Gearing up for GEMS camps
Enrollment for the Army Outreach Education Program, Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science summer camps at Yuma Proving Ground is now open. The program provides science, technology, engineering and mathematics exposure to students to peek their interest at an early age. (Photo Credit: Ana Henderson) VIEW ORIGINAL

Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) Army Outreach Education Program, Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS) summer camps are just months away in June and now is the time for those students wanting to get involved to sign up.

The application portal for students is now open and they have until April 15 to submit their applications. Students must be in grades sixth thought eighth meaning they can apply if they are currently in fifth through seventh grade.

The GEMS program aims to provide Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) exposure to students to peek their interest at an early age. Each camp is a weeklong and covers a variety of STEM related activities included testing remote controlled cars, launching rockets, learning about high-speed optics, dissecting frogs and testing bacteria.

“We try to make the learning experience super fun for the kids. It’s not a rigid environment where they learn then have a test. The kids can expect to have fun,” said Paula Rickleff YPG STEM Outreach Manager and GEMS Coordinator.

Executing the summer program is a tremendous amount of work and Rickleff always takes an opportunity to voice her appreciation for everyone who makes the camps possible which includes a team of YPG engineers, scientists, STEM coordinators and local educators.

“When we pull it off and see the kids having fun and not wanting camp to end…that is a very rewarding experience.”

She also thanks the YPG supervisors who grant their employees the time away from their daily job supporting testing equipment for the Warfighter, to help cultivate our potential future workforce.

“GEMS could not be executed without the engineers and scientist who help teach the lab,” said Rickleff, “They come up with the curriculum. I work with them to get supplies and they are just phenomenal. They put a lot of work into setting these labs up and really good with the kids."

The application and more information on the program can be found at https://www.usaeop.com/program/yuma/