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STEM Scout pilot program

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While I tend to think in terms of what would be considered "old methods or materials", I still believe in the premise of character building, leadership development and self-reliance. STEM projects benefit the knowledge base of the individual and can do so without the inference of anyone else other than the instructor. How does science, technology, engineering and math develop one's moral compass, duty to God and country, helping other people could conceivably be stretch and torqued to fit a bit. What about servant leadership development? I guess I just don't see those premises promoting what made the scout program what it was and now seem to be stretching even further into a lab/classroom development program that for the most part I would think experimental life lessons of the boys would want to shy away from. Sure we can stretch these basic learnings into the scouting program, but why? They will get a lot more of that in the academic education setting. One does not need character, leadership and self-reliance to be a good scientist, technician, engineer or mathematician. It would help these people to have a non-academic program that would enhance those developmental dynamics to make them more well-rounded, like maybe scouting.

 

Stosh

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SKEPTIC If you want a program like STEM fine go start your own group but no way in h*ll does it have anything that can be called scouting. You old farts who are too lazy or overweight to go hiking, camping, kayaking, should retire from scouting and go start a science club for all the little boys too afraid of going into or learning about the outdoors. And National wonders why scouting continues to be in a continuous shrinking spiral. What a joke.

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SKEPTIC If you want a program like STEM fine go start your own group but no way in h*ll does it have anything that can be called scouting. You old farts who are too lazy or overweight to go hiking' date=' camping, kayaking, should retire from scouting and go start a science club for all the little boys too afraid of going into or learning about the outdoors. And National wonders why scouting continues to be in a continuous shrinking spiral. What a joke.[/quote']

 

 

And you consider this comment to be Scout Like? Your sarcasm and vitriol towards professionals in blanket statements, and your attitude that every change made by the program is bad is simply not reflective of the Scouting program that I grew up with, and see for the most part still on the unit level. I do not need to defend my scouting record to you, and I challenge you to explain where the comment about laziness and such applies to me, or many other scouters of my vintage.

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More interesting: is this a "back door" for girls to enter the program at cub and Boy Scout ages? Frankly I could use a few more youth who "get" the science behind map and compass before I tray to teach it.

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While I tend to think in terms of what would be considered "old methods or materials"' date=' I still believe in the premise of character building, leadership development and self-reliance. STEM projects benefit the knowledge base of the individual and can do so without the inference of anyone else other than the instructor. How does science, technology, engineering and math develop one's moral compass, duty to God and country, helping other people could conceivably be stretch and torqued to fit a bit. What about servant leadership development? I guess I just don't see those premises promoting what made the scout program what it was and now seem to be stretching even further into a lab/classroom development program that for the most part I would think experimental life lessons of the boys would want to shy away from. Sure we can stretch these basic learnings into the scouting program, but why? They will get a lot more of that in the academic education setting. One does not need character, leadership and self-reliance to be a good scientist, technician, engineer or mathematician. It would help these people to have a non-academic program that would enhance those developmental dynamics to make them more well-rounded, like maybe scouting. Stosh[/quote'] Because you are focusing on the morally straight more then the mentally awake park. And this program neglects the physically strong aspect.

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Science, tech and math are and have always been part of scouting, but within the framework of the scouting methods. Camping, merit badges, etc... The onset of scouting was not to replicate school, nor was it to even provide additional school opportunities. It was to provide something uniquely different from the classroom. while I support the concept of STEM, and associated groups focusing on it, I do not think think it belongs as a subset of the BSA any more than it already exists within the merit badge programs or the use of the STEM in scouting. Scouting is not school.

 

Recently there has been much discussion about the "numbers" of kids involved in scouting. I personally feel it is because we have tried to hard in the last few decades to compete with other options instead of being the BSA. I am not talking about the religion and gay controversies, I am talking about trying to provide the same activities for BSA as they get at other places instead of focusing on what makes the BSA program unique. Tough to find pre-teen and teenage boys who do not enjoy building forts, lighting fires, using knives and axes. Maybe that makes my 44 year old self an old curmudgeon wanting to go back to the good ol days, but I think of it more as maintaining what makes BSA unique and not trying to compete. If KFC tries to compete with taco bell by offering tacos, eventually they cease to be a chicken place and become just another taco stand. That doesn't mean the BSA shouldn't evolve with the times, but it should stay true to its core, and the BSA is not school.

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I find it strange that in the area where I live, there are a lot of people who pay good money to participate in outdoor clubs and educational opportunities that deal with agriculture, forestry, nature and other purely outdoor activities. They also pay for it for their children as well. There was a recent article in the newspaper, with pictures and everything about a new program the school was developing in the area for youth. It looked remarkably like a standard scout hike incorporating a bit of 10 plants and animals. The parents and students raved about how great it was.... Duh!

 

Let families do what they do best, let the schools do what they do best and have BSA stick with what it does best. I'm just not seeing that happening with today's focus in Scouting and it's doing a lot of harm to it's effectiveness and tradition.

 

"Because you are focusing on the morally straight more then the mentally awake park. And this program neglects the physically strong aspect." - StOut717. :) A bully can be mentally awake and physically strong. While a balance is promoted in BSA, Leaving out the morally straight part is not something I want to promote while volunteering for the BSA. There are a lot of people today saying that Public Schools are neglecting the moral compass and they're seeking alternatives to that program as we speak. Private schools and homeschooling are becoming quite popular, at least around here. It generally runs 20-25% of my scouts are home/private schooled. Has anyway for the past 15 years. They get plenty of STEM, but they seek more of the moral/social/leadership development of Scouting. Don't see any reason to just add more STEM to that. What they get in the STEM area elsewhere far exceeds anything BSA is going to develop.

 

While there's nothing wrong with a heavy dose of STEM in the appropriate programs, I just don't see the focus of BSA as it has been historically as an effective vehicle for it and seems to be kind of counter productive to their goals.

 

Stosh

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STEM is and has been a part of BSA. We just didnt call it STEM. I work in IT most of my colleagues do not have the knowledge required to pass the digital technology merit badge.

 

Radio Merit Badge you have to understand and comprehend the electromagnetic spectrum. understand schematics, that is some serious Science and technology.

Personal management. (Eagle required) Accounting = Math, ROI, Compound interest calculations.

Environmental Science ( Eagle Optional) SCIENCE botany, biology ecology.

Orienteering as noted before how does a compass work? Why. If your a SM and a scout asks you how does a compass work. Is your answer based on science? if it is your teaching STEM. Follow up GPS how to they work. why did GLONASS start up and why is the EU building Galileo ? leads into Citizenship of the world (Eagle required)

 

I do not think we need a separate program to BSA for lab class room only scouts. That's what school science clubs are for.

 

I totally agree that BSA should be scouting first with STEM as part of merit badge / advancement.

 

A few years ago the US Navy ran an advert that i particularly liked. the ttag line was.

US Navy - Because rocket science is a lot more fun when you have rockets.

 

That's what BSA does now. or could do within the existing program.

 

 

If your position is that BSA should not have STEM at all; then you are not preparing your boys for the men that will need to be. They will not be prepared for life outside scouting.

 

And isnt that the goal preparing the next generation to lead?

 

 

 

 

 

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More interesting: is this a "back door" for girls to enter the program at cub and Boy Scout ages?

 

I don't understand this question. This program is not the boy scout program, it's an alternative like Learning for Life. Is Learning for Life. a back door for girls to enter the program?

 

I actually don't understand any of this. All the "concerns" brought up by this program are also brought up by Learning for Life, but where is the fuss about it?

 

We can have legitimate discussions about how STEM should be presented in the boy scout program (and some good points have been made here), but STEM Scouts as presented by the news program and the STEM Scouts website has nothing to do with our program.

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I don't understand this question. This program is not the boy scout program' date=' it's an alternative like Learning for Life. Is Learning for Life. a back door for girls to enter the program? .[/quote'] To my knowledge LFL does not open every meeting with the Oath and Law like this program proposes to do. For what it's worth, BTW, ethics is an integral part of successful STEM, so learning it in the context of scouting makes sense. The existing program could do just that ... but only serve less than half of the primary school population who need it.

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To my knowledge LFL does not open every meeting with the Oath and Law like this program proposes to do. For what it's worth' date=' BTW, ethics is an integral part of successful STEM, so learning it in the context of scouting makes sense. The existing program could do just that ... but only serve less than half of the primary school population who need it.[/quote']

Hmm. I didn't see the bit about the oath and law, you are right about that. It still however appears to me to have more to do with the Explorer program than the traditional scouting program:

 

Mission

 

Using experiential activities and interaction with STEM professionals, the goal of the STEM Scouts program is to encourage the natural curiosity of young minds and their interest in STEM fields. It is hoped that their growing knowledge will translate into the STEM-related careers that are so crucial to our country’s future economy. While the program focuses on future careers in STEM, it is ultimately designed to be challenging, thought-provoking and, most importantly, fun.

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From website http://stemscouts.org

 

"Become a STEM Scout today and let your curiosity take flight. We’ll connect you with a nearby Lab unit for your grade level, and you’ll be on your way to meeting new people, learning new skills and inventing and discovering new things. The cost of $150 for the year provides the tee shirt, lab coat, safety glasses, backpack and some supplies."

 

Wow, no hassle. Reasonable yearly cost stated upfront, no fundraising. Open to all kids (well in pilot program area), simple and focused. Now don't ruin it by making it expensive ("Let's have a National STEM jamboree and it will only cost $$$ each"), time-demanding, and overly-restrictive. Oh and keep it FUN.

 

In the Volunteer area, I saw no mention of background checks and youth protection training..

 

IMO, our schools should be doing this, i.e.,after-school academic programs, Old Schiff was in a Chemistry Club back in the day. People will eventually correct this and STEM scouts will fade away. .

 

My $0.02,

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I searched out a STEM thread to get some background on the program as our our pack is going to support it. Wow, I'm shocked at the negativity towards the program. Where do I start with what seem to be some ridiculous biases against the program?

 

I see the STEM program as a supplement to the base program. I don't think anyone is arguing for it to become the program. At least in our pack it will be an extra something for the boys to achieve. I liken it to the belt loop/pin program on steroids. I suppose those speaking against STEM felt the Academic portion of the Academics & Sports program had no value because it wasn't outdoorsy? Frankly the unspoken fear here is that some feel this will attract nerds and not campers. To the guy who expressed concern about this being an opening to allowing girls, in what decade are you still living?

 

And let's be very clear about something, the stemscouts.org site that keeps getting referenced above is not affiliated with BSA in any way. The BSA program can be found at http://www.scouting.org/stem.aspx. The BSA STEM program has all the normal protections and guidelines in place.

 

I'll also direct everyone to the BSA Mission and Vision Statements. They talk about values, not activities. Scouting is not all about hiking and camping.

 

For years proponents of scouting have pointed to certain famous ex-scouts as examples of what scouting has produced, possibly no person more so than Neil Armstrong. I don't know about you, but it may not get any more STEMy than him or any of the dozens or more scouts who became astronauts. Or what about the at least 5 Eagle Scouts who won Nobel Prizes in Science?

 

 

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The STEM Scouts program being run in Knoxville is indeed an official BSA pilot program and is run by the BSA's National STEM Directors: http://stemscouts.org/pilot-program/stem-scout-staff/ The program has the same aims as the rest of the BSA, and even uses many traditional BSA methods, including the Scout Oath and Law. http://stemscouts.org/pilot-program/stem-scout-aims/

 

While the BSA STEM awards (nova/supernova) surely overlap topics with the pilot program, they are programatically separate.

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Program is supposed to be fun and interesting so it attracts boys who can then be guided to be better people and better citizens who are mentally and morally fit. Team athletics was a huge part of early Boy Scouting, with some troops having two or even more teams - many patrol teams - competing in Boy Scout leagues. Baseketball, with its smaller teams and suitability during Winter weather, was especially popular. My preference is for a stronger outdoor program, but anything that gets boys firmly in a patrol gives Scouting better access to those boys.

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