No Summer Sliding at BUILD

When the final bell of the school year rings, some kids flip the switch and power down their brains until autumn – the dreaded “summer slide” sets in. Nine months of mental exercising goes out the window in the blink of an eye.

Not at BUILD!

With a new school year right around the corner, our kids will be heading back to the classroom with fresh minds thanks to a variety of engaging experiences in our summer camp program. By exposing our kids to new experiences, we create more opportunities for them to choose from in life. Our hope is that we can strike a chord in our kids and help them discover a passion in summer camp that they can build on even further throughout their academic career and their life.

Project Exploration: In partnering with the West Side STEM Learning Center, our kids were able to take advantage of a variety of unique learning experiences this summer through Project Exploration. One of the Project Exploration activities this summer introduced kids to coding and computer programing through Apple’s Swift Playground application. In part of a NASA engineering challenge, kids designed, built and improved a stand-alone, solar-powered pumping system to move water as quickly as possible between two containers. The Chicago Architecture Foundation used workshops to create a better understanding of architecture and design and included field trips to some of the city’s most iconic buildings. Our youth were also able to immerse themselves in the world of robotics as they had the opportunity to build Mousetrap Carts, Art Bots and RoboBugs.

Austin Grown Initiative: BUILD youth were able to go to work and get their hands dirty through the Austin Grown Initiative this summer. This project promoted sustainable healthy eating through the creation of neighborhood gardens. After learning the necessary skills to build and maintain a garden, our youth were able to enjoy the “vegetables” of their labor by eating healthy foods cultivated in our very own Iris Garden located at BUILD headquarters!


Arts: At BUILD, the arts are a large area of focus for us. Providing kids with different avenues to express themselves is crucial as they develop into healthy, well-rounded adults. A fun, hands-on project the kids worked on this summer involved mixing concrete before they designed and created their own sculptures. In the BUILD studio, our aspiring musicians were able to take advantage of our new production and recording equipment to dive even further into their passions and get a better understanding of how the professionals do it. Kids were also able to get their feet wet in the world of media production as BUILD Radio launched a podcast series this summer, which included the work of our youth.


Field Trips: Chicago is one of the most culturally rich cities in the world, yet some of our kids have never had the opportunity to leave their neighborhood. Our summer field trips provide youth with their first opportunity to go downtown, or to Lake Michigan, or the to the Chicago Botanic Garden. Through your support, we hope to continue to expose our kids to different experiences and opportunities that will enrich their lives. These fun activities are not only meant to keep our youth active and engaged all summer, but also to help them discover their passions in life, so that they can pursue their dreams from an early age.

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