GLOWS was founded in 2007 by the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST). With funding by the BC Innovation Council (BCIC), GLOWS became KAST’s annual program of fun, hands-on science and technology initiatives and events for children and youth in the Kootenay/Boundary region. GLOWS enhanced existing community events with added support and resources (like the West Kootenay/Boundary Regional Science Fair and summer science camps), brought new experiences to the community that would have typically been inaccessible to children and youth (such as the Birds of Prey exhibit, Community Science Celebration or Traveling Planetarium), and created unique educational events that engaged children and youth and facilitated future science and technology learning (like Quantum Leaps or RoboGames).
In 2012-13, the BCIC withdrew all funding for education within the province, and KAST lost its primary source of operational funding for GLOWS. While all other BCIC-funded youth science education programs throughout province closed completely, KAST was able to keep GLOWS alive by reducing GLOWS activities and operational funding levels. Programming took a major hit, however, resulting in a drastic reduction of services. In 2014, KAST hired a GLOWS Program Manager to begin exploring options for GLOWS that would address its operational funding shortfalls and strengthen the program’s sustainability and resilience. After much deliberation and a strong commitment to keep GLOWS going despite the lack of funding, the KAST board ultimately decided that GLOWS would work with Selkirk College to transition to become a program under Selkirk’s CEWT.
As a program under Selkirk College, GLOWS can apply to become an Actua member, strengthening GLOWS training, networking, access to resources and programming.