Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
click23

STEM Scout pilot program

Recommended Posts

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.

I stand corrected about stemscouts.org not being affiliated with BSA. However it appears that pilot program is still different than what BSA is rolling out nationwide. The national program (STEM/nova) is much more integrated into the pack/troop structure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The current STEM/Nova program is just fine. BUT I share the other concerns that resources should be on scouting first and STEMas part of scouting.

This program seeem to flip that on its head. Scouting should not compete head to head with US First usfirst.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everything should be just fine. Something new to get kids more interested in the scout program. How can that be a bad thing? Cub packs are folding left and right around my area. Thanks to the "decision", my son and other boys are called gay, or faggots at school if they discuss scouting openly. Without cubs to refresh the troops, the troops will likely follow. We need something to put a more modern face on the organization.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i don't think the kids calling each other names as a great deal to do with the decision.

 

 

I think he was talking about a consequence of "the" decision, not a cause, and a consequence that itself has consequences.

 

My troop was called N888er-lovers because we sponsored and camped with an all-black troop from Watts.

 

Scouting was called "Pinkos" and "Comsymps" by the John Birch Society because we raised $$ for UNICEF, had integrated units, and offered a "World Brotherhood" Merit Badge.

 

We live or die on the quality of the program we offer.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What might BSA do if the Patrol Method were important to BSA?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think he was talking about a consequence of "the" decision' date=' not a cause, and a consequence that itself has consequences.[/quote']

 

And "gay" was being thrown around in the 80s. But, then again, with uniforms designed by Oscar De-Larenta, who could blame them? I still wore my ODL to school every Februrary 8th. Mamma taught me if there was a suspicion that I was mock-able, I had to man-up and remove all doubt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was a swimmer in high scool. Yeah I never heard I was gay for wearing speedos or shaving my legs 😒

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Latest news from their Facebook page:

The National Executive Board approved expanding the STEM Scouts test pilot into additional councils! In the coming days, we will have a great deal more information to share.

 

This happened last week, from what I understand there will be 10 councils that this program will be rolling out to this year.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Latest news from their Facebook page:

The National Executive Board approved expanding the STEM Scouts test pilot into additional councils! In the coming days, we will have a great deal more information to share.

 

This happened last week, from what I understand there will be 10 councils that this program will be rolling out to this year.

Which Facebook page are you seeing this? Because it's not on the page I follow, which I believe to be the one representing the approved national STEM/Nova program.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

https://www.facebook.com/STEMScouts

 

most recent post as of Feb 16, 2015

 

"The Vortex and the STEM Scouts team made it home with great news. The National Executive Board approved expanding the STEM Scouts test pilot into additional councils! In the coming days, we will have a great deal more information to share. Thank you all for the warm wishes"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My thoughts:

 

1) While STEM does have a place in Scouting, "OUTING is three-fourths of ScOUTING." (William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt) if there is no "outing" it aint Scouting.

 

1a) Maybe the STEM push is for national to learn some math and get the quote correct in the BSHB;)

 

2) Folks at national need to remember the mistakes of the 1972 Improved Scouting Program that took the "OUTING out of ScOUTING." Because BSA took the emphasis off of the outdoors, membership dropped drastically.

 

2a) Could it be that all the Eagles from the 1970s that didn't go camping are a reason why troops only need 4 camp outs a year for JTE as well as the "one and done" mentality?

 

3) If national really wants to promote STEM, do away with some of the current height restrictions on pioneering projects, emphasis doign things correctly and safely, and have some fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2) Folks at national need to remember the mistakes of the 1972 Improved Scouting Program that took the "OUTING out of ScOUTING." Because BSA took the emphasis off of the outdoors' date=' membership dropped drastically.[/quote']

 

Well, that seems to be the accepted narrative in this forum, anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sat through a roundtable STEM presentation last week. Oh my goodness. Don't get me wrong, I'm a STEM guy through and through in my career. I see science everywhere in the outdoors. But this is not science. This is cramming something wonderful into the merit badge mill. Investigate your calculator and explore the different functions. This is not boy scouts. Scouts is fun with your friends, adventure, competition, and new skills. This is a bad, middle school science program. This is pages of mind numbing requirements because they don't trust the teacher. Compare this to a robotics competition, science Olympiad, or just an advanced AP or IB class (that gives you real college credit) and I don't see many scouts wanting to do it. It's way too simple for anyone in high school and the younger scouts won't touch this unless the adults push it.

 

How about explore the mega tsunami of Lituay Bay Alaska in terms of the math behind it (how much energy is in a tidal wave 1700 feet high?), or the amount of energy required to blow the top off of Mt St Helens in terms of hydrogen bombs? Or model a trebuchet using available software and design and build one. Obviously it requires a good teacher to do a good job. If you find one then why handcuff them with stupid requirements? If you can't find one then just let the kid do his homework because that's all this is.

 

I'm not saying STEM is bad or that the BSA can't be part of encouraging STEM, it's just that this is bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This will be interesting to watch. I'm not too worried about the impact on the traditional programs because I suspect the intersection of the sets of interested kids is fairly small. Maybe it's a boost to traditional programs because it will weed out the nerds so the outdoorsmen can focus on outdoorsman stuff :). Snarkiness aside, my gut reaction is it doesn't impact traditional membership by any significant amount.

 

My local regional university, Northern Illinois is getting upwards of $600 for a week of STEM camp (http://www.niu.edu/stem/camps/index.shtml). I assume many Universities in America run something similar. If you look at the list of all their camps they have Exploring STEM through Art/Engineering/Sports/Nature/etc. Not sure how our local summer camps compete with even a regional university for kids who are interested in STEM. If a kid has interest and aptitude for STEM do you as a parent pay $300 for him to go to a scout camp to get STEM-like experiences or $600 to access University resources. If you have a girl with the aptitude the choice is made for you, at least in middle school. Not to mention at STEM camp they live in air conditioned dorms while at scout camp they are out in the heat, bugs, and dirt!

 

The national labs around here have similar programs, however, the NIU and national lab programs all seem to be one-shot (one week, one weekend, one day) kinds of programs vs. something that runs all year. Regions that have access to those kinds of resources might be able to utilize them for program continuity in a STEMScout Lab. That might be a selling point for STEMScouts, "Send your kid to STEMScouts and we'll coordinate getting them to all the cool stuff for you!"

 

I suppose the real question is whether STEMScouts will compete with in-school programs for kids time and parent's money. I think that is the tougher sell. Do I pay $150 to the BSA for a generic STEM program or do I pay an activity fee to have my kid join the HS robotics club, or JETS team or whatever else. Can I afford both? Do I really need to spend $150 to join STEMScouts and $600 for STEM Camp or just keep the $150 and be 25% of the way to the camp fee?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The newer STEM initiatives in Boy Scout and Cub Scout programs (the STEM/NOVA Awards, new merit badges such as Robotics, Programming, Digital Technology, Geocaching, etc.) are, in my opinion, welcomed additions that help keep the program current (as long as they don't totally replace the outdoor skills part of the program). It would be a repeat of the "Improved Scouting Program" of the 1970s if they totally dropped Camping merit badge in favor of a Mathematics merit badge; or if a council put all their focus on building computer labs rather than maintaining camp sites. But that's not happening - the outdoor skills part is still the foundation of the Scouting program (and "outdoor program" is still one of the key methods of Boy Scouts).

 

However STEM Scouts is a completely separate program from Boy Scouts (and Cub Scouts)... which I think is great! I heard Wayne Brock (Chief Scout) talk about the pilot programs last year and it sounds exciting. There are many ways to reach the aims of Scouting (i.e. building character, citizenship and fitness) besides just teaching kids how to pitch a tent, tie a knot, go on a hike, and cook over a fire. Some kids (and some parents) just aren't interested in those things.

 

Just as Varsity Scouts uses sports, and Sea Scouts uses nautical skills, and Explorers use career exploration, and even Venturing Crews don't have to run a camping-based program... STEM Scouts uses science and technology to reach the goals of building character, citizenship and fitness (and also teaches other important career and life skills along the way). Instead of lashing sticks together with rope, why not build a robot? Instead of woodworking and basketry, why not designing and building a website? Instead of fire building and Dutch oven cooking, why not chemistry experiments? How are these bad things (especially when the alternative is the kid sits at home and gets no Scouting experience)?

 

Now if STEM Scouts replaces traditional Boy Scouts all together, I could see outcry (it would be the BSA taking the "outing out of Scouting" again). But having a separate program in addition to traditional Scouting can't be anything but good (more youth reached, more options... Scouts could even double-dip and camp with a Boy Scout troop and do computer programming with STEM Scout lab). No one complains that an EMS or Fire & Rescue Explorer Post that doesn't go camping is bad because they've taken the "outing out of Scouting." I don't see how a STEM Scout unit that builds robots is bad (as long as they include Asimov's 3 rules for robotics in their programming). ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×