Please take a minute to grab your coffee, relax, and enjoy learning about all the good the Aspen Science Center is bringing to the Roaring Fork Valley.
Following a 15-month hiatus due to COVID restrictions, the Aspen Science Center (ASC) officially re-launched public programming in 2021! It was wonderful to once again be conducting fun, hands-on STEM activities with hundreds of Valley residents and seasonal guests.
Early STEM Fills Essential Need in the Roaring Fork Valley
With the on-going challenges of COVID-driven remote learning, and working parents’ need for quality daycare, the ASC’s Early STEM program provided valuable resources for preschool age youth and their families. In late 2020 the ASC launched an innovative Take-Home Activity Packet delivery program targeting daycare centers and preschools from Aspen to Rifle. Each week the ASC delivered pre-packaged, individualized, hands-on activity packets complete with a small object like a rubber ball, or a plastic cup and dropper, along with instruction cards in both English and Spanish. By the first two months of 2021 ASC had delivered more than 2,000 packets to 35 different locations throughout the Valley!
As Summer approached, and more adults returned to in-person work, families were desperate to find daytime programming for their preschool age children. To help address this need, the ASC launched a series of half-day Early STEM Camps, which was a first for the Valley, resulting in dozens of children ages 3-5 getting early exposure to the fun and excitement of science and engineering. Many of these programs were offered at the ASC’s Discovery Center at the Third Street Center in Carbondale, a convenient mid-Valley location for working families. These essential preschool education programs were made possible through the generous support of a few key donors. Sustaining and expanding these services to meet current and future demand will require additional investment, and the ASC is seeking additional donor contributions for these innovative and popular Early STEM programs.
2021 Intern Educators Provided Energy & Expertise for ASC Program Re-Launch
One of the ASC’s signature programs over the years has been recruiting a team of energetic Intern Educators to assist with summer program development and delivery. In 2021, we were once again able to attract a terrific cohort of college and high school talent. Sponsoring one or more Intern Educators (at $5,000 each) is an excellent way to support the science and educational aspirations of these young Valley residents, while also helping staff the ASC’s full roster of youth, family, and adult programming.
ASC Re-launches Public Programming in Summer 2021
Exercising an abundance of caution as COVID restrictions eased, the ASC re-launched its public programming in Summer 2021 with a full roster of youth and family offerings. ASC offered 9 different sessions of week-long Day Camps, including half-day sessions for 3–5-year-olds, and full-day sessions for elementary and middle school age youth. Themed topics ranged from Chemistry for the preschool camps to Robotics and Rocketry for the older youth. ASC donors wanting to ensure any child in the Valley can attend an ASC camp should consider contributing to the ASC’s scholarship fund. For as little as $100, a child in need can benefit!In 2021 the ASC significantly expanded its Valley-wide presence and impact by partnering with public libraries. Seven different programs and events were delivered from Parachute to Aspen, many of them utilizing bilingual English/Spanish language materials from a nationally recognized program called Family Science & Engineering. Donor and sponsor underwriting for these Valley-wide programs allows the ASC to partner with the public libraries that offer the experiences free-of-charge to their local communities, increasing both access and impact. Beginning this Fall at 8 different community libraries, including Parachute, Rifle, Silt, New Castle, Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Basalt, and Aspen will be participating.
Another popular program this Summer was the ASC’s Family STEM Events. These events were designed specifically to foster adult/child interaction and collaboration. Program activities encourage parents and children to work together to explore, discover and solve engineering design challenges.
The ASC would like to provide these events year-around, partnering with libraries, schools, and other community service organizations. With a contribution of $1,500, an ASC private donor, foundation, or local business can underwrite one of these events in their community.
This summer the ASC was both a regular and popular attraction at Valley community markets and fairs. For seven Saturdays the ASC had a great corner booth at the Aspen Saturday Market, and the Carbondale Farmers Market and Mountain Fair provided additional public exposure and community engagement.
None of these endeavors would be possible without the generous support of our donors, a few of whom have pledged multi-year contributions to advance the ASC’s mission and vision. And, while program-specific donations are great, unrestricted gifts to the ASC are terrific and always welcome.
Please, make a contribution to the Aspen Science Center today! You can do so by [Donating Here link], going to the ASC website www.aspensciencecenter.org, or mailing a check to Aspen Science Center, 520 South Third Street, Carbondale, CO 81623. Thanks, and have a wonderful holiday season!