After School Activities

Train the Facilitator-2018


STEM Challenge Club is a proven out of school time (OST) science, technology, engineering, and math enrichment opportunity. The STEM Connection Train the Facilitator program empowers area youth workers to offer weekly club experiences to youth. Facilitators receive a day of training, curriculum for 10 STEM-connected lessons, pre and post assessments, materials to run the lessons with 20 participants, and continued support and coaching through site visits and other communication. Youth will engage in hands-on STEM challenges, learn more about the scientific method and the engineering design process, consider STEM careers, and explore and connect to the natural world with their club facilitator. The DoS – Dimensions of Success – tool is used to guarantee quality curriculum and continued programming. DoS defines twelve indicators of STEM program quality in out-of-school time and it was developed and studied with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) by the Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency (PEAR), along with partners at Educational Testing Services (ETS) and Project Liftoff.


STEM is fun and everyone can do STEM successfully! Science, technology, engineering, and math have an ever-increasing role in our world, and STEM Challenge Club provides an opportunity to engage students early in their academic journeys in order to increase interest in and build positive attitudes toward STEM disciplines. Club presents children with opportunities to develop STEM skills and engage in higher-level thinking related to the steps of the scientific method and engineering design process. The STEM Connection programs aim to break down negative stereotypes related to STEM, challenge children to do their best, provide meaningful STEM learning opportunities and encourage and inspire those that are underrepresented in STEM fields. The Train the Facilitator program connects proven STEM Connection programming with a greater audience so more children are served and lives can be changed.


​ ​ ​Area youth workers willing to commit to training and facilitating are welcome. Club curriculum is structured for kindergarten-5th grade students, with curriculum aligned to K-5th grade Indiana Academic Science Standards. Lead developers for STEM Challenge Club curriculum and facilitator trainings are Angela Fitzgerald and Vera Vander Kooy, who are science educators and curriculum developers with over 35 years of combined teaching experience and have overseen hands-on STEM experiences for preschool, elementary, and middle school children in a variety of settings. Facilitators can be formal or informal educators and will earn PGP points for participation and receive a PGP certificate upon completion of the training.


​Facilitator trainings are offered a couple times a year.​ ​Typically STEM Challenge Clubs meet for 5-10 consecutive weeks, one day per week. Club sessions are usually 60-90 minutes each session. Facilitators work with their programs to decide the best way to offer club experiences and the curriculum, and facilitator training encourages flexibility and suggestions for modification.

The next facilitator training for current  STEM Challenge Clubs is Friday, February 9th, 9am-1pm, and the next facilitator training for new STEM Challenge Clubs is Friday, March 9th, 9am-1pm.


Cost is $1000 per site and includes: professional development for two facilitators – $350, curriculum for 10 lessons – $100, materials and supplies for 20 participants – $300, and continued coaching and site visit – $250 (breakdown for title services (1&2A) and other funding channels). Additional cost for additional training, materials/supplies, or other materials or services.


Contact Angela Fitzgerald at to reserve your spot or with questions. Spots are limited and confirmed upon payment.


We are pleased to announce that The Microsoft Store is a new corporate sponsor of The STEM Connection!  Thank you to the Microsoft Store for coming alongside us to bring The STEM Connection STEM Challenge Clubs to area schools! The Microsoft Store is located at the Fashion Mall and boasts an array of free STEM educational mini camps and experiences for kids. Check out their offerings today and stop by the store soon!
For more information or to reserve your spot, please email Vera Vander Kooy, Executive Director


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2018 Awards

-SYPF Grant recipient 2016, 2017, 2018

-River-Friendly Farmer Award from the local Soil and Water Conservation District. This award recognizes farmers who, through good protection management practices, kelp keep Indiana’s rivers, lakes and streams clean.

-2018 McKinney Family Foundation Scholarship award recipient to attend Fundraising and Advocacy for Environmental Nonprofits offered by The Fund Raising School

IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

2017 Awards

-Joe Wright Recognition of Excellence Award by the Environmental Educators Association of Indiana

-Hoosier Chapter Soil And Water Conservation Society’s Education and Communications award for 2017!

-SYPF grant recipient 2016, 2017

-Intern, Madeline Anderson – 2017 Excellence in Summer Service Education Award Recipient


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