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Raytheon and JFK Library inspire "moonshot thinking" with new STEM challenge at Boys & Girls Clubs

JFK Space Labs Explorers Challenge presented by Raytheon complements Boys & Girls Clubs' summer STEM programming with International Space Station activities and experiments

WALTHAM, Mass., May 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, in partnership with Raytheon (NYSE: RTN), is inspiring the next generation of moonshot thinkers with a nationwide, space-themed STEM challenge designed specifically for Boys & Girls Clubs. The JFK Space Labs Explorers Challenge presented by Raytheon complements Boys & Girls Clubs' summer STEM programming by engaging members and staff in a variety of biology and Earth science experiments like those performed on the International Space Station (ISS).

At Boys & Girls Clubs, youth develop skills and critical thinking by using real-world applications for science, technology, engineering and math.

Raytheon has supported Boys & Girls Clubs of America since 2014 through a $5 million, multiyear commitment to evolve its national STEM programming, including building a network of STEM Centers of Innovation at Clubs that serve a high concentration of military youth. With Raytheon's support, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has committed to establishing dedicated STEM learning spaces in all of its Clubs, including training 54,000 youth development professionals to implement a research-based STEM curriculum.

Through the JFK Space Lab Explorers Challenge presented by Raytheon, Boys & Girls Clubs across America are invited to perform hands-on activities selected by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory by July 20, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and first moon landing. Participating Boys & Girls Clubs have the opportunity to win prizes that expand their exploration of space, including through augmented reality experiences. Prize winners will be announced at the ISS Research & Development Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 29.

"The JFK Space Lab Explorers Challenge presented by Raytheon highlights our longtime shared commitment to use STEM subjects to inspire young people to explore their futures and become the leaders of tomorrow," said Jim Clark, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "This challenge not only builds on the meaningful progress we've made with Raytheon's support over the last five years, but it aligns perfectly with our existing summer programming, which is designed to maintain members' interest and proficiency in STEM subjects at the time of year when they are most at risk of falling behind."

Clubs participating in the challenge must perform one or more of the following activities by July 20:

  • Orion's Quest: Club members participate in authentic space-based research through virtual "missions" that require them to analyze photo and/or video data downlinked directly from the ISS and submit their findings to scientists.
  • Tomatosphere: Guided by online resources, an educator helps Club members plan, perform and submit a "blind test" experiment to compare the germination rates of two groups of tomato seeds—one that flew in space and another that remained on Earth.
  • EarthKam: Club members control the camera in a unique Earth observation experiment onboard the ISS.
  • Windows on Earth: This activity provides software that allows Club members to view stunning pictures of Earth taken by astronauts on the ISS and take part in related activities.

Boys & Girls Clubs can register for the challenge on the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation's website.

The JFK Space Lab Explorers Challenge presented by Raytheon shares its theme with two related programs announced by Raytheon and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in April: JFK Space Lab Explorers presented by Raytheon, which gives schools and afterschool programs access to a curated set of free experiments through ISS National Lab partners; and JFK Space Lab presented by Raytheon, a program for middle and high school students that provides selected schools named after President Kennedy with support for Earth science, biology and computer science experiments that utilize direct connections with—and data from—the ISS. All three programs were developed in cooperation with the ISS National Lab and made possible by Raytheon's $1.5 million sponsorship of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the technological leadership of the nation's first moonshot.

Raytheon's leadership in space-related capabilities originates in the Apollo era. Visit here to learn more about how Raytheon technology led Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon, as well as the moonshot innovations its employees are working on today.

About Raytheon
Raytheon Company, with 2018 sales of $27 billion and 67,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 97 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5ITM products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. Follow us on Twitter.

About the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and John F. Kennedy Presidential Library 
The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization founded in 1984 to provide financial support, staffing, and creative resources for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Kennedy Presidential Library and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service.

Visit www.jfklibrary.org for the latest announcements and calendar of events.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,300 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contacts

Mike Doble

Ashley Keyes
Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Terence Burke
JFK Library Foundation

Raytheon logo (PRNewsfoto/Raytheon)

SOURCE Raytheon Company

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