The Circle Program received a $7,000 grant from the Lincoln Financial Foundation to support several STEM experiential learning projects developed to encourage girls and teens from low-income families to pursue careers in the non-traditional fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The projects will be based at Circle Camp, the residential camp facility the Circle Program operates each summer on Spectacle Pond in Groton, New Hampshire.
Lincoln Financial Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Lincoln Financial Group, is dedicated to empowering youth to reach their potential by living greater lives through education that promotes positive change. The grant is part of Lincoln Financial Foundation’s annual $10 million investment in its local communities’ youth education, economic and workforce development, human well-being, and arts programs.
The plan is for girls and teens in the Circle Program to develop their STEM skills within the seven dimensions of conservation leadership. They will “Adopt Spectacle Pond” as they learn more about conservation awareness, become more connected to nature, take responsibility for their environment, take conservation action, critically analyze environmental issues, cultivate conservation techniques, and explore careers in the areas of ecology and conservation. As part of this initiative, girls will take an Eco-Tour on Newfound Lake with the Newfound Lakes Region Association, learn to identify invasive water species, try their hand at water-sampling to study water quality, and learn about the watershed’s freshwater aquatic ecosystem. They will study some permaculture basics to explore possibilities for edible landscaping on the camp property, and build a weather station to track weather patterns.
The Circle Program is a non-profit organization with a mission to provide girls from low income families with new opportunities to develop the skills, courage and confidence they need to handle the challenges in their lives. Circle does this by offering girls a unique combination of adult and peer support delivered through residential summer camp and year-round mentoring programs. Currently, over 90 Circle Girls and Circle Teens are participating in the program and they come from 29 towns in central and northern New Hampshire including the Greater Concord, Plymouth and Laconia areas. The girls are referred to the Circle Program by teachers and guidance counselors as they enter the fifth grade. Once enrolled, the girl can remain in the Circle Program until she graduates from high school.
The girls who are referred to the program have been recognized for their great potential, but have lacked the opportunities and resources to develop that potential. With support from Lincoln Financial Foundation, the Circle Program can offer girls curriculum that delivers the greatest possible depth of service so they can learn how to thrive.