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New grant helping Butler University create camps for youth

Butler BOOST will begin in Summer 2023
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Posted at 12:50 PM, Sep 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-04 12:50:38-04

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

Butler BOOST will provide infrastructure and support for multiple camps aimed at kids ages 5-18 that focus on technology career pathways.

"We at Butler believe in lifelong learning, and so learning is not just between September and May," Aaron Hurt, Butler's VP of Arts, Events and Enterprise Management, said. "Creating Butler BOOST helps us to create a centralization of all the camps on campus and also hopefully a one stop registration form.

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

"I think a lot of [the planning] was [for] the next generation's learners — what do they need to know, what's going to be the next up and coming thing?" Hurt said.

The three main camp formats are:

  • Explorer Camp (one-week day camp): Butler BOOST will feature access to day camps offered at Butler with technology-career pathways integrated throughout these one-week experiences. Participants will have the opportunity to pick from the following offerings: Pharmacy Camp; Health Sciences Camp; Butler Way Camp; Theatre Camp and Theatre and Technology Camp; Arts Camp 2.0; and Journalism, Sports Media, Drone Videography, Web Design & Development Camps. Scholarships will be available to 25 percent 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 across a four-week period, each summer Catapult is taught by a licensed Indiana computer science teacher. Participants develop technical skills, create authentic peer relationships, improve workplace readiness, create plans for postsecondary success, and build deep roots for a lifelong personal and professional connection to Indiana. Nextech has partnered with best-in-class community organizations and industry volunteers to facilitate a series of learning experiences to ensure all Catapult participants develop a strong foundation of skills needed to succeed in college, career and life. This four-week summer day camp will be free and held on Butler’s campus in summer 2023.
  • Residential Camp (one-week residential camp): Butler BOOST will also offer a one-week Residential Summer Camp (slated to start in June and July 2023) for targeted rising freshman through seniors. One hundred students will be targeted per camp, and scholarships covering 100% of the camp cost will be available to half of the participants. This Residential Camp will be designed so that students can experience college culture and life at Butler while being exposed to leadership, technology-related fields, and postsecondary educational support. Potential wrap-around services for students at Butler’s Residential Camp will include: identifying appropriate college programs at Butler related to their careers of interest; submitting college, scholarship, and financial aid applications; managing the social and emotional transition from high school to postsecondary life; and connecting students to Indiana’s postsecondary resources, including Ascend Indiana, TechPoint, Indy Achieves, and Indiana INTERNnet.

“Indiana has done a terrific job in recent years of attracting technology companies to the state,” Butler President James Danko said in a news release. “Unfortunately, many of those companies face talent-related obstacles because thousands of Hoosier youth lack access to opportunities for developing the skills necessary to succeed in tech jobs."

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