Welcome to the World's #1 STEAM Program

Where Engineering Meets Imagination©

Challenge Island® is the Official Home of STEAMbuilding® and STEAM Teams®
The Challenge Island Difference

Our Results Show in Our Awards

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Palm Tree Pillars

The Foundational Pillars of our Program that Make Challenge Island the Go-To Choice for Millions of Parents and Educators

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"To develop a complete mind, study the science of art; study the art of science; realize that everything connects to everything else." - Leonardo DaVinci

21st Century Skills

We foster the fundamental skills kids need to thrive today and tomorrow including creativity, collaboration, communication, flexibility and leadership.

Higher Level Thinking Skills

Our programs promote deep, critical, analytical and creative thinking abilities in kids which help ensure their long-term academic and professional success.

Project Based Learning

Our STEAM Teams® engage in collaborative, inquiry-based, student-driven learning grounded in real world connections and meaningful problem-solving.

Island Destinations

Whimsical island ambience combined with cross-curricular themes make the Challenge Island experience an unforgettable adventure.

Social-Emotional Learning

We foster the social and emotional intelligence children need to form healthy relationships, make positive choices and find fulfillment in life.


Research shows that a Challenge-Island-palm-tree-like ability to be flexible and strong through life’s ”storms” is far more essential to future success than IQ.

Steam Teams

No child is an island which is why kids tackle our hundreds of proprietary challenges by combining their strengths with those of a STEAM Team of friends.

Screen Free Fun

Our programs provide digital native kids the precious opportunity to connect with their peers face-to-face and discover the wonders of the world, undeterred by devices.

"One thing that makes Challenge Island a standout is what it lacks. You’ll find no screens or digital devices in a Challenge Island after-school class, camp or family night. Instead, kids working together in STEAM Teams, are encouraged to use imagination, teamwork, and problem-solving skills to come up with creative solutions to challenges using a treasure-chest full of low-tech supplies."


Award-Winning STEAM Programs

Hi, I’m Renee Allen

I want you to know that I am here for the kids. And more importantly, I want you to know that they CAN do this!

I am the Owner and Director of Challenge Island Northwest Michigan. However, at home, I am a mom to one great son, Harrison, and wife to my very patient, funny, and keeps-me-grounded husband, Reid. I grew up in Traverse City and beautiful Northern Michigan, enjoying all our wonderful outdoor resources. The outdoors are such a strong part of my memories growing up; winter skiing, forests, lakes, dunes, beaches, river floats. I love spending time with friends and family both indoors playing games & baking as well as outdoors; camping, hiking, biking, and around the campfire. I enthusiastically bring 19 years of experience in youth development and event programming to Challenge Island from time working at two separate Michigan Girl Scout Councils creating STEAM programming as a Program Director, Resident Camp Director, and Membership Director.

I am SO excited to bring Challenge Island programming to the Northwest Michigan area! The truth is, I’m pursuing my passion for bringing skill-building opportunities to kids and opening their eyes to career possibilities. I started Challenge Island Northwest Michigan to help equip kids with skills to brighten their futures and open new doors they may not have seen before. I love helping kids shine and have their own AHA moments in life.

There are kids who have not felt that true sense of accomplishment that comes from doing something you didn’t realize you could do. And many more don’t know there are careers that are both interesting and exciting every day. That’s why this is so important. Kids need spaces where they can attack challenges, make mistakes, try again, goof up, and feel a sense of accomplishment for completing a challenge they never thought they could! This is what I want to provide for each and every child that takes on a Challenge Island challenge!


STEAM + Reading = STREAM!

Combine the Magic of Challenge Island Programs with the Magic of Reading with our Bestselling Book Series!

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Challenge Island Featured in IFA Oscar Ad During the 2023 Academy Awards!


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Challenge Island is Included on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 for the 6th Year in a Row!


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Challenge Island is Included on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 for the 6th Year in a Row!


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Challenge Island Ranks #188 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top Global Franchises List


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Every Day is Earth Day at Challenge Island!


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Challenge Island in Action

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