SHINE-Focus-CampDanielle Craddock is the founder and director of Girls Inspired & Ready to Lead, Inc. (GIRL), a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to empowering and preparing today's girls for tomorrow through promoting academic achievement, career preparation, leadership development, community service, and a positive self-image.  GIRL received a grant from the Business Women's Giving Circle in 2015 to support its FOCUS STEM camp.

The FOCUS STEM Camp completed its 3rd consecutive year of exposing middle school girls to the exciting world of STEM!  The camp is designed by George Mason University STEM Accelerator Program in partnership with Girls Inspired & Ready to Lead, Inc.  This year’s camp, funded by Batelle, had several highlights, such as the highest enrollment yet with 92 participants and publicity through being featured on WJLA’s Good Morning Washington.  The curriculum for each day of our camp represents a letter in the acronym STEM: Monday (Science), Tuesday (Technology), Wednesday (Engineering), and Thursday (Math).  On Friday, the girls discuss global problem- solving in STEM, interact with a panel of professional women working in STEM, and prepare poster presentations that summarize concepts they learned during the week. Among this year’s memorable moments was our partnership with SHINE for Girls DC.  I met Tara Hally, Regional Director for SHINE for Girls DC, at the Business Women’s Giving Circle (BWGC) Grantee Reception in January 2016, where we both received grants for our programs.  Her program, which teaches math through dance, seemed like it should be a part of the FOCUS STEM Camp, so I invited her to present a workshop on math day.

SHINE-Focus-Camp2As our campers left the FOCUS Camp on Wednesday, I heard some say to their parents that they did not want to return the next day because it was math day.  Many girls did not feel confident about their math skills, which is where SHINE for Girls DC stepped in!  Each day, the girls rotated to four different workshops, and when it was time to go to Tara's “Dance + Math = Success” class, the girls were hesitant.  By the end of the class, the girls were having fun as they built algebra equations by using dance moves to represent the equation’s variables.  Each group provided an explanation of its equation before performing the routine in front of the other groups.  When the dances were completed, the girls played Fraction/Decimal/Percent Twister.

The Business Women Giving Circle was the camp sponsor in 2015.  If you would like to donate a scholarship for a girl to attend the next FOCUS STEM Camp, please e-mail info@girlsinspiredinc.org.