CAUSE teens explore an inlet, seining for animals

Community And Urban Science Enrichment

The Community And Urban Science Enrichment (CAUSE) program is dedicated to celebrating the energy and creativity that Camden City teens bring to the mission of the Center while empowering them to become environmental and educational leaders in the community.

The Community And Urban Science Enrichment (CAUSE) program is a unique, 5-year science education and internship program for Camden youth in grades 8-12 that empowers them to become environmental and educational leaders in the community. Thanks to the generosity of many individual and institutional donors, Camden teens participate in the program at no cost to themselves or their families, and even get paid after completing their 9th grade year.

CAUSE teens learn by doing. Each year, they take field excursions to places such as the beach, wetlands, forest, or mountains for hands-on field work and techniques training. They visit other aquariums, zoos, and science museums to learn from a broad range of professionals. As they progress CAUSE teens learn increasingly advanced STEM topics, develop sophisticated professional and leadership skills, and have extended opportunities to practice those skills in real life.

“This program is a life changer, something I couldn’t replace with anything else. Students gain knowledge, not only about marine biology, but to be themselves, speak up for themselves, and challenge themselves. Apart from the drama of high school, they shape themselves into a future of prospect and success. You will push yourself forward and never stop. These lessons are golden and you never forget them. It’s like riding a bicycle, though it takes a lot of hard work to reach this potential.”

CAUSE teens give back by leading summer camps for Camden children, participating in environmental stewardship and community service projects in the Camden community, and working with Center staff on educational programs at Adventure Aquarium.

The CAUSE program includes training in: 

  • Advanced STEM topics including marine biology, ecology and oceanography 
  • Teambuilding 
  • Public speaking 
  • Creative and professional writing 
  • Inquiry-based learning and teaching 
  • Workplace etiquette and professionalism 
  • Interview preparation 
  • Resume and cover letter writing 
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion and justice 
  • Conflict resolution 
  • Financial literacy 
  • Nutrition and wellness 

We accept applications for the CAUSE program in October & November each year.  Contact us for more information. 

*We will be accepting applications beginning in August.*

CAUSE staff and teens prepare to kayak the Delaware River

8th and 9th grades students who are Camden residents and enrolled in a Camden school are eligible to apply for the CAUSE program.  Students must remain in school to continue participation. 

The CAUSE program is entirely funded by donors so there is no cost to students or their families. 

We accept applications in the fall each year.  Applicants are required to submit a character reference from two of their teachers and participate in an interview with a parent or guardian and CAUSE staff. 

It’s okay if you’ve struggled in school or haven’t had time to participate in a lot of clubs or sports.  We accept a wide variety of students as long as they are interested in learning about science and the environment, giving back to their community, and making a commitment to the program and their peers.  

The CAUSE program requires a significant commitment after school, on the weekends and over the summer.  As a CAUSE participant, you’ll be expected to:

  • Participate and complete science training sessions.
  • Attend weekly training meetings and workshops to develop personal and life skills.
  • Assist, and eventually lead, summer camp program for children grades K-8.
  • Assist Center staff with after-school programming, community service projects, outreach programs and educational programs at Adventure Aquarium.
  • Participate in learning excursions/activities designed to increase scientific knowledge and knowledge and skills to work with children.
  • Meet the requirements to advance in the CAUSE program.
  • Complete additional duties as assigned by the supervisor.

Beginning at the end of 9th grade, CAUSE participants are paid minimum wage.