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SouthPoleScout

Speak to me of this STEM Scouts program...

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I keep hearing this STEM scout thing being brought up.... I've seen it in discussions all over the place including here.

 

Does anyone have any solid information about this?  Is it a BSA program or yet another split off concept?

 

Is the program really up and running or is this one of those concept ideas that isn't quite flying yet?

 

I ask out of curiosity only.  My kids would run screaming into the woods if I tried to sign them up for something so obviously academic.

 

Please share any links, resources, or personal experience...  thanks

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I can't speak from any personal experiences, and I've never heard of members of our troop attending the council STEM events that have been going on the last few years. 

I personally don't think it's that great of a departure from the Scout program in general. STEM stuff has been a part of the Merit Badge progam forever. I don't think the intent is to somehow use it as a replacement for other activities we associate with Scouting. 

While not that detailed or informative, the link I'm sharing does show the types of activities our council provides for several STEM camps that are held during the year. These are held at our council camping facilities.
https://www.hoac-bsa.org/stem

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About 20 units nationwide.

 

Is it a mutation of Merit Badge universities? or

Is it our attempt for government and business STEM $$ grants (Girl Scouts jumped on this opportunity)?    or

Is it the future of scouting with techcraft replacing scoutcraft, no membership restrictions, no Class-A uniforms, no advancement, and back in public schools?   or

Is it a boondoogle?

 

https://stemscouts.org/

 

In my unit, interest in STEM meritbadges is nil. IMHO, they are worn out from the schoolwork in the Eagle required merit badges. 

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Yep, I see this going nowhere in my locality.  Especially not at the cost.  Kids can take STEM stuff at school, through after school programs, clubs, at local businesses and about 30 other sources.  This would just be one more in that mess.

 

Now, offer program where they can have adventures and go places without their helicopter parents... we get tons of interest in that.

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I just had a conversation with a college age eagle scout the other day and he expressed that he did not like camping at all.  I know that all of the scouts don't like all of the activities that they participate in.  I like that the eagle badges emphasize the ideals of scouting but the other badges can cater to individual preference.  I just suggested that our troop participate in a nuclear science badge opportunity that is coming to our area soon.

 

I'm confident that scouts will teach my son many things.  The appreciation of the outdoors being only one of many.

 

I'm not familiar with that pilot program but I was looking at the NOVA/STEM details recently and in one year, without even knowing it, my son has already gotten the merit badges necessary to complete the requirements for each nova module.  He'll just need to do the extra research.

 

STEM has an impact on our daily lives including scouts.  It has given us the tents, packs, rifles, bows, etc.. that we use all the time. 

 

I was recently given a few old tents that have aluminum poles and need assembled piece by piece.  I don't think the tents are usable but thought the scouts should put them up anyway.  we can check them and I don't think most of the scouts have ever put together a tent that didn't have fiberglass poles.  Maybe it would make them appreciate what they have more.  One of those "when I was your age.." moments.

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Now, offer program where they can have adventures and go places without their helicopter parents... we get tons of interest in that.

 

Yah, @@SouthPoleScout, I hear yeh.

 

Sometimes we chase da fads a bit, eh?  Remember "Soccer & Scouting"?   :p   Or BSA Varsity Teams?

 

I'm an old curmudgeon and remember Baden-Powell's admonition that Scouting should never "trench upon the work of the schools".   Partly because we don't have da expertise, eh?  And partly because boys aren't clamoring for more school.   We can't compete with First Robotics; not sure why we'd waste resources tryin'.   First Robotics can't compete with us in da outdoors and citizenship area.  Better to be partners than competitors.

 

At da same time, I reckon a lot of boys found their future career or hobby through the MB program.  We're pretty good at connectin' geeky lads with HAM radio and rockets and pinewood-car-design.  I've taken Aviation MB scouts out flyin' since we developed da EAA Young Eagles program, and I know at least a few found aviation careers.  In its own way, Scoutin' has been on da forefront of the practical, non-school science, engineering and technology stuff (math not so much).  That's boy-stuff, eh?  We should keep doin' that, drawin' on partners.

 

Can we do somethin' more focused?  I dunno.  Career Exploring has always been hit-or-miss, eh?  We've done OK when it comes to action-oriented posts like da Law Enforcement or Fire/EMS groups.  Not so well when it comes to other career areas because of what yeh point out... there's other groups doin' it better.  

 

STEM Scouts is a pilot, runnin' mostly in Tennessee under the direct supervision of da folks who are developin' it.  They're now tryin' to scale it to pilot sites in different parts of da country.  That seems to be slow-goin', so it remains to be seen whether STEM scouts will have legs when it gets a bit further away from its creators.  Who knows?  Yeh could imagine a more tech-focused youth program gainin' some traction,.  We should try these things out as long as they don't detract from our traditional programs, though I'm still not convinced it gets to our character/citizenship goals.  

 

The key will be whether yeh can get da volunteers and resources to run it.  Science equipment is more expensive than a dutch oven, eh?

 

Beavah

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... The key will be whether yeh can get da volunteers and resources to run it.  Science equipment is more expensive than a dutch oven, eh? ...

Depends on how often the PL melts the DO. :p

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Half of all science is the naming of stuff, so we can talk about it.  I had a friend in Scouts (you out there, Henry?)   who half jokingly explained to anyone who would listen that all plant science could (and should) be divided into "big green plants and small green plants".   Sycamore trees and moss were aberrations of this lexicon.

 

Mad Science helps kids get into science.  The "Galloping Gertie"  CONSOL Energy bridge at The Summit can teach about sympathetic resonance. One could learn about resonance  by watching the Tacoma Narrows bridge shake itself to pieces https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-zczJXSxnw , or the Millenial Bridge  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obWZ61zcDsU    in London throw people about, but what better way to teach about such phenomena than to live it at the National Jamboree?  Wish someone had caught a video of CONSOL rockin' that first day in 2013 as 8,000 Scouts tried to cross the CONSOL bridge to the Central Area from Camps A and B...

 

Can we teach Scouting in the lab?  Some of it, but certainly not all of it.   IMNSHO, I think Scouting is meant to be 6/8 "outing"  .

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Its been my experience that kids - not just boys - have a lot more fun when learning isn't structured.  I know the herd I currently work with would much rather be outside where they can be loud, run loose, & get muddy even if they are doing physical work (like breaking down summer camp).  They would pick that weekend of hard work over an afternoon inside - even if it was a fun based chemistry lab.

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It doesn't have to be like what the schools do. In cubs we made a simple radio with some copper wire and cardboard...it was really neat and the kids loved it. They don't do that kind of thing in school. Geocaching, model rockets, drones, amateur radio, aviation, these activities fit right in to the scouting program without being too "academic." I understand the reasons for sticking to core activities like fishing and camping, but a little STEM thrown in might be just the thing to keep some of these techhie boys (like mine) invested in the program.

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I'm in a symposium on health literacy of k-12 youth in distressed communities, and a retired doctor is approaching the problem of community health using after-school STEM clubs.

 

I can see how a scouter might see how rolling out STEM scouts might serve the needs of his/her community.

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Zero interest in our Troop. The boys who are interested are already doing it elsewhere in other programs and do not see why they should do it in scouts as well. Some very disappointed parents who were STEM types.

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If anyone is doing any STEM scouting in my neck of the woods, I am totally unaware of it.

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There's STEM scouts and there's having a STEM program in the troop. I knowould of our economy STEM Scouts group in the district. A,few packs and troops have some kind of STEM program. In our troop on 70, we have hlaf a dozen scouts pursuing the STEM awards.

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