The Salvation Army will reopen its youth programs following the pandemic starting June 29 with an exciting new STEM camp.
"We finally got the green light to open up the center," said director Sandy Chavez. "I'm extremely excited about this."
The STEM camp will be held Mondays and Fridays for six weeks from noon to 2 p.m. The Salvation Army's Youth Center will open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays starting June 30, with reduced hours from noon to 2 p.m.
According to Chavez, the STEM camp will center around technology, and introduce youth ages sixth through 12th grade to Adobe, how to make videos and capture music.
Youth worker Lucia Guzman will be in charge of running the STEM camp.
"Because of COVID, a lot of things have shut down so everyone has to refer to the internet. We want to teach the kids how to start using their talents on the internet," said Guzman.
In addition to introducing them to Adobe, Guzman said she will teach the children how to edit videos, use Photoshop and make graphic designs. The Salvation Army has ordered cameras so the children will learn about photography and video.
Guzman said part of the inside of the center will be transformed into a studio, including props and a green screen.
Following the STEM camp, the Salvation Army will display the children's finished pieces in an art and photo gallery for the public to view.
Said Guzman, "We want to create a video about what 2020 meant to them because their whole world pretty much shut down, and we want to see what their world looks like through their lens and how they capture that experience and create something out of that."
Guzman said the exciting part of introducing the technology to the children is that it might inspire some of them to make a career out of it.
Said Chavez, "I really want these kids to have a voice by using this technology — putting it to video and putting it to pictures on what's going on. We want to know what their thoughts are about COVID, staying six feet apart and the protests that are going on. I would love to hear their voices. It's going to start a conversation with them, and help them put together a very good product."
Space is limited to 25 children, and reservations are required. The Salvation Army will begin accepting pre-reservations by phone starting June 18.
Located at 538 E. Tehachapi Blvd., the Salvation Army can be reached by calling 823-9508.