Last week, the San Francisco 49ers launched its Football and STEM Academy summer camp program to extend the organization's impact on youth education about football and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) concepts. The three-day camp, which began on Wednesday, June 22 and ran through Friday, June 24, hosted more than 80 local students from grades 3-8 and centered on the science of sports, fusing football skills and STEM learning.
In addition to discovering the important values of education and fitness, the camp afforded students with specially-designed activities that teach the fundamentals of football and STEM while learning how to apply important life skills such as respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and teamwork.
The camp, which was jointly created by the 49ers STEM Education Program and the 49ers Youth Football Program, had appearances by the team's players including Ian Williams.
"It was important to us that the kids experience a fun and interactive camp, while also walking away with a greater appreciation for education, fitness and overall health," said Jared Muela, director of 49ers fan engagement and youth football. "I think we were able to accomplish just that, and having that reinforced by Ian Williams speaking to campers about the importance of hydration makes it that much more powerful."
Programming activities began with education lessons rooted in STEM, which then translated to the kids' efforts on the 49ers practice field later in the day. Lessons included, but were not limited to, football force and movement, innovation in football equipment, strength and training, and flexibility and speed drills.
"As NFL teams look to create new ways to engage youth, we're excited to continue to launch unique programs like the 49ers Football and STEM Academy summer camp that get kids excited about education, particularly as it applies to the concepts of science, technology, engineering and math, through football," said Jesse Lovejoy, director of STEM education and the 49ers Museum. "The camp is a great example of how the 49ers are raising the bar in STEM learning concepts for youth, providing children with a better understanding of how sports science and STEM are present in football and vice versa."
The three-day camp invited parents to join in with their children on the last day, culminating in a closing ceremony for the first class of Football and STEM Academy summer camp graduates.
The 49ers STEM Education Program, which opened in conjunction with Levi's Stadium in 2014, provides learning platforms for K-8 students through its education program that teaches content-rich lessons using the STEM principles of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The 49ers STEM Education Program reaches more than 60,000 participants annually – with 50 percent of students coming from Title I Designated schools.
The San Francisco 49ers Youth Football Program provides youth from ages 5-18 with the opportunity to experience football through a multitude of diverse programs aimed at creating young, healthy leaders on and off the field throughout the Bay Area and beyond. In 2015 alone, the 49ers Youth Football Program directly impacted more than 26,000 youth and hosted 180 events in partnership with the NFL's "Play 60" initiative, which encourages children to get outside and play for 60 minutes each day.
The 49ers launched its Football and STEM Academy Summer Camp Program teaching how football and STEM education are related.