BCPAL graduates largest class of STEM camp

Published 10:05 pm Sunday, July 9, 2017

Beaufort County Police Activities League graduated the largest class of its STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) summer camp on Friday afternoon.

For the first time, BCPAL partnered with the Little Washington Sailing School for the final week of the camp. BCPAL President Al Powell said working with the sailing school was beneficial for both parties; it exposed the children from BCPAL to sailing, and it added some diversity to the sailing school.

The four-week day camp included trips to the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, scuba diving, sailing, aviation and much more. Participation was free, and Powell said the camp wouldn’t be possible without the help of generous sponsors — Lee Chevrolet, Lowe’s, Home Depot and a grant from the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, among others.

“It would cost $1,600 per kid. They’re exposed to a lot. (They) even got to climb on boats with the Coast Guard and see a $100,000 robot,” Powell said.

SAIL AWAY: Summer camp participants collaborated with the Little Washington Sailing School during the final week of camp.

Family members gathered behind the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce for the joint graduation ceremony. Awards were given for “most intellectual,” “most determined,” “most laidback,” “best attitude,” “good behavior” and “leadership.” Parents expressed their gratitude toward the members of BCPAL for giving their children the opportunity of a lifetime.

Carroll Barnes, mother of camper Noah Barnes, emphasized how beneficial this program has been to her son. She said this is his second year in a row completing the camp.

“My son has been struggling in school, and this program has given my son a new ounce of confidence. He’s gotten the chance to do things he would’ve never been able to do,” Barnes said.

Powell said the camp gives children opportunities to learn about a wide range of careers. Members of BCPAL span anywhere from firefighters and police officers, to engineers and scientists.

“We’re trying to expose your kids to many different careers,” Powell said. “We are just trying to get your kids to dream.”

To learn more about Beaufort County Police Activities League, visit www.beaufortpal.org.

SCUBA DIVERS: During the four-week camp, students learned how to scuba dive.

HYDROELECTRIC POWER: Campers were divided into groups and worked on generating electricity with a prop, similar to how a hydroelectric dam works.