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STEM Scout pilot program

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Matthew I think you are missing the points others have made on STEM. In my council for example there are at least four troops where STEM makes up 90% of their programing, they camp1-2 times a year, the kids do not attend district or council camping events, and most of them have little to no basic scouting skills. While I think science MB's are just fine the STEM program is NOT scouting in any way shape or form. You can pull that bull that it " is bring scouting into the 22nd century" but that is just a false smokescreen. All STEM truly is a numbers game by National to bring boys who have NO real interest in the outdoors or scouting into the program in order to bring in more NUMBERS and more MONEY which are the only true goals of BSA National.

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In my council for example there are at least four troops where STEM makes up 90% of their programing' date='[/quote']

Well it sounds like those troops are simply not running the Boy Scout program. Perhaps they should change their charter to become a STEM Scout Lab rather than continuing as a Boy Scout Troop.

 

All STEM truly is a numbers game by National to bring boys who have NO real interest in the outdoors or scouting into the program in order to bring in more NUMBERS and more MONEY which are the only true goals of BSA National.

That's a pretty cynical and pessimistic view of the BSA's motives.

 

Perhaps STEM Scouts is a way to provide a program that builds character, citizenship and fitness to youth who are not interested in the outdoors.

 

Teaching camping skills, going hiking, knot-tying, and other outdoor skills are not the aim or objective of the BSA; an outdoor program is just one of the 8 methods of the Boy Scout program but it is not the end-goal...and an outdoor program is not one of the methods of the STEM Scout program (nor is it a method of the Cub Scout program, the Venturing program, or other BSA programs).

 

The BSA has three specific objectives: character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. The STEM Scouts program attempts to reach those goals through different methods than the Boy Scout program.

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I agree to a large degree with SMMathew. If there really are "Boy Scout troops" that go camping twice a year and spend 90 percent of their time on STEM, the fault really lies with those troops and their leaders. They are masquerading as one program while actually running another, which is not sanctioned by National. The fault does not lie with National's efforts to provide some STEM content as an add-on to the program, which to my knowledge consists of that STEM/Nova award and some non-required merit badges.

 

And SMMathew, if you are somehow surprised that BadenP is exhibiting a "cynical and pessimistic view of the BSA's motives"... well, you are still fairly new to the forums. All I'll say is, don't be surprised. And to be fair, some of the rest of us also sometimes express a viewpoint about National's motives that is somewhat cynical and somewhat pessimistic, but a few posters lead the way in that regard. Did I say that diplomatically enough?

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NJ Your critic of my post is sadly pathetic and inaccurate. The boy scout program has systematically been guided away from its outdoor emphasis over the last decade by the pencil pushers at National and, STEM is yet another example of their push to get those sedentary boys and adults with no interest in the outdoors to join the BSA. The reason, Numbers and Money and why because the numbers of boy scouts dropping out has been dramatically increasing every year since National's " dumbing down" of the program. More and more SE's are selling off council camps because fewer scouts are attending. As another infamous poster here has said a boy can now earn his Eagle without ever going camping. Many troop meetings have become little more than MB mills and many good scoutmasters have left the program in disgusted with the direction National has taken the program. So you go ahead and believe what you want but the facts do not lie and neither do the results.

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bp, (lower case used purposely) the facts are that there are far more high adventure activities done by scouts across the country than there were in years past, especially if you use percentages rather than actual numbers. We DO NOT live in the hay day of Scouting when it had no competition to speak of, and when it was really simple to go camping nearby. But, while there are units that do not give proper attention to the outdoor program, even some of those, when they do, camp at a higher level of adventure than many did years past.

 

IF, a scout actually is given Eagle without camping, then there is a major problem in that unit and council; but I suspect that is just one of the many exagerated claims coming from the "sky is falling" crowd.

 

No one can fix your obviously distasteful and difficult issues with Scouting in the past. But, it is true that your posts lean very much to the negative; and even when you have a positive comment, you tend to nullify it with more negative.

 

None of us that have our eyes and ears working do not see there are issues that need solutions in our programs and especially in certain aspects of National. But, many of the newer subjects and vocations being offered offer new perspectives and even opportunities in the outdoors. Incorporating science directly with outdoor excursions, whether hikes, camping, or on site investigations of nature is a huge step forward. Finding ways to challenge boys in today's world is a real challenge, especially if you hope to link it to the ourdoors in some manner; but it can and is being done. Can it be improved upon? Always.

 

There have always been troops that did not meet the muster so to speak in the eyes of many leaders, and even fellow scouts. But, in a world overcrowded with choices for youth and adults alike, Scouting still is a premier program, even with its numerous drawbacks and challenges that are the result of the 21st century and a changed society.

 

Just the way I see it. But I am still a skeptic, especially when it comes to "throwing out the baby with water".

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The boy scout program has systematically been guided away from its outdoor emphasis over the last decade by the pencil pushers at National

Firstly, I disagree with you that the outdoor program has been systematically de-emphasized from the Boy Scout program. The outdoors is still a strong part of the Boy Scout program. Sure, some troops out there may be missing the mark and running merit badge mills in a church basement rather than going camping or hiking (troops like this even existed in the 1970s when I was a youth). But on a national-level the outdoors is still a central and strong part of Boy Scout program (heck, it's still one of the 8 methods of the Boy Scout program, isn't it?).

 

But how does the outdoors being emphasized (or de-emphasized) in the Boy Scout program have anything to do with the STEM Scout program?

 

Complaining that STEM Scouts spend all their time in a lab and don't go camping is like complaining that Sea Scouts spend all their time on a boat and don't go hiking in the mountains. Different programs have different aims and methods. Boy Scouts camp; STEM Scouts might not.

 

STEM is yet another example of their push to get those sedentary boys and adults with no interest in the outdoors to join the BSA.

The outdoors is a central method of the Boy Scout program... however it is not an aim of the Boy Scout program nor is it even a method of the overall BSA organization.

 

So, you are probably correct here. The new STEM Scouts program is most likely a way to get boys and adults with no interest in camping and the outdoors to join the BSA. And what's wrong with that? ​The mission of the BSA is (and I quote) "to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law." Nowhere in the BSA's mission statement (or even the aims/goals of any of its programs) is anything about developing outdoorsmen or getting kids to go camping. As Baden-Powell said: "A fisherman does not bait his hook with food he likes. He uses food the fish likes. So with boys."

 

It sounds like you want to the BSA's mission statement to be something like "to prepare young people who like the outdoors to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime by developing camping skills and instilling the values of the Scout Oath and Law." Well I hate to break it to you, but that's not what the BSA is striving for (never has been)... their mission is: "to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law" I think STEM Scouts fits into that mission (just as Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturing, Sea Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and Explorers do).

 

If you think that Boy Scouts don't get out and go camping enough, that's a separate debate... but I don't see how what Boy Scouts do (or don't do) has any bearing on the merit or value of a completely separate STEM Scout program.

 

 

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BP, I know, the sky is falling. With you the sky is always falling. As we all know, I have my own issues with National, and some of them overlap with yours. The BSA's membership issues have a lot of different causes. Some come from within, some from societal issues. But I really don't think that a couple of optional technology programs are causing the problems. As others have said, the outdoor emphasis is still there.

 

As another infamous poster here has said a boy can now earn his Eagle without ever going camping.

 

Someone can say it, but that does not make it true. The Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class requirements all include going on camping trips, and Camping is an Eagle-required merit badge. For several years in the 1970's, the statement was technically true, though I am not convinced that there were any significant number of Scouts that made Eagle without going camping.

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To BP's defense a bit, BSA did de-emphasise the "OUTING in ScOUTING" with 1972's Improved Scouting Program. From 1972 - 1979 you could earn Eagle without a single night of camping.

 

IMHO, today we are seeing some of the repurcussions of that era. I know of at least one troop that has leaders who earned Eagle during that era, and they rarely camp.

 

Another piece of the de-emphasis of the outdoors is the fact that you only need to do 4 camp outs a year to get Bronze level JTE.

 

On the concept of STEM Scouts and why some are upset. BSA is really big on "branding." BSA went after the Baden-Powel Scout Association and made them change their name to Baden-Powell Service Association because it conflicted with the BSA's brand. Ditto with other organizations that used the term "Scout." (FYI BSA did sue GSUSA in the 1920s of the word "Scouts") . When most folks , especially those of us who have been around a while, hear the word Scout, we think of the outdoors.

 

STEM Scouts has nothing to do with the outdoors. It is more in-line with Learning for Life and Exploring than Scouting. Let's face it, if any other organziation was to come up with a program like this and call it "Scouts," BSA would go after them. In fact, wasn't there a science based youth program out in CA a few years back that used "Scouts" in their name and BSA went after them?

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It is more in-line with Learning for Life and Exploring than Scouting. Let's face it' date=' if any other organziation was to come up with a program like this and call it "Scouts," BSA would go after them. In fact, wasn't there a science based youth program out in CA a few years back that used "Scouts" in their name and BSA went after them?[/quote']

 

Yes, Hacker Scouts. Not a shining moment for the BSA.:(

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STEM Scouts has nothing to do with the outdoors. It is more in-line with Learning for Life and Exploring than Scouting.

 

This is the meat of the issue. LFL and Exploring ARE scouting. Different division, different goals, same organization. Traditional membership has been dropping for more than a decade. We may need these other programs soon to subsidize the traditional program's existence!

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From 1972 - 1979 you could earn Eagle without a single night of camping

While technically true, do we know of any Scouts from the '70s who earned the rank of Eagle and never spent a night in a tent?

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So are you saying the BSA shouldn't maintain a separate "Sea Scouts" program because they already have sailing and aquatics-based merit badges and opportunities in Boy Scouts?

Sea Scouts is an outdoors program.

 

Should the BSA scrap the separate "Varsity Scouts" program because they already have sports-based merit badges and high adventure options available through the Boy Scouts?

Yes, it's idiotic and basically a Mormon program.

 

And what's the point of maintaining a separate "Explorers" program when we already have career exploration opportunities through the Boy Scout merit badge program?

You do not understand that Exploring is not a BSA program and is not administered by the BSA, nor has it been for over 20 years. They are not Scouts, it is not Scouting.

 

I don't see the harm in having STEM Scouts (or "Farm Scouts" or "Business Scouts" or "Sea Scouts" or "Air Scouts" or "Drama Scouts" or whatever) in addition to traditional Scouting.

I'll agree with you there. As I said above, STEM Scouts should be in addition to traditional Boy Scouts (not in place of it or to the detriment of it). If a council can't balance it's programs and they start to neglect key programs or disproportionately support others, then that's a problem. And shame on the Scout Executive for not prioritizing and seeing the "big picture" when it comes to managing people/time/money/resources.

But if a council is able to adequately support Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts and Venturing and Sea Scouts and Varsity Scouts and Explorers and the Order of the Arrow and summer camps and day camps and also balance STEM Scouts in there too, why stop them?

Mission creep is a term that already exists for a reason, your argument in favor of Nerd Scouts is it.

 

(On this day I claim and retain rights to the term Nerd Scouts)

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With the new forums I could not log into my account, click23, so I have a new one.

 

"An after-school STEM education program, piloted in East Tennessee by the Great Smoky Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts of America, will now be offered in other parts of the country. STEM Scouts, which encourages interest in science, technology, engineering and math through fun hands-on learning and interaction with STEM professionals, will be expanding to 12 other Boy Scouts of America councils starting this fall."

 

Crossroads American Council (Indianapolis, IN)
Circle Ten Council (Dallas, TX)
Sam Houston Area Council (Houston, TX)
Greater St. Louis Area Council (St. Louis, MO)
Denver Area Council (Denver, CO)
Connecticut Rivers Council (East Hartford, CT)
Middle Tennessee Council (Nashville, TN)
Austin, Capitol Area Council (Austin, TX)
Garden State Council (Wetampton, NJ)
Pathway to Adventure Council (Chicago, IL)
Catalina Council (Tucson, AZ)
Samoset Council (Weston, WI)

 

http://bsa-gsmc.doubleknot.com/document/stem-press-release-april-15-2015/149169

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From the Scouting blog, as linked to by robert:

 

STEM Scouts are boys and girls in third through 12th grade.

So isn't the BSA competing with itself to a large degree with this new program? Last time I checked, the BSA already had programs for that entire age group except for girls under the age of 14. (Or 13 and finished whatever grade it is for Venturing.)

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