Trumbull parents spearhead new summer program

A push by two Trumbull mothers to create a full-day academic summer program for kids resulted in this year’s first Summer STEM Camps, offered through Trumbull Continuing Education’s Summer Explorations Program.

STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, may not sound like most kids’ ideas of a fun summer, but when the learning environment is the beach, a state-of-the-art technology lab or simply kids getting a hands-on experience, it becomes a fun way to spend a few weeks of summer break, according to Susan LaFrance.

LaFrance and Ana Siscar are the driving force behind Trumbull’s Summer STEM Camps, which they hope will continue to grow, giving kids an edge on STEM subjects that they can take with them when the school year starts up again. The camps are geared toward students in grades four to six.

“It really started because we couldn’t find a summer academic program that is full-time and comprehensive,” LaFrance said. “We came up with the concept and presented it to the curriculum directors and they have given us all the support we needed.”

Schools across the nation and the federal government are pushing for growth in STEM education areas, to prepare students for the future, helping to create new high-tech manufacturing jobs and growth.

The two-week camps are separated this summer into Stem Camp I: Nature, Science and Engineering and Camp II: The Science of Computing — from Abacus to iPads. The first camp started July 8, and focuses on environmental sciences. On Tuesday, the camp of about 23 students were at Trumbull High’s Agriscience and Biotechnology building. Speakers visiting the camp include a civil engineer and the town’s land surveyor. The students will end their week at Hammonassett State Park, for some environmental learning on the beach.

“The kids are loving it,” LaFrance said. “One student said to our teacher, Brenda Windsor, ‘I don’t like school but I love your class.’ She said that was the best compliment she could get.”

The second camp starts Monday, July 22, and focuses more on technology, including app development for iPads and Androids. Students will be going to Fairfield University’s Engineering Department and taking a trip to New York City to the Sony Wonder Technology Lab.

“We have had so much support from school administrators and the teachers have been awesome to work with,” LaFrance said. “They have ran with it and are excited to be leading the way.”

Continuing Education Director Robert DeCerbo has been a big supporter, LaFrance said. They hope to expand and grow next year, and hope that the camp might help start more STEM clubs and activities during the school year.

So far, with 23 kids in the first camp and 17 in the second, the enrollment has exceeded their expectations.

“It’s summertime — we want them to have fun as well as learn,” LaFrance said.

The camps are $450 each. To learn more visit and click on “programs for students.”