Reflecting on the Summer of STEAM 2023 at Paisley YMCA!

As the Summer Holidays end and young people start back at school, we at Paisley YMCA reflect on the success of this year’s Summer of STEAM Programme as a fun and educational time for young people in Renfrewshire to spend their summer unlocking their STEAM creativity with the help of our youth workers.

The sessions were split into P4 – 7 and S1 – 6 age groups, with each group having two sessions a week for five weeks of summer.   

We kicked off Science week with creating invisible ink using lemon juice to write and create lovely pictures shown above and finished the week creating fully functioning balloon lungs using plastic bottles, modelling clay and straws. We combined both an artistic and practical side to science activity and it set things off to a good start!

Our young people enjoyed the activity, stating;  “The candle and paint invisible writing was good because I could add colour.”

 “I enjoyed the lemon invisible ink.”  

“I enjoyed both activities, the invisible ink and secret writing was cool. I really enjoyed it.” 

In the second week, we moved onto technology and our young people moved to our PCs and 3D printers. They created badges, prints and had fun with micro-bits and coding. Our space has access to STEM & Tech equipment for our young people to use, which they also make use of during our regular club activity with focus on coding and project sessions.  

Our Engineering week marked the halfway point of our summer, and this week had a lot of our young people excited; “The summer stuff is enjoyable; it gets me out the house! I’m excited for engineering.” 

“The summer stuff has been good; I’m excited for the engineering sessions.”   

With an entire station of recyclable materials, the young people were divided into groups and tasked to create their own pulley systems using only the items available. After many trials and creative techniques through the power of cardboard and plastic for practical use, we put them to the ultimate test and saw how much each of their pulley creations could lift!

We also had fun creating and firing catapults and constructing Da Vinci bridges with wooden sticks, spoons, elastic bands and clay. We asked our young people if they enjoyed the session and whether they would enjoy more Engineering sessions like this one. Their response seemed to be affirmative!

“I really enjoyed the catapults, they were really really fun.” 

“It’s been better than I thought it would be, it was a challenge!”  

“The club was fun, the bridge was challenging to make.”  

“I’ve been enjoying making more stuff in clubs.”  

“I liked designing the catapult.” 

“I enjoyed catapults the most and want to do more engineering projects.”

We broke out the acrylics for our Art week, with more canvases, tinfoil, titanium white and artistic flair than you can count! Our young people had the chance to create their own artistic canvases for themselves and learned some new techniques to channel their Van Gogh instinct! They also began designing a beautiful new mural for our space, which we will further continue into our regular club activity.  

Finally, we finished our final week making Mathematics fun in the best way we know how – number and card games! Our young people took place in an epic card game tournament that featured the longest game of Uno we’ve ever had in our space!

Emotions ran high, bonds were tested and for some of our young people, it was the most exciting part of the programme; “I liked the big game of Uno! I’d say that was my favourite.” 

We saw plenty of both old and new faces at our Summer of STEAM programme and we were happy to provide them a fun and safe space to not just take part in our activity sessions but also to meet new friends, provide tasty and healthy snacks during club time and give help and support when needed.

We asked our young people how they felt about the programme and they responded;  “Some of my friends want to come!” 

“Personally, I think the summer programme was so fun.”

 “It was very enjoyable and fun.”

 “Engineering week was my favourite!”

 “I liked the science week, I’d like to come back and do more stem stuff.”

 “It’s my first time here, I’m excited for maths week because I like maths – I’m coming to every club!” 

As we return to regular club activity on the 26th August with Satur-play, we have taken on the feedback of our young people and intend to bring it into our regular club activity with more use of craft and engineering projects along with our regular focus on coding and technology-based youth work. We can’t wait to see our young people again soon and we thank them all for coming and having fun at our Summer of STEAM 2023 Programme!  

Information about our returning club activity and how to sign up for regular club activity is available on our Eventbrite page. Our sessions returning on 26th August will be available to sign up for from this Saturday. For more information, please follow our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for regular updates on club activity.   

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