Tuesday, July 20, 2010

eCYBERMISSION West Virginia Outreach Trip

With registration for the 2010-2011 eCYBERMISSION competition opening on August 1st, the eCYBERMISSION team has begun traveling across the country to promote the competition. Last week, Katie and myself hit the road for a two-day drive through West Virginia meeting with various organizations throughout the state.

West Virginia has historically been a low-participation state, with only one team competing in eCYBERMISSION since the program’s inception in 2002 (Hamlin High School, which was a criteria winner, in 2004-2005). So we were extremely excited to meet with a few student organizations in the state and hopefully increase student participation for the upcoming competition year!

On Thursday morning, after a beautiful drive to Morgantown, we met with staff members and students from the Morgantown Boys & Girls Club. The students were extremely excited to learn about what eCYBERMISSION has to offer, such as the ability to work in teams, gain statewide and national recognition for their work, and the opportunity to win up to $8,000 per student in U.S. EE Savings Bonds. One student even had an idea in mind for his Mission Folder – what caused the Gulf Coast oil spill and how it could be avoided in the future.

After the meeting in Morgantown, a quick 20-minute drive found us in Fairmont at the Mountaineer Area Council Boy Scouts of America. Representing four counties in North Central West Virginia, I was extremely excited to bring eCYBERMISSION to the Boy Scouts, having been one myself in my younger days. Because camp is currently in session, we had a quick meeting with one of the office staff members and dropped off a stack of materials to be handed out to all of the troops in attendance.

The last stretch of driving for the day then took us to Charleston, the capitol of West Virginia. We had a chance to enjoy the local Charleston culture when we randomly walked into Bridgefest, which is a carnival sponsored by all of the shops and restaurants on Bridge Road, one of the major thoroughfares of the city.

On Friday morning, we met with Susan Smith, a program specialist at the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council main office in downtown Charleston. The Black Diamond Council represents 61 counties in West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia and Maryland representing nearly 20,000 girls. Ms. Smith noted that she has always been extremely passionate about promoting and improving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and was very excited to meet us after learning about the competition. At the conclusion of a very productive meeting, we left behind a stack of materials and where given the opportunity to potentially attend a leadership meeting of the council in October. 

In the end, the outreach trip through West Virginia was extremely successful, with lots of great, new opportunities to increase participation in the competition. If you live in West Virginia, or know anyone who does, and you would be interested in learning more about eCYBERMISSION please contact eCYBERMISSION Mission Control and let us know so we can send them information about the competition. Also, if you know anyone anywhere in the country who may be interested in the competition, let us know about them as well! Remember to keep an eye out for updates on this blog and check our eCYBERMISSION Map for all of our 2010-2011 outreach trips and conferences.

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