Two trends are apparent in the historical data on our science clubs: we are offering more minds-on science activities and many more of them are done within the context of long-term relationships. The same group of volunteers works with the same group of children for an extended period of time. The target for clubs is generally eight meetings per semester and four-six per summer.
As the chart to the right illustrates, our number of clubs went from 5, four years ago, to 17 this past year. In 1995-96, two were of an extended nature and three met only once or twice; in 1998-99, 15 (that is, 88% of the total) offered a continuing personal relationship. We are practicing what we preach about the importance of such long-term commitments.
Because of this, it is difficult to graph the numbers we are so often asked for. The charts to the left and below are two ways of looking at the same data. The upper one illustrates overall numbers for our hands-on science programs: counting each participant at each session. Since the same groups met several times, however, these numbers can be deceptively high. The lower chart shows numbers of participants when each individual was counted only once, regardless of how often each participated. Since many volunteersand even more childrenwere repeaters, these numbers can be deceptively low. One child, for example, may have participated in a fall-semester club, an after-school community center club, a spring semester club, and a summer club. We are unable to conceive of a clear way to combine both kinds of data, so we've simply put them in two formats. The "truth" lies somewhere in the middle!