A summer space camp for migrant and foster youth in the Fresno County area is running at Fresno State’s Kremen School of Education.
The two-week program hosted by the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools invites students grades 1-12 from Fresno, Clovis, Central and Golden Plains school districts. It started Monday.
Evaristo Treviño of the county’s Migrant Education Program said space camp is a chance for students who may have an interrupted formal education to experience a STEM curriculum.
“The point is to create something fun, something they’ll enjoy, that’s not like what they get throughout the year,” Treviño said.
Treviño’s office works with children of migrant worker families, as well as undocumented youth and DREAMers.
He said he has noticed that immigration crackdowns have acted as a deterrent in the past to migrant families’ participation in other county programs. However, the news reports of children being taken away from adults at the border this week did not seem to affect attendance at space camp, according to Treviño.
"There’s anxiety. Families get nervous. They won’t bring their kids in when they hear things like that are happening,” Treviño said. “But we’re really happy with the turnout on day one.”
The program hosted approximately 80 students Monday — 40 from the Migrant Education Program, and 40 from the county’s foster youth program.
The students took classes divvied up by grade level on everything from engineering design to underwater robotics.
A third-floor room had been transformed with PVC pipe and color-changing lights into a Space Lab, where students will work in teams to simulate a NASA control center directing a crew in outer space.
Pamela Hancock, coordinator of the county’s foster youth program, said space camp is another opportunity for students to focus on learning, rather than their statuses.
"When they’re here, they're just kids,” she said.