LAUNCH receives $1.5 Million investment
to make digital skills a new sport for kids
Government of Canada funding will support LAUNCH in the development of the Canadian Minor STEAM Association
(Waterloo, Ontario) – On February 11, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced an investment of $1.5 million in LAUNCH Waterloo to expand its science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) programming nationally.
With funding from the CanCode program, LAUNCH will develop the national infrastructure for a Canadian Minor STEAM Association (CMSA) dedicated to promoting and developing STEAM skills through a competitive environment.
The CMSA will build off of the STEAM league programs that LAUNCH has offered in Ontario since 2019, and will create a national skills development system that delivers hands-on coding, robotics and STEM programming for K-8 youth modeled after minor sport. Regional clubs will offer weekly STEAM games reaching children and youth across the country including girls, Black youth, Indigenous youth, youth with disabilities and youth in rural communities.
“In Canada, we’ve built a minor hockey system where over half a million children participate each year. Children as young as four years old learn to play the game,” says Tobi Day-Hamilton, founder and Executive Director of LAUNCH Waterloo. “We aim to take that successful model and create a national system that builds digital, computational and critical thinking skills for our kids in a fun and competitive environment.”
The CMSA will also develop a Coaching Academy to complement STEAM League programs and provide training to coaches and teachers. Developed and delivered in partnership with InkSmith, the coaching academy will give coaches and teachers the confidence and ability to teach coding, robotics, and STEAM skills.
The Canadian Minor STEAM Association will provide long-term, intensive, hands-on opportunities for children and youth in all areas of STEAM and support the coaches and teachers leading the activities for relevant and engaging programs.
LAUNCH was established in 2018 with a vision to create STEAM as a new sport for children and youth. Its STEAM League and Littles League programs have reached over 600 children and youth over six seasons to date. LAUNCH works with community partners to reach youth from diverse backgrounds and those furthest from opportunity to ensure all have an opportunity to gain digital and coding skills.