Registration now open for iEngage, IUPUC’s new civics camp for kids

March 15, 2023
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Registration is now open for a free weeklong camp at IUPUC, which teaches rising fifth-to-ninth graders (currently in grades 4-8) how to spark change for the betterment of their communities.

The camp runs June 26 to 30, and registration is open until May 1 at Students may be put on a waitlist if spots fill quickly.

There is no cost to those who participate in iEngage. In addition to the camp itself, students are provided a camp t-shirt, lunch and snacks each day, and if needed, wrap-around care and transportation to and from the Foundation for Youth, 405 Hope Ave.

This summer’s program at IUPUC is co-directed by Stephanie Serriere, Ph.D., IUPUC Professor of Social Studies Education, and Elizabeth Osborn, Ph.D., IU Director of Education, Center on Representative Government. Local educators and Baylor employees will serve as master teachers, and IUPUC education students will act as iEngage camp counselors.

Serriere noted that the program closely involves local leaders in the non-profit sector, industry and public service.  “We want campers to explore their own ideas to help solve a community problem, but it’s also important for them to see firsthand the important work already being done around them,” she said. “They’ll meet local leaders, as well as groups and agencies that are responding to local issues in Columbus and, hopefully, get inspired!”

iEngage kicks off its weeklong program with a community fair of local nonprofit groups. Mid-week, students present their initial ideas on how to address a community problem of their choosing in front of a panel of local representatives. On Friday, they present their findings to the public during formal presentations and a celebration at the Columbus Center for Teaching and Learning. Plus, each day of the camp students meet a different guest speaker, including Congressman Greg Pence, Frank Griffin with Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE), Councilwoman Grace Kestler, and Amy Linneman, founder of Beloved, a nonprofit foster-care support agency.

iEngage is one of the civics education programs offered through the IU Center on Representative Government, a non-partisan, educational institution founded by renowned former Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton, to improve the public’s understanding of the role of representative government, strengthen civic engagement, and teach the skills that are essential to sustaining the nation's form of representative democracy. iEngage is modeled after a successful program started at Baylor University a decade ago.

In a letter of support, Lee H. Hamilton stated, “We strongly believe that the iEngage program supports our mission and Indiana University’s overall goal of service to the state. By spending a week immersed in learning civic principles and engaging in fun, age-appropriate civic activities, students gain valuable civics content knowledge and apply this knowledge in a real-world setting. iEngage provides an opportunity for young people to explore how local, state, and national governments are responding to issues that all citizens face and how they, as young people, can get involved in creating change.”

IUPUC’s iEngage program is funded by CoRG, the Bill and Norma Perry Memorial Fund, Rick and Alice Johnson, Heritage Fund. In addition, iEngage is partnered with IU’s Political and Civic Engagement (PACE) program, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC) and Foundation for Youth (FFY).

To learn more about iEngage, visit