Meet The Team Behind Challenge Island

Rebecca Tanag

What inspired you to become a Challenge Island Franchise Owner?

I came to a point in my life when I wanted to have my own business – to do something that I would really enjoy and which would make a difference in people’s lives. And I love to teach! Although not an educator by profession, I’ve been involved in the education ministry of my church and loved working with kids. When I was a kid myself, I’d gather my playmates and sit them in front of a chalkboard in our storeroom and played teacher to them. Being my own boss and making an impact through teaching and contributing to the community through the Challenge Island Enrichment Program are the reasons I am a Challenge Island Franchise owner. I chose Challenge Island because of its unique approach to learning:  the multi-disciplinary content of the instructional materials; lessons rooted in real-world application; concepts and activities connected with real-world places and things; introduction of new vocabulary, which is built into the context of the challenge; fun and whimsical hands-on projects that blends science and engineering concepts with arts and crafts; and the programming encourages and fosters collaboration among kids, perseverance, creative thinking and problem solving. A lot of learning in the classroom in a fun, exciting way!

Tell us about your professional background.

I have a degree in Business and have held various positions such as Executive Director of a non-profit organization that provides emergency financial assistance to active duty and retired military personnel and their families, Accounting Manager of a local lawn and garden tools manufacturer, and Contracts Administrator and Cost Analyst of an international DoD contractor.  All my teaching experience came from over 10 years of volunteer work as a teacher for primary- and junior-level kids in my church as well as homeschooling my youngest son for a year.

What have you enjoyed most about starting your Challenge Island business?

Being able to say “my company” is one thing and being able to teach the kids with engaging topics and challenges is another. I love the latter as it brings out the child in me. Along with the kids, I explore and test and get excited at the outcome! And it is my hope that kids who experienced Challenge Island will continue to have engaged curiosity that will lead them to careers in science, engineering, and technology.

Please share one of your favorite Challenge Island moments.

One of my favorite CI moments was when the principal of the school we were scheduled to do a back-to-back in-school field trip walked into one of them and exclaimed that the whole school should be able to participate in such a program. She was impressed to see ALL kids were engaged in the activity. She said they’ll have to find funds for such field trips!

What is your favorite Challenge Island “destination” and why?

Amusement Park Island; I find all its island destinations exciting and each lesson doesn’t require a lot of materials and time to prepare.

What is your favorite quote from a student, parent, or school about Challenge Island?

Whenever we do a class at a new library or a field trip at a school where no kids have heard about Challenge Island yet, the kids’s question is always, “When are you coming back?” They want more of Challenge Island! But there’s one that’s a keeper. As a child was leaving (after our workshop has ended), he blurted out, “Is that science?” referring to the just concluded class. His mom responded enthusiastically, “Yes, it definitely is!” It only proved that kids oftentimes do not notice the hearty STEM in our class because Challenge Island is fun and they enjoy it!

What schools/venues do you currently participate at?

ASEP: Dingeman Elementary, Miramar Ranch Elementary, San Carlos Branch Library, University Community Branch Library, City Heights/Weingart Library, Balboa Branch Library, Carmel Mountain Ranch Library

Field Trips: Innovations Academy, Hickman Elementary, etc.

What programs & camps do you facilitate?

After school enrichment, Field Trips/Workshops, School Break and Summer Camps, Girl Scouts, Family Nights

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