New grant helps Butler University create youth camps

INDIANAPOLIS — Butler University is using a new $907,993 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to create new camps, bolster current ones and provide scholarships for young people.

Butler BOOST will provide infrastructure and support for several camps for kids ages 5-18 that focus on career paths in technology.

“At Butler, we believe in lifelong learning, and so learning doesn’t just happen between September and May,” said Aaron Hurt, vice president of arts, events and management. company at Butler. “The creation of Butler BOOST helps us create centralization of all camps on campus and hopefully a single registration form.

The university hopes the programs will help those who attend envision a future for themselves in college.

“I think a lot of [the planning] has been [for] next generation learners – what do they need to know, what’s next?” Hurt said.

The three main camp formats are:

  • Explorer Camp (week-long day camp): Butler BOOST will provide access to day camps offered at Butler with integrated technology career paths throughout these week-long experiences. Participants will have the opportunity to choose from the following offerings: pharmacy camp; Health Sciences Camp; Butler Way Camp; Camp Theater and Camp Theater and Technology; Art camp 2.0; and journalism, sports media, drone videography, web design and development camps. Scholarships will be available for 25% of participants.
  • Catapult Camp (four-week day camp in partnership with Nextech): Catapult is a fully immersive computer science program for all high school students in Marion County and the Evansville area who aspire to a career in technology. Taking place over a four-week period, each summer, Catapult is taught by a licensed Indiana computer science teacher. Participants develop technical skills, create authentic relationships with their peers, improve their job readiness, create plans for post-secondary success, and establish deep roots for a lifelong personal and professional connection to Indiana. Nextech has partnered with the industry’s top community and volunteer organizations to facilitate a series of learning experiences to ensure that all Catapult participants develop a solid foundation of skills needed to succeed in college, in their career and in life. This four-week summer day camp will be free and will be held on the Butler campus in the summer of 2023.
  • Residential Camp (one-week residential camp): Butler BOOST will also offer a one-week residential summer camp (expected to begin in June and July 2023) for targeted freshmen through seniors. One hundred students will be targeted per camp and scholarships covering 100% of the cost of the camp will be offered to half of the participants. This residential camp will be designed for students to experience college culture and life at Butler while being exposed to leadership, technology-related fields, and post-secondary education support. Potential additional services for Butler residential camp students will include: identifying appropriate college programs at Butler related to their careers of interest; submit college, scholarship, and financial aid applications; managing the social and emotional transition from high school to post-secondary life; and connect students to Indiana post-secondary resources, including Ascend Indiana, TechPoint, Indy Achieves, and Indiana INTERNnet.

“Indiana has done a tremendous job in recent years attracting technology companies to the state,” Butler Chairman James Danko said in a press release. “Unfortunately, many of these companies face talent barriers as thousands of young Hoosiers are missing out on opportunities to develop the skills needed to succeed in tech jobs.”

Hurt says several of the camps will start in 2023 and Butler BOOST will be full-scale by 2025.

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