For the second year in a row, The Urban Alliance is partnering with Emerald Youth Foundation for the Royal Explorers Summer Science Camp. The Urban Alliance is an initiative of Johnson University that partners with organizations in urban Knoxville to engage and empower emerging community leaders through inspiring educational experiences. Over 30 middle schoolers from around Knoxville will participate in a range of activities designed to spark their interest in science.
Vine middle schooler “D.C.” reflected on his experiences at the camp last summer. “Since I was a baby, I have been wanting to play in the NBA, but I found out there was going to be a one in a million chance I would make it. I need to have a backup plan. My second favorite thing to do is science.”
This summer, on any given day, students can be found experimenting in Johnson University’s labs, exploring Kyker Farm, hiking at Ijams Nature Center, touring the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, or kayaking the French Broad River. Two weeks of non-stop adventures culminate in a day of celebration that’s capped off by a banquet at First Baptist Church in Knoxville.
Kenny Woodhull, a professor at Johnson University and director of the Urban Alliance, is excited about the reach of the camp. He said, “One of the many aspects of the Royal Explorer’s program that I appreciate is that it creatively provides inner city kids an opportunity to have fun with ‘all things science’ at an especially formative time in their lives.”
The camp not only reveals the intriguing possibility of a career in science, but also introduces the vastness and mystery of the natural world in tangible ways to city 6th graders. These are exciting weeks for the University, for Emerald Youth Foundation, and most importantly, in the lives of these students. If you’re on campus and see them around, be sure to wish these fearless explorers well in their future expeditions.