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Geering Up Community Builders

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The Foundation team at our Yaletown branch supports Geering Up UBC Engineering and Science for Kids, a non-profit organization that encourages youth to consider careers in science engineering and technology by exposing them to fun and exciting activities.

On August 10, 2016, Urban Systems staff members Sarah Freigang, Celine Au and Stephanie Tan paid a morning visit to Community Builders, a specialty camp program for high school girls who get a chance to focus on solving real-world problems.

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“We gave an introduction on what planning and engineering is,” says Stephanie, who has facilitated for Geering Up for three years now. “We spoke about what we do in our respective professions before leading the class in the planning game.”

The planning game is a simplified version of an activity the planners use as part of community engagements. Each of three groups were given a drawing of a fictional parcel of land with mountains, a waterfront and a river running through it. They were given picture representations of typical city infrastructure, such as city hall, roads, schools, playgrounds and office buildings.

“The students used the pictures or drew things they felt should be part of their community, such as a zip line,” Stephanie continues. “While the students developed their communities, we assisted by asking them to consider things like: what is the main attraction? What would make someone want to live in your community? Is your community going to have a central business hub or will homes and businesses be spread out? Will residents solely rely on cars as part of their daily transportation or will your community have a subway or a bike/trail network?”

2016-08-10 Geering Up DSCN1054 WPStudents from grades 8 to 11 had about an hour to develop and name their community, followed by a presentation to the class.

“It was fun to see their creativity,” shares Stephanie. “Each group came up with a unique city that drew upon what they saw as important characteristics of their ideal community.”

Camp leaders are experienced university students who come up with the camp’s curriculum. Their aim is to make science compelling and enjoyable to youth.

“Geering Up is a great program,” says Stephanie. “Based on the thank-you cards we have received from the students we have sponsored, the students really enjoy their experience at camp. As an engineer, I think it’s great that they get kids excited about science and engineering. Hopefully it encourages a few of their campers to consider a career in a STEM [science, technology, engineering, math] field in the future.”

Watch the Community Builders video and hear more from our staff at this event.

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