Spark

Spark is a Connected Lane County program bringing community, education, & industry together through innovation, education, and hands-on career-connected learning. 

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Programs and Services

Invention Lab Youth at the Student Showcase

In June 2021, Spark on 7th opened with its first official program, Invention Lab: a five-week, paid experience for high school students to learn skills in the invention process, build technical skills, and gain experience in human-centered design. The goal of Invention Lab is to empower generations of creators, inventors, and leaders in addressing complex issues. For this summer program, students were tasked with creating devices to monitor air quality and CO2 levels in indoor spaces.

Youth presented their inventions to the public on the last day of the program. Not only did they work together to create a working invention and prepare professional presentations, but they also created many friendships and learned to stretch their skills. One day a week was dedicated to enrichment activities including connecting the youth to the outdoors and learning about Afrofuturism.

Invention Club focuses on empowering students to become inventors and to create solutions for the community. Two cohorts of participants attend weekly meetings hosted by advisors and mentors to apply skills like human-centered design and rapid prototyping to their own invention projects. Participants form teams and at the end of the year, each team can enter the Oregon MESA Day competition hosted at Portland State University. Invention Club, including the costs of the trip to Portland, is completely free to students and families.

 

This year we had two Invention Club cohorts attend the MESA Day Showcase at Portland State University on May 20, 2022. The cohort from Willamette High School took second place in the high school division and the team from Hamlin Middle School took first place!

 

Please contact Justin Thibedeau (justin@connectedlane.org) with any questions about Invention Club.

the Agency youth working on a project together

The Agency is a blend of education and work experience in a paid position. This opportunity was extended to previous Invention Lab participants and summer interns who were recognized as taking on intellectual challenges with focus, assertiveness, and a strong sense of responsibility. The first cohort of the Agency consists of 10 interns who meet weekly at Spark on 7th for the full school year. The Agency experience kicks off with interns learning the ins and outs of the tools, machinery, and possibilities within Spark on 7th. From there, the Agency interns apply their new and existing skills toward completing projects submitted by local businesses and nonprofits.

 

This year, the first cohort of the Agency has completed projects for Threadbare Print House, Eugene Symphony, Food for Lane County, the City of Eugene, and EWEB, among others. Check out some of their work in the Student Projects section below.

 

Have an idea for a project for the 22'-23' cohort? Please contact Justin Thibedeau at justin@connectedlane.org.

With the creation of Spark on 7th, we added fee-for-service offerings to generate income for reinvestment into our programming and to engage the community at large. Our fee-for-service offerings at Spark on 7th include birthday party rentals and private events.

 

Birthday Party Rentals: Birthday parties are limited to 10 children. Party-goers will have a two-hour window to experience Spark on 7th, enjoy a hands-on activity, and celebrate. Birthday party rentals start at $300.

 

Private Events & Corporate Team-Building Workshops: Group events are limited to 50 people max. Pricing starts at $500.

Birthday party at SparkLab
Rent Spark on 7th

In addition to rentals and private events, we also offer full-day and two-day workshops scheduled on no-school days for Eugene 4J School District, Springfield School District, & Bethel School District. Income generated from these fee-based workshops will be re-invested into our programming to help us serve those who need us most.

Be sure to check the Spark on 7th calendar below, follow us on social media, or join our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest events.

Spark locations, such as Spark on 7th, provide youth with a safe place 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 opened at 22 W 7th Ave. in Eugene, Oregon in June 2021 as a central youth innovation hub for Lane County youth.

Learn more about Spark on 7th

Program Name & Branding

We wanted our new program and subsequent locations to be student-centered from the beginning. Over several weeks, 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.”

Coming soon! Spark at Booth-Kelly will open a the Booth-Kelly Center in Springfield, Oregon in Spring 2023 as another central youth innovation hub for Lane County youth. Not only will all existing Spark programs be continued at this facility, this facility will also serve as a Youth Workforce Center for our Elevate program that will support students in job searching, mentorships, industry tours, and other career-related learning opportunities. Donate to help us bring Spark at Booth-Kelly to life!

Learn more about Spark at Booth-Kelly

Industry-informed

Our industry partners help to prepare students for life after high school by outfitting Spark on 7th with industry-standard tools and equipment, providing mentors, hosting summer interns, and much more!

Our Partners

Get in Touch

Sponsorship & Partnership Inquiries

Interested in sponsoring our Spark program?

Please contact Heidi Larwick at heidi@connectedlane.org for information.

Media Inquiries

Please contact Becky-Jo Samples at beckyjo@connectedlane.org.

Donations

Interested in supporting our Spark program? Donate Today!

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In the News

Read all the great things being said about Spark!

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