Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
click23

STEM Scout pilot program

Recommended Posts

Renax127,

 

I have a Venturing Crew full of youth who are interested in STEM but have little to no interest in the woods let alone the backcountry.  All children want to explore their world but increasingly that world involves technology derived from science and mathematics that has provided the fuel for engineers to create the new technology.  They have far less interest in the outdoors.  We have used STEM to get the youth involved and get them into the outdoors.  If we turn the paradigm around, we have no Crew because they do not want to join a primarily outdoor activity group.  STEM Scouts seems like the same hook - provide high quality STEM experiences with some outdoor activities.  It is likely that some of those youth will develop a love of outdoor activities.  However, they would never join a traditional Scouting unit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Renax127,

 

I have a Venturing Crew full of youth who are interested in STEM but have little to no interest in the woods let alone the backcountry.  All children want to explore their world but increasingly that world involves technology derived from science and mathematics that has provided the fuel for engineers to create the new technology.  They have far less interest in the outdoors.  We have used STEM to get the youth involved and get them into the outdoors.  If we turn the paradigm around, we have no Crew because they do not want to join a primarily outdoor activity group.  STEM Scouts seems like the same hook - provide high quality STEM experiences with some outdoor activities.  It is likely that some of those youth will develop a love of outdoor activities.  However, they would never join a traditional Scouting unit.

I'm sure some of them don't like the outdoors I've meet those kids too. And bar none it was the parents that didn't like the outdoors, once you can get mommy and daddy to let go or distract them and coax the kid outside they enjoy it. Now, my experience isn't universal and I don't mean it to be but the reason Scouts was started was to get urban kids into the woods, so this isn't new.   I have no problem with STEM, being an engineer but I think way too much of a kids life is already focused on what job they are going to do in the future, I don't really see the need for yet more 

 

Finally if Scouting keeps trying to be the safe everything to everyone program it seems to be determined to be they might increase membership (I doubt it) but it really won't be Boy Scouting anymore. Let the other organizations that are better suited to it do STEM or whatever else, Boy Scouts is an outdoor program and we should stick to the core business.

Edited by Renax127

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we should stick to the core business. 

 

This is basically the argument that Kodak executives made when they decided in the 80s/90s to stick with their profitable cash-cow film business instead of investing heavily in digital photography.  It nearly cost them the business and still might.

 

Ultimately this debate has nothing to do with STEM Scouts or Learning for Life or Exploring or traditional scouting.  Ultimately, this debate is about the BSA's mission.  Are we an outdoor adventure organization for youth or are we a youth development organization? 

 

The world has changed in the last 50 years.  The definition of family has changed, the definition of community has changed, there have been multiple rounds of disruptive technologies come and go, politics have changed, the demographics of the country have changed, parenting styles have changed (heck, what we used to call parenting is now called free-range parenting or some such drivel).  To assume the techniques and programs we used 50 years ago will still be effective today seems naïve.  Yet it is the default position that many people take in the face of change.  "We've been doing it this way for 100 years!  The process isn't the issue, we just aren't working hard enough!"  That works for a while but it won't last.

 

Now don't get me wrong, we'll still catch boys with outdoor adventure and we should continue to offer the traditional programs.  But, the US population has almost doubled in my lifetime, which one might assume doubles our total target audience, yet membership continues to decline. Down by roughly 40% in my lifetime.   The business model isn't sustainable. 

 

The BSA as an entity has to do two things to survive, get people to consume more of their existing product and expand their product line to develop new customers.  To exclude either is a mistake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Now don't get me wrong, we'll still catch boys with outdoor adventure and we should continue to offer the traditional programs.  But, the US population has almost doubled in my lifetime, which one might assume doubles our total target audience, yet membership continues to decline. Down by roughly 40% in my lifetime.   The business model isn't sustainable. 

 

 

It's important to understand how we study demographics. 

 

The number of live births in this country hasn't changed much since the 1950's. Therefore, the "audience" for the BSA program has remained relatively similiar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ultimately this debate has nothing to do with STEM Scouts or Learning for Life or Exploring or traditional scouting.  Ultimately, this debate is about the BSA's mission.  Are we an outdoor adventure organization for youth or are we a youth development organization? 

 

The world has changed in the last 50 years.  The definition of family has changed, the definition of community has changed, there have been multiple rounds of disruptive technologies come and go, politics have changed, the demographics of the country have changed, parenting styles have changed (heck, what we used to call parenting is now called free-range parenting or some such drivel).  To assume the techniques and programs we used 50 years ago will still be effective today seems naïve.  Yet it is the default position that many people take in the face of change.  "We've been doing it this way for 100 years!  The process isn't the issue, we just aren't working hard enough!"  That works for a while but it won't last.

 

Now don't get me wrong, we'll still catch boys with outdoor adventure and we should continue to offer the traditional programs.  But, the US population has almost doubled in my lifetime, which one might assume doubles our total target audience, yet membership continues to decline. Down by roughly 40% in my lifetime.   The business model isn't sustainable. 

 

The BSA as an entity has to do two things to survive, get people to consume more of their existing product and expand their product line to develop new customers.  To exclude either is a mistake.

All of that is pretty much what was happening back in the early 1900's, again none of this is new. As far as the Kodak thing well I'm not gonna bother with the search but there is more than one counter example. If the current business model isn't sustainable then maybe the BSA just needs to go away? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's important to understand how we study demographics. 

 

The number of live births in this country hasn't changed much since the 1950's. Therefore, the "audience" for the BSA program has remained relatively similiar.

OK.  I'll stipulate to that.  Target audience is the same size but membership is down 40%.  Still an unpleasant picture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's important to understand how we study demographics. 

 

The number of live births in this country hasn't changed much since the 1950's. Therefore, the "audience" for the BSA program has remained relatively similiar.

While I'll still stipulate to your statement about live births, why is that the only driving factor for the size of our audience? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's important to understand how we study demographics. 

 

The number of live births in this country hasn't changed much since the 1950's. Therefore, the "audience" for the BSA program has remained relatively similiar.

While you are correct about the number of live births, the number of children in the age range for scouts has grown about %60 since the 1950s. So, I'm not sure about your conclusions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know my area continues to grow in Asian population especially Indian.  We have almost no Indian presence in our council.  I think STEM scouts may potentially interest them more than traditional scouting.  Who knows maybe it will break down bariers and the will try traditional scouting as well.

 

I think the audience has changed drastically, IMHO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So what is Scouting all about?  If we look to quotes from Sir Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell:"Field efficiency, backwoodsmanship, camping, hiking, good turns, jamboree comradeship are all means, not the end.  The end is character with a purpose.† 

 

"Keep before your mind in all your teaching that the whole ulterior motive of this scheme is to form character ..."

 

So the purpose of Scouting in general is character development.

 
For the BSA, the Mission Statement is:
 
"The mission of the Boy Scouts of America 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 Law."
 
So Scouting is about values and character development.  
 
He also said:
 
“A fisherman does not bait the hook with the bait the fisherman likes, he baits it with the bait the fish likes, so it is with boys.â€
 
Camping is a means to instill those values and character but not the only means.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

So what is Scouting all about?  If we look to quotes from Sir Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell:"Field efficiency, backwoodsmanship, camping, hiking, good turns, jamboree comradeship are all means, not the end.  The end is character with a purpose.† 

 

"Keep before your mind in all your teaching that the whole ulterior motive of this scheme is to form character ..."

 

So the purpose of Scouting in general is character development.

 
For the BSA, the Mission Statement is:
 
"The mission of the Boy Scouts of America 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 Law."
 
So Scouting is about values and character development.  
 
He also said:
 
“A fisherman does not bait the hook with the bait the fisherman likes, he baits it with the bait the fish likes, so it is with boys.â€
 
Camping is a means to instill those values and character but not the only means.

 

 
Sec. 30902. Purposes
 
The purposes of the corporation are to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916.
 
Wonder what "scoutcraft" means?

That said I have no problem with STEM, Learning for life or any of that, in fact it's a good thing. It is however not Scouting and if that is the way the BSA thinks is the future then they should give up the charter and allow an outdoor/scoutcraft organization to be scouts. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So the purpose mentions character traits and values with the lone exception of "to train them in scoutcraft".  Thus, the thrust is to develop character and instill values.  Scoutcraft would seem to be a method to accomplish those goals.  That then matches with the BSA Mission Statement, Aims, and the comments of Baden-Powell.  So STEM Scouts meets the Mission Statement, fulfills the Aims, and meets the standards of outlined in the Charter with the exception of the current interpretation of Scoutcraft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So the purpose mentions character traits and values with the lone exception of "to train them in scoutcraft".  Thus, the thrust is to develop character and instill values.  Scoutcraft would seem to be a method to accomplish those goals.  That then matches with the BSA Mission Statement, Aims, and the comments of Baden-Powell.  So STEM Scouts meets the Mission Statement, fulfills the Aims, and meets the standards of outlined in the Charter with the exception of the current interpretation of Scoutcraft.

No STEM scouts does not meet that description, having an adult led class room doesn't teach self-reliance or to do thing for themselves. STEM Scouts can be a good program, sure but it isn't Scouting. We can argue this in circles all day so I'll stop there. Neither your argument for nor mine against is anything new, I'd bet that the same sort of discussion was around 100 years ago.

 

Finally I've re-read my comments and it sort of sounds like I think the BSA has abandoned the outdoors, that isn't what I think. I do however think they are pushing the indoor safe program in all of Scouting and moving resources away from the outdoor program for all sorts of reasons. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see your issue and can clarify it for you, it is also youth led. Youth are allowed to fail, it is actually part of the program. Teaches the same things: ingenuity, teamwork, perseverance, etc.

 

The program is Scouting - it was designed to be so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So the purpose mentions character traits and values with the lone exception of "to train them in scoutcraft".  Thus, the thrust is to develop character and instill values.  Scoutcraft would seem to be a method to accomplish those goals.  That then matches with the BSA Mission Statement, Aims, and the comments of Baden-Powell.  So STEM Scouts meets the Mission Statement, fulfills the Aims, and meets the standards of outlined in the Charter with the exception of the current interpretation of Scoutcraft.

I disagree. It states specifically to train them in scoutcraft as one of the purposes. It is not just a method. Second, the "thrust" is not as you say. All of the purposes are listed without quantifying any as more or less important. The mission of Scouting is fulfilled when it accomplishes ALL of those purposes.

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  

×
×
  • Create New...