction Camp (June 22-28 in Vicksburg, Miss.); the SAME/U.S. Marine Corps Camp (June 22-28 at Camp Lejeune, N.C.); and the SAME/U.S. Air Force Academy Camp (June 26-July 2 in Colorado Springs, Colo.).

SAME/USMC E&C CampA major focus of the SAME Strategic Plan is “developing future engineers through outreach and mentoring.” As SAME is first a military engineering organization, these camps provide tremendous synergy helping bridge the gap between the future engineering needs of the U.S. military and what is a widely known national shortage of students pursuing STEM-related careers. In other words, there are only so many youths in America expressing an interest in pursuing engineering. Engaging them in the dynamic world of military engineering and showing them the many opportunities they can have by matriculating at a service academy or through ROTC at another engineering college or university is a long-term win-win for the nation.SAME/USAFA E&C Camp 

The feedback from campers and their families drives this home:

…”My son was in Echo.  He came home last night and told us what an amazing program you guys put together.  He is super excited to go to the Academy now, and what a great opportunity to have seen it and experienced it in such a hands on way!”

…”Thank you so much for what you all did for the Engineering camp.  My son absolutely loved every single activity, class and project.  He was a part of the Delta group. He has told us everything about what he did and we are amazed at how much he learned.”

…”Thank you for putting together such an awesome camp.  I love learning engineering with hands-on projects.  I also appreciated being able to tour all of the engineering classrooms at the Air Force Academy as they have some amazing equipment.  After the camp, my mom and I also toured the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Colorado Boulder.  I am excited to be applying to both the Air Force and Naval Academies and AFROTC and NROTC.”

…”My son brought back knowledge from the camp that he would have never received anywhere else. It was educational and fun at the same time. Thanks again for taking the time to inspire this new generation of engineers.”

…”I really enjoyed the camp and hope I can come back to help when I’m older. It was incredibly well run! I am so thankful for everyone who took the time off to help make the camp run smoothly, it really meant the world to me. Again, I cannot reiterate enough how much I enjoyed the camp, thank you so much! Hooah!” 

…”I had a great time. It was a unique and exciting experience. I learned a lot about engineering, USAFA and engineering opportunities in the military.”

…”Thank you to all the folks who put this camp together, helped on site, and anyone who took part to make this happen. When I picked my son up from the airport, he spend the next two hours (until 3am) talking nonstop telling me stories about the SAME camp and the people he met. It was hilarious. He had a great time. It was an honor and a privilege for him to be granted this experience. Thanks to all!”

The 2014 SAME/U.S. Air Force Academy Camp hosted 96 campers from around the world. The Marine Corps Camp, which re-started this year after being cancelled in 2013 due to sequestration, had 36 campers. And the Army Camp in Mississippi had 40 campers. In past years, SAME and the U.S. Navy Seabees have also held a summer Engineering & Construction Camp at Port Hueneme, Calif., though not since 2012.

SAME/USMC E&C CampEach camp’s curriculum and activities are unique, as are the way the students are organized to give a specific connection to the camp location. For instance, campers at the Air Force Academy are organized into “Flights” while at the Marine Corps Camp, campers are part of “Squads” and get some basic training fun during their week on the base.

There were many highlights at this year’s camps, and some special guest stars, including U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Engineers, Maj. Gen. Todd Semonite, who met with the students at the Army Camp during breakfast one day.

SAME/U.S. Army E&C Camp

Many thanks to all the SAME Posts, SAME members and Sustaining Member companies who provided financial support to enable so many promising future engineers attend the camps. And sincere appreciation to all the mentors and volunteers who made the camps not just possible, but a rousing success once again! These camps require significant time, energy and resources. But the results are plenty worth it.

More information about the camps can be found at SAME’s STEM Initiates webpage. To get an inside look at the goings-on at each camp, visit their respective Facebook pages:

 

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