BGC South East to host first annual breakfast to support literacy and STEM

BGC South East has acquired Kingston Robotics Lab and plans to build a new Innovative Learning Centre for local youth. Photo via BGC South East.

BGC South East (formerly Boys and Girls Club of Kingston & Area) is launching new programs and initiatives aiming to innovate youth learning in the areas of literacy and STEM. According to a media release, the organization aims to build a new Innovative Learning Centre for local youth.

To garner community awareness and support, the Club said it will be hosting its first annual Innovative Learning Breakfast, presented by CINTAS. Taking place at the West End Community Centre (1300 Bath Road) on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, the breakfast will bring together key community leaders in diverse fields, such as small businesses, STEM industries, educational institutions, and research groups, according to the release.

BGC South East said that the event will present the organization’s new vision and plans to develop a premier Innovative Learning Centre for local youth that builds new pathways of skills and knowledge. Guests will have an opportunity to see robotics demos, check out 150 lb robot builds, and hear first-hand from impacted individuals.

“We are thrilled to be associated with this initiative,” said James Dawe, Group Vice President, North Atlantic at CINTAS. “We see this contribution as a small investment into the future of our community.”

The Breakfast will also mark the organization’s official acquisition of the Kingston Robotics Lab at 178 Railway Street.

“We are delighted beyond words to reveal a whole new area of operations under our Innovative Learning Centre, which will offer experiential learning opportunities for local children and youth through facilities such as the Robotics Lab,” said Jacqueline Collier, President of the Board of Directors at BGC South East.

According to the release, the 10,000-square-foot lab is the largest of its kind in Canada, and second largest in North America. It features a full machine shop with state-of-the-art equipment, such as 3D printers, woodworking tools, steel cutters, and more.

“We started the Kingston Robotics Lab with the goal to make it a community hub, a place where robotics teams across Ontario would visit to utilize the equipment, practice on competition-size fields, and learn from other robotics groups,” said Niall O’Driscoll, founder of the Robotics Lab and Lead Mentor.

“It grew quickly, as there was nothing like it in Kingston, or in our South East region. It has the potential to benefit thousands of kids and youth with unique learning experiences, including programming, building a robot, and working as a team to complete challenges,” O’Driscoll explained. “The realization of the partnership with BGC South East will fulfill this vision of expanding access to youth.”

The Club said it will operate both competitive and non-competitive robotics programs, centered on providing hands-on STEM-based experiential learning, fostering collaborative partnerships with diverse local stakeholders, and championing equitable and inclusive opportunities for youth from diverse backgrounds, including underserved and underrepresented communities.

“We are eager to begin this new initiative and to build upon our experience of delivering quality education-based programs over the past five years,” said Scott Compeau, Director of Education & Innovation at BGC South East.

“The scale of our reach is unique. We are eager to provide local children and youth with diverse learning opportunities, where they can develop new skills that will prepare them for the demands of future job markets,” Compeau continued. “This is just the start of a wealth of potential for Kingston’s kids.”

Community members and businesses interested in attending the breakfast can purchase tickets ($50) or table sponsorships ($500) here: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/bgcsoutheast/events/innovative-learning-breakfast/

For more information or questions, contact Scott Compeau, Director of Education & Innovation, at [email protected]

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