Fairbanks Museum Wins Grant To Support Summer Programs

The Fairbanks Museum education team (left to right): Mariama Jones, Molly Hanover, Sarah Sylvain, Karina Weiss, Alexis Jablonski, and Miles Thornton-Sherman inside the Shippee Family Eye Care Butterfly House. The Fairbanks Museum is open daily, 10AM - 5PM.

The Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium was recently selected to receive $38,744 in funding from the Summer Matters for All Grant program. According to Governor Phil Scott, the Summer Matters for All Grant Program will award up to $3.85 million to programs in 13 counties with the goal of expanding access to summer enrichment opportunities for K-12 youth this summer.

The support expands access to nature-based and STEM summer programs, serving elementary through high-school aged children. The Summer Matters for All grant allows the Museum to open additional STEM and Discovery camp weeks, offer extended day options to help working families, and expand the number of children in each session. The grant will allow the Museum to hire extra teaching staff, purchase necessary supplies, and provide snacks for campers.

“Our Discovery Camps, STEM camps, and Franklin’s Guides summer programs are already filled to capacity, and we have a waiting list for several sessions,” says education director Karina Weiss. “We had to close enrollment before summer even started! We are now able to reopen and open additional sessions, meeting the demand and serving more families.”

Adam Kane, executive director, comments, “As we emerge from a year of interrupted schooling, these programs are designed to offer science learning skills delivered in a fun, informal format. We want to expand the number of people we reach by accommodating working families who need extended hours and more slots for kids to sign up.”

Governor Scott has put an emphasis on helping Vermont kids recover from the pandemic and the isolation it caused, including creating opportunities for them to safely reconnect with their peers and their communities. The purpose of the grant program is to increase access to summer enrichment opportunities for K-12 youth statewide during Summer 2021. This was a highly competitive process with 188 proposals submitting $7,427,584 in requests, which far exceeded available funds.

The grants, funded by federal dollars secured by Senator Bernie Sanders and administered by Vermont Afterschool, were awarded to a variety of programs, including summer camps, libraries, municipalities, teen centers, non-profit social services organizations and more, to expand the number of weeks and slots, as well as to increase affordability and accessibility of summer programs. These offerings will supplement school-based programs, as districts in Vermont received separate federal funds to support summer learning and afterschool programs.

“Summer is the perfect opportunity to help kids reconnect and recharge. We are incredibly grateful to our state leaders and policymakers for their commitment to the development of the Summer Matters for All Grant Program,” said Holly Morehouse, Executive Director of Vermont Afterschool. “With this funding, communities and youth-serving organizations across the state will be able to create a great summer for Vermont children and youth that will help them make new memories and emerge from the pandemic strong, resilient, and hopeful.”

Sign-up for summer programs online at fairbanksmuseum.org or contact Karina Weiss at 802-748-2372 for more information.

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