SCI-FI summer camps host over 1,600 children each year. Photo submitted by USask SciFi Camps
SCI-FI summer camps host over 1,600 children each year. Photo submitted by USask SciFi Camps

K+S Potash Canada invests in Saskatchewan youth through USask SCI-FI Camps

A generous gift of $150,000 from K+S Potash Canada (KSPC) will allow SCI-FI Science Camps to continue to offer free programming to Saskatchewan youth interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Maureen Bourke, director of SCI-FI Science Camps at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) College of Engineering, said the donation is critical to its mission of providing all Saskatchewan youth with a chance to explore different areas of science and digital skills in a fun and supportive environment.

SCI-FI summer camps run weekly for eight weeks in July and August on the USask campus. Photo submitted by USask SciFi Camps
SCI-FI summer camps run weekly for eight weeks in July and August on the USask campus. Photo submitted by USask SciFi Camps

“Approximately 90 per cent of the programming we offer is free to youth and their families, so KSPC’s support will allow us to continue to this important work,” said Bourke.

“On the instructor side, gifts like these allow us to employ more than 30 enthusiastic USask undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines, which in turn allows them to develop critical career enhancing skills of resiliency, creativity, adaptability and teamwork needed in today’s workplace.”

KSPC’s investment in the SCI-FI Camps Equity and Diversity Fund will also support programming for girls, Camp fYrefly and workshops and camps for marginalized communities.

SCI-FI Science Camps at the USask College of Engineering was established by a group of engineering students in 1989, and the first summer camp in 1990 saw 140 registrants. The program has seen significant growth throughout the years, with now more than 1,600 Saskatchewan youth attending summer camps and nearly 20,000 youth participating in SCI-FI programming each year.

In addition to SCI-FI summer camps—most of which sell out within minutes—the program offers 563 free science workshops in schools throughout the province, Saturday Science Clubs, high school engineering clubs, the Girls DiscoverSTEM Conference, Indigenous programming, and programming for the Children’s Festival of Saskatchewan, the City of Saskatoon summer playground program and for children undergoing medical care at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.

SCI-FI Science Camp recently held a Girl Guide Robotics and Coding Badge Day with more than 200 attendees. Photo: Saskatoon Girl Guides
SCI-FI Science Camp recently held a Girl Guide Robotics and Coding Badge Day with more than 200 attendees. Photo: Saskatoon Girl Guides

A portion of SCI-FI Science Camps programming is specifically targeted to underrepresented groups in STEM including girls and female-presenting youth, Indigenous youth (through partnerships with Saskatoon-based organizations such as the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre, the White Buffalo Youth Lodge and Saskatoon Tribal Council), new Canadians, 2SLGBTQ+ youth, Black youth, and rural/northern youth—one of the reasons KSPC felt it was important to invest in the USask program.

“We are proud to support programs that many of these young people might not have the opportunity to participate in otherwise,” said Paige Gignac (BComm'11), community investment specialist at KSPC.

Gignac also explained how KSPC’s number one priority, safety, aligns with the program’s ability to provide a safe place for young people to be themselves, build leadership, learn, and have fun.

“KSPC can see the potential of the next generation. We know that by providing access to more opportunities that contribute to the discovery of personal interests and passions, we can ignite inspiration that will enrich lives and transform communities across the province,” she said.

“It’s programs like the SCI-FI camps at USask that open the door to new possibilities for young people—it can spark a moment of inspiration that will last a lifetime.”

This gift is part of the University of Saskatchewan’s Be What the World Needs Campaign.

Registration for SCI-FI Science Summer Camps opens March 1, 2024. More information at scifi.usask.ca.

Together we will support and inspire students to succeed. We invite you to join by supporting current and future students' needs at USask.

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