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STEM Scout pilot program

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Garden State Council (Wetampton, NJ)

That's Westhampton. And I didn't know there was a Garden State Council, evidently the Southern NJ Council and Burlington County Council merged two years ago and they didn't tell me. More camps soon to be on the chopping block, I assume.

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First, if you are in Scouting to deliver the Aims and Mission of the BSA, then reaching only 8% of the youth is unacceptable.  STEM Scouts has been designed to reach a different demographic and has done so in the Great Smoky Mountain Council.  Theexpansion of the pilot will determine if that is the case in other areas.

 

Second, the standards and policies of the BSA is established by volunteer committees.  People like those on this forum.  Likely, some serve on national committees.  It is not the professionals who make the policies.

 

The BSA has developed better programs, has more and better trained adults, has had advertising campaigns, and the trend continues with declining membership.  Baden-Powell said something to the effect that you bait the hook with the bait that the fish like rather than the bait the fisherman likes.  The youth are not taking the traditional bait very well despite doing it better and better.  If we want to reach more youth, we must have different kinds of bait to teach the values of the Scout Oath and Law.  Otherwise, it is very likely that the BSA will shrink to the point that it ceases to be viable.

 

Lastly, on using the name 'Scout' or 'Scouts', if the BSA does not defend that name whenever they find that it is being used by others, it will lose the ability to protect it.  That is simply a legal need.

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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

My local council (Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council) was asked to be one of these pilot counciles, and said no. It was going to cost the council around $300,000 to do it (one full time professional plus equipment), and that would have taken away from the traditional program. However, I thought it was going to be run out of the Learning for Life side of things (like explorer posts).

 

The STEM Scout website says that the program is going to be run in schools, and follow the scout oath and law (they will recite the Pledge, Oath and Law at the beginning of every meeting). But my understanding is that like LFL, there will be no membership restrictions. So if atheists are fine in STEM Scouts, which is following the oath and law, that would imply that the oath and law doesn't exclude atheists? Where does that leave the rest of the BSA on their stance that atheists are not capable of following the oath and law and so must be excluded?

  • Upvote 1

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Rick, thanks for the informative additional data and excellent analysis.

Let's suppose some of these STEM scouts do develop outdoor skills so they can construct outdoor field labs. Especially, let's say that lab work involves hiking and camping independently in labs of 8, including the occasional week at a BSA camp, and some natural leaders among the girls in the lab rise to the fore, becoming effectively 1st class scouts (the concept not the patch). Where does this leave the O/A in the context of its exclusion of girls for membership?

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It would seem to me that since STEM Scouts is not part of Boy Scouts or Venturing, there is no issue as to the OA membership.  They would not meet any joining requirements.

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Rick,  The way things have been presented here in the first pilot council, this is a BSA program, not LFL.  Thing may have changed, but I heard of such.  Membership will count towards the traditional numbers,  and all membership standards of the BSA apply.  As Vol stated, this has no bearing on the OA as this is not part of the Boy Scout program.

 

As of right now there is no advancement program, but I understand this is something they are working on.

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Our council is one of the pilot programs.  I watched the presentation to our council and it looks really interesting.  I may start a "lab" unit myself.  I see it as something totally complimentary to boy scouts.  They said that 85% of the stem scouts are new to bsa in the original pilot, so I don't think it is pulling away from traditional scouting.

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Rick,  The way things have been presented here in the first pilot council, this is a BSA program, not LFL.  Thing may have changed, but I heard of such.  Membership will count towards the traditional numbers,  and all membership standards of the BSA apply.  As Vol stated, this has no bearing on the OA as this is not part of the Boy Scout program.

 

As of right now there is no advancement program, but I understand this is something they are working on.

Interesting. Our UC was at the presentation, and he said that it was under LFL, and the membership standards didn't apply. I can't find an answer either way on the STEM Scouts website.

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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

My brother lives in one of those councils. He says the effort to push STEM is sooooo great he can't find any information about any decent workshops or events anywhere.

 

As with most things pushed down from above, it is ill-conceived, poorly planned and vaguely executed.

Edited by Mozartbrau

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Mozartbrau, This was just announced last week.  They still have to get the staff in place, and if they do it like they did in the Great Smoky Mountain Council they will have to build out a "Vortex", a mobile lab, though I believe national is going to help with that.  IMHO they still have months before the program will be up an running in these new councils.

 

 

https://stemscouts.org/stem-mobile-lab/

 

Bzg39HdIQAABWWo.jpg

 

STEM-097-_AP_6032.jpg

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I looked at the STEM Scouts web site and it seems like National itself isn't quite sure whether this is a "traditional" or LFL program.  Take a look at the FAQ (https://stemscouts.org/frequently-asked-questions/) and I think you will see what I mean.  They have the Scout Oath and Law; Chartered Organizations (I don't think LFL has those, but I could be mistaken), and it says it is "a pilot program of the Boy Scouts of America."  Usually when LFL is involved, they are careful to say it.  Plus, they are using the word "Scouts" which I don't believe they do for LFL programs.

 

On the other hand, they are including girls starting at Grade 3, up through Grade 12.  And at the same time they are including some outdoor activities.  ("STEM Scouts is different from regular scouting in that outdoor activities are only a portion of the activities and not the main focus.")  If this becomes a nationwide program and is successful, isn't it going to seem increasingly illogical that Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts is male-only?  (Not that I advocate that, but at some point the inconsistency may be too much to justify.)

 

So in a sense this may be neither a fully "traditional" program or an LFL program, but a "third way."  If that is the case, I wish National would be more up front about it.  The participants in this program may not care, but there are a lot of Scouters out here who do know the difference between a traditional BSA program and an LFL and will be wondering which one this is, if either.

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Why would one need the Oath and Laws for a program of science and education?  I didn't need to promise anything when I went to school.  Just show up, learn, and get my diplomas..... 

 

LFL  and STEM are learning programs, not development programs.

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Why would one need the Oath and Laws for a program of science and education?  I didn't need to promise anything when I went to school.  Just show up, learn, and get my diplomas..... 

 

LFL  and STEM are learning programs, not development programs.

I think that's the whole point. If you read the FAQ I think it is pretty clear that this is not just a "learning" or "educational" program but is also an effort to have a "Scouting" program (or at least many of the elements of a "Scouting" program, and using the name "Scouts") using STEM as the emphasis rather than outdoors.

 

The FAQ includes this, for example:

 

STEM Scouts follows the Scout Oath and Law with the goal of producing men and women who are leaders, display confidence, realize their skills and limitations, are respectful of others’ opinions, are problem solvers in all aspects of life, look for opportunities to serve others, are good citizens, and demonstrate integrity in all phases of their lives. Each meeting will open with the Pledge, Scout Oath and Law.

Notice leadership, service, citizenship, integrity, and the Scout Oath and Law. It's not just learning about STEM.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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I'm 64 years old, I've had enough indoor schooling....  Heck, I had enough of school when I was in the 7th grade.  I went to school because I had to, not because I wanted to.  On the other hand, I've never needed an excuse to head out into the woods.  I really don't need to know all about the bullet trajectory physics when it comes to stalking and downing a deer from 20' away.  I don't need to know if I have a proper line poundage when I horse a 8# northern into the boat on my ultra-light fishing gear.  It doesn't make one bit of difference if the tent is canvas or nylon when I'm sound asleep.

 

All I know is that the Dutchman's Breeches and Blood Root are in full bloom, and the wild strawberry patch is looking good for the new season.  I have a ton of other flowers blooming, but those are the one's I've planted.  They are just for show.  The real flowers are those that come free when you talk in the woods.

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So I read this in the comments of the scouter magazine blog:

 

Yesterday I submitted that question through the Contact form on the STEM Scouts website, This was the response I received from an official at the Great Smoky Mountain Council:

“Thank you for your interest in STEM Scouts. It is a fully inclusive program like Exploring and Learning for Life.â€

 

Still not an official answer (it's second hand). Why can't national get this topic right??? Put it in the FAQ or something! Or is it they just hope the question doesn't come up?

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