Mentors and mentees from the Connecting Youth mentoring program at Champlain Valley Union High School attended the Community Science Night March 21 at the ECHO Leahy Center. An annual celebration for local youth mentoring pairs from the Chittenden County Mentoring Network, the CVU group was part of more than 200 adult mentors and youth mentees from 10 mentoring programs in Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, and Addison counties.
The free event featured an open exploration of the museum’s exhibits, a scavenger hunt, and hands-on demonstrations led by the ECHO Environmental Leadership Team, or E-Team.
“I hadn’t been to ECHO since I was a little kid,” said Shelby Hallock, a 10th grader at CVU, and a mentee through Connecting Youth. “It brought back good memories, and even as a teenager, I still had a blast and loved the exhibits.”
ECHO’s E-Team is a year-long teen leadership program for highly diverse ninth and tenth grade students who are passionate about science education and sharing their knowledge with the more than 170,000 people who annually visit ECHO. They are guided by program coordinators Noella Krakowski and Carlie Wright, who help the teens develop skills in leadership, building STEM literacy, public speaking, science communication and teamwork.
Community Science Night is the culmination of six months of work and features the E-Team guiding mentors and mentees through interactive educational experiences. This year’s activities featured an exploration of sources of pollution in Lake Champlain and owl pellet dissections.
“The Community Science Night is the time for the E-team to showcase everything they have learned and create a unique experience for the mentor-mentee pairs,” said Krakowski. “Not only are they sharing knowledge and love of learning with the mentors and mentees in attendance, they are also putting skills they have been developing into practice. It is always exciting to see their progression and growth as educators, leaders, and citizens throughout the year.”
MENTOR Vermont is a nonprofit organization that provides support for nearly 140 mentoring program sites and the 2,300 mentor pairs they support across the state. For more information about mentoring programs in the CCMN, and throughout Vermont, visit www.mentorvt.org.