Lewis and Clark Library’s new summer program is giving teens hands-on STEAM experience

This summer, the Lewis and Clark Library has launched a groundbreaking Tween STEAM program, captivating the interest of Helena’s youth with an array of unique and engaging activities ranging from crocheting and fish dissections to the cutting-edge world of virtual reality.

Emmon Rogers, the mastermind behind the library’s teen services, is enthusiastic about the potential impact of this program. “We’re aiming to ignite a passion in these kids; to help them discover something they love and want to delve into more deeply,” Rogers explained. The program kicked off at the start of June and has been a weekly beacon of creativity and learning.

STEAM— which stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math— serves as the foundation of this innovative program. It’s not just about fostering interest in these fields but also about developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are valuable in any career path. Rogers emphasizes, “It’s about equipping our youth with a toolkit of intellectual and practical skills that will serve them through many aspects of their lives, regardless of the career paths they choose.”

Diving into the world of virtual reality (VR) was a particularly exhilarating experience for the teens. Rogers highlighted the importance of providing access to technology that might be out of reach for many, due to cost or complexity, and making it approachable and enjoyable. “With guidance, these kids can explore new technologies in a supportive environment, easing any pressure and sparking a genuine interest in what VR has to offer,” said Rogers.

Collaboration with local organizations such as Montana Wild and 4-H enriches the Tween STEAM program, bringing a variety of perspectives and experiences to the table. “Our vision extends beyond the library walls. We’re weaving the rich tapestry of our community’s resources into our programming, ensuring each session is as enriching and beneficial as possible,” Rogers shared with excitement.

The program convenes every Tuesday from 2:00 to 3:30 PM in the library’s spacious meeting room and is scheduled to run until July 30th. It’s an opportunity for teenagers in Helena to immerse themselves in a world of discovery and innovation while making new friends and learning valuable skills.

For those interested in joining the Tween STEAN adventure, the library is open for inquiries and eager to share more about what the summer has in store. While this program is a highlight, the library boasts a myriad of other summer activities aimed at engaging young minds and fostering a love of learning.

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