To connect with the next young wave of technical talent, Volvo Penta of the Americas recently spoke with local students about the engineering behind its marine and industrial power solutions on land and at sea at the REECH Foundation’s 2019 STEAM Day Youth Football Camp, in Norfolk, Virginia.
Founded by former NFL player and Chesapeake resident Don Carey and his wife, Lakeisha Carey, REECH stands for Reaching Education and Empowering Children. The non-profit organization provides inner-city youth with opportunities to explore academics through innovative, hands-on programming. The Foundation’s flagship event, the STEAM Day Youth Football Camp, merges athletics with activities involving science, technology, engineering, art and math.
“Our desire is to engage with young people in our community, and we get an opportunity to do that with our annual STEAM Day Youth Football Camp,” said Carey, a former defensive back with the Detroit Lions. “In working with partners like Volvo Penta, our hope is to introduce young students to careers they may not know exist and inspire them to take advantage of opportunities in our local area.”
The Foundation hosts the camp at a different location each year. The Norfolk event attracted 400 youth ages 6-17, who attended the day’s activities at Norfolk State University. Participants spent part of the day on the football field with Carey and his teammates participating in football drills. The rest of the day students were busy inside Echols Gymnasium engaging in hands-on STEAM tasks led by local companies.
Volvo Penta, which is headquartered in Chesapeake, provided students with insights about the technology behind the company’s solutions and discussed what it’s like to work in manufacturing and engineering. In addition, students learned why single-use plastics, such as plastic straws, have become an enormous danger to ocean and sea life, and were encouraged to share their ideas for reducing their own plastic use.
“Research shows the strong, positive impact that early exposure to areas such as engineering and manufacturing can have on the development of a youth, and these skills help them transition into a workforce that is hungry for talent,” said Ron Huibers, president and CEO of Volvo Penta of the Americas. “The STEAM Day event, along with our summer internship program for college students and vocational training programs, aligns with our company’s desire to reach out to the next wave of technical talent.”