Hands-On Learning

Spark by Connected Lane County Logo

About Spark

Spark is a Connected Lane County program bringing community, education, and industry together.

We inspire youth through innovation, education, and hands-on learning.

Spark Youth working on project

Experiences for Youth

The goal of our Spark program is to provide youth with a safe place to learn, innovate, collaborate, and create through out-of-school training opportunities. Spark helps youth grow their skills, become confident problem-solvers, and gain hands-on experiences. Current Spark experiences include Invention Lab, Invention Club, and the Agency.

Youth at the 2022 Invention Lab Showcase

Invention Lab is a four-week, paid summer experience for high school youth historically underrepresented in STEM fields. Youth learn the invention process, build technical skills, and gain experience in human-centered design. Invention Lab aims to address the STEM equity gap and empower generations of creators, inventors, and leaders to address complex issues.

Game Project youth from The Agency worked on

The Agency is a paid work experience for previous Invention Lab participants and summer interns. Agency youth complete projects submitted by local organizations. The Agency has completed projects for the ABAE, the City of Eugene, the Eugene Education Foundation, Eugene Symphony, EWEB, Food for Lane County, Microsoft MakeCode, and Threadbare Print House.

Invention Club Youth

Invention Club is an after-school experience empowering youth to become inventors and create solutions for the community. Participants meet weekly to learn and apply skills like human-centered design and rapid prototyping to their creations. At the end of the year, teams enter the Oregon MESA Day competition hosted at Portland State University.

Spark Locations

Spark locations provide youth with safe places to learn, innovate, collaborate, and create through paid, out-of-school training opportunities. Spark helps youth grow their skills, become confident problem-solvers, and gain hands-on experiences.

Spark on 7th

Spark on 7th opened at 22 W 7th Ave. in Eugene, Oregon in June 2021 as a central youth innovation hub for Lane County youth. As a youth-focused space, youth from our programs originally helped to create the branding for Spark on 7th, painted murals, and built picnic tables for the outdoor area.

Spark at Booth-Kelly

Spark at Booth-Kelly opened in the Booth-Kelly Center in Springfield, Oregon, in June 2023.

Program Name & Branding

We wanted our new program and subsequent locations to be student-centered from the beginning. In early 2020, a team of South Eugene High School freshmen worked with our team and a local industry mentor to pitch their idea, and we couldn’t be happier with what they came up with. Thank you to Jeyla, Ashley, Grace, and Nova for your hard work!

“Through several weeks of brainstorming and development, we came up with the name the program name and branding. We thought this conveyed our intention of the space which is to focus on the engineering aspect and to “spark” inspiration in the youth of our community. When designing our color palette, we thought that having bright colors, but also lighter, more subtle tones would help the space feel like somewhere people can create and think with limitless possibilities.”

Community Use of Spark Locations

Our fee-for-service offerings include no-school day workshops, birthday party rentals, and private events. Any income generated from these fee-for-service offerings is reinvested into our programs to help us serve those who need our programs most.

Community event at Spark on 7th

Private Events & Corporate Team-Building Workshops: Host your next team-building event or meeting at Spark on 7th! Group events are limited to 50 people. Pricing starts at $500.

Birthday party at Spark on 7th

School Field Trips: Schools can schedule field trips for their students to experience Spark on 7th, enjoy a hands-on activity, and learn. Field trips are limited to 30 youth. Contact us to learn more!

3D printer in action

No-School Day Workshops: Workshops are scheduled on no-school days as a child-care alternative for Middle and High school-aged youth. Pricing starts at $45 per youth. Check our calendar for upcoming events.

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Industry Informed

Our industry partners help to prepare youth for life after high school by outfitting our Spark program with industry-standard tools and equipment, providing mentors, hosting summer interns, and so much more!

Endless Mileage Project News Coverage

April 4, 2024

The Agency worked with Endless Mileage to create new tree tags that display athletes’ finishing times. The Endless Mileage is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering sustainable environments and programming that inspires the next generation of track and field athletes to break barriers. Read more!

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Meet Mars, our March Youth Highlight!

March 26, 2024

Mars’ pronouns: Any Meet our STEM Superstar, Mars! While enrolled in the Migrant Education Oregon program at Hamlin Middle School, Mars learned about Connected Lane County’s BIPOC STEM program, Invention Club. Mars participated in 2021, and using limited materials, her team created a catapult to launch an item into a target. Mars’ group won first…

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December Youth Highlight: Minh & Thu

December 12, 2023

Introduction to SparkMinh and Thu bring so much creative energy to Spark programming. The twin sisters joined the after-school Invention Club at Spark on 7th in the fall of 2021, learning various machines and workflows and expanding their STEM skills. STEM InvolvementAt MESA Day, the end-of-year statewide STEM competition held at Portland State University, Minh…

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Youth Highlight: Parker

September 18, 2023

Parker’s Journey at Spark on 7th Meet Parker, a talented young entrepreneur! His journey from high school to the inception of his clothing line, Honyx LLC, is nothing short of inspiring. Parker’s introduction to the world of manufacturing technology came during his senior year at Willamette High School. It was then that he discovered the…

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Invention Lab 2023

August 17, 2023

Our Invention Lab is more than a summer program – it’s a transformative experience that empowers high school youth to stretch the boundaries of technology and creativity.

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Every month, you'll receive updates about events, opportunities for youth, and ways you can partner with us.

Interested in sponsoring this program? Contact us at info@connectedlane.org.

Would you like to contribute to helping us grow our Spark program? Donate Today!