This is a paid piece from the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

Simplified: A one-day camp from the Sioux Falls Development Foundation and Forward Sioux Falls will help middle schoolers see all of the ways what they're learning in school could translate to a future career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Here's what you need to know about "Your Future STEM."

Why it matters

  • By the time kids leave middle school, their academic path is largely already set. That's why it's so important to make sure kids are exposed to different career paths, experiences and project-based learning before they choose their high school classes.
  • The Your Future STEM day camp will take place at Augustana University, and kids will get to do hands-on projects. They'll also get to tour a local business with a specific tie to STEM fields – for example, Daktronics, Sanford, Avera, the airport and more.
  • Exposing young kids to STEM experiences can also help them see themselves in career fields they may not have otherwise considered. It breaks down barriers, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Foundation.
"The more we can do to expose these kids to STEM and give them different experiential learning opportunities, it helps them identify their strengths," Guzzetta said. "It helps them find those areas that they like, and it keeps them excited about school."

Tell me more about the camp

The summer camp is an extension of the Your Future STEM work the Foundation has been bringing to middle schools since 2019.

  • Both the camp and the in-school experiences focus on bringing hands-on, project-based learning to give kids a chance to really see what different STEM fields are like.

Your Future STEM has three basic goals:

  1. Expand students' horizons. Middle schoolers often don't know all of the future jobs that might be available to them. This program and camp help them take what they're interested in and find ways they could pursue that as a career.
  2. Help with basic skills. The projects in Your Future STEM mirror the content kids are learning in schools to give them practice on the basics like math and science.
  3. Help with soft skills. Kids have to learn how to work together in a group. Then, they have to present what they've learned and take feedback on their findings.
"We don't tell them how to get to the end of the project," Guzzetta said. "We let them figure out the steps, who to put in what roles and how to work together as a team."

How do I get signed up?

The camp will take place on both Wednesday, June 26 and Thursday, June 27. The camp is for students who will be entering sixth through eighth grades in fall 2024.

  • The content and activities are the same on each day, so students are asked to only register for one of the two days to make sure the program can reach the most kids possible.

Camp runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it's free to attend.

Registration is open now.