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Camp “Float” with Girls Inc.

By YWCA Minneapolis
August 11, 2023
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Over five days, ten of our Girls Inc. Eureka! youth put their science, engineering and creative minds to work and created milk carton floats! Thanks to all who supported this project, including Kemps, who donated nearly 1,000 cartons to help fuel the project. And thanks to local artist Kim Ford and Willis “Bo” Bowman, who were so generous with their time and spirit.

Girls Inc. Eureka! is a five-year program for teenage girls and gender-expansive youth interested in STEM fields. Our focus is to encourage our “Eurekans” to explore their career interests while supporting them through high school graduation and preparing them for the next steps in their post-secondary education. The focus of this camp was for them to lead their own experience by setting their objectives, using math and engineering principles, and strengthening their collaboration and problem-solving skills.

So Much Tape!

During this weeklong camp at YWCA Midtown, Eurekans completed their independent STEM opportunity requirement. Each day was packed with educational learning from buoyancy to Archimedes’ principle, plus more creative learning, such as sketching out float ideas and gathering colorful supplies to bring their ideas to life.

At first, I thought the math would be really hard, but it was really easy to solve! – Eurekan

I really love my friends and together we learned a lot of real-life experiences. – Eurekan

Eurekans engineered their boats out of tape, caulk and half-gallon milk cartons. They back-checked and tested different boat hulls to test for stability and maneuverability and eventually collaborated in three teams to design and construct.

Floating Testing In 3…2…1…

By the end of the week, we were amazed by the growth of each Eurekan and the team building that had naturally occurred. On Friday, each group presented their float in a “show and share” for a crowd of staff, family and more! All of the groups presented their process, theme, how they incorporated all of their interests, how they overcame their struggles, and they proudly displayed their “Certificate of Boynacy” granted by the United States Float Foundation Association (USFFA), showing all the math before their work!

Team One! 

Team Sun and Moon

Team Barbie

Then it was off to Lake Nokomis to test their math and engineering skills to see if their water spectacles would float! Spoiler alert: ALL floats were successful in the water! There were giggles and smiles as the youth proudly paddled around in their homemade floats.

I loved it. It was such an awesome experience and I can’t wait to get on the water! – Eurekan

Watch the Full Progress Video

A final ode of gratitude to local artist Kim Ford, who came to our department with this dream over a year ago. We thank her for securing donations, experts, and a fabulous location at Lake Nokomis. And to Bo, who took equations that initially intimidated the teens and made them accessible and kept the group excited to question, try, fail and try again. We know this will be something our participants remember for the rest of their lives.

Euerkans On the News

Learn more about Girls Inc. Eureka!

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