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Concordia grows its summer camps partnership with the YMCAs of Quebec

Programming options this year will include fine arts, science and engineering as well as athletics
May 16, 2024

Three children smiling for the camera, holding paintbrushes and pipe cleaners

Concordia students and local youth are joining together again this year for a season of educational fun at the university. And this time it will include new summer camp partnerships with the YMCAs of Quebec.

In addition to the existing YMCA Concordia Fine Arts Camp programming, the new partnerships will continue to combine the YMCA’s camp traditions with Concordia’s expertise in arts and sciences.

“Before the pandemic, the Faculty of Fine Arts signed a partnership agreement with the YMCA with the goal of giving our fine arts students a chance to work in their domain and put their knowledge into practice by teaching campers and creating the programs that the YMCA needs,” says Céline Fortin, senior lead of planning and summer programming at Concordia. “The YMCA would take care of all the logistics of running a camp and, on our side, we would provide students, programming and spaces.”

The fine arts camp has expanded this year to include electronic music composition, digital art, digital photography and video game design. Building on this success, Fortin approached Jennifer Pelletier, YMCA Quebec’s day camp director, to see if the organization would be interested in incorporating science camps into the partnership.

“Of course, they jumped on the idea,” Fortin says.

Three young women wearing protective glasses and checking a sheet of paper with a male professor

STEAMpunks and GirlSET

This year, the collaboration has led to the offering of YMCA Concordia Science and Engineering Camp, as well as the 2024 edition of STEAMpunks — a camp for teens aged 13 to 15 aimed at fostering youth interest in science, technology, engineering, art and math all at once.

“The goal of STEAMpunks is to increase youth engagement in the sciences because we have an issue with that — it seems to be an issue everywhere,” Fortin explains. “We still have a lot of spots available that we’re looking to fill for this year.”

Another standout this year is the Girls Summer Engineering and Technology Program (GirlSET), which will be back to its in-person activities after four years of online programming. The two-week program is geared at girls aged 14 to 17 who may one day become women in STEM.

They are mentored by Concordia engineering students and faculty members from the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science.

“This is an opportunity for the mentor students and faculty members to serve as inspiring role models, sharing their passion and expertise to encourage the girls to pursue further studies in engineering at Concordia,” says Bahareh Goodarzi, one of the instructors in charge of GirlSET.

“By fostering a supportive and inclusive environment, we aim to cultivate a future generation of women leaders in STEM fields, ultimately contributing to greater gender balance and diversity in engineering.”

‘For our students and the broader community’

A variety of other summer camps and programs will also be open to kids and teens aged 5 to 17 through Concordia. These will provide them with opportunities to improve their social skills, athletic abilities, scientific understanding, creativity and more.

Concordia Athletics camp, where camp counsellors are primarily Concordia students and Stingers athletes, will also operate. There is a program for every camper to fit in and spend the summer honing their individual interests.

“We’re doing this for our students, but it’s also for the broader community,” Fortin says.

“For a parent who works in engineering or science, for example, it’s a great way for them to show their kids what they do and study. Our camps also help develop interest in all our academic programs at the university because all these kids may one day be students.”

Registration is still ongoing for the
YMCA Concordia summer camps and the Concordia Athletics multi-activity camps, and it has now opened for the GirlSET program.



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