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I saw a facebook post/rumor that the BSA is possibly voting next month on whether to continue STEM programs. I know, it's a facebook post, far from reliable. But it sounded somewhat credible.

Anyone have anything more concrete on this?

If true, I can't say that I'd be surprised. But it also seems premature to just do away with them. More likely I'd expect National to revamp the STEM programs. The current requirements, at least at the Cub level that I've worked with, seem kinda of oddly positioned next to the adventurous outdoorsy program we're more known for. Especially post-COVID (i know it's not over, but it's better), where parents have been specifically wanting things for their kids that are more outdoors. No one wants to sit inside on a computer anymore than we have to lately.

It's a weird thing to bring kids into Cub Scouts after hyping up the outside adventure part of things, and then offer them the Nova program where the first requirements are usually to sit and watch tv shows or videos.

I've also found it hard to stay motivated to encourage the Nova program with older Cub Scouts, when the Webelos program is so much more focused on preparing scouts for troop life, getting more familiar with camping, cooking, patrol method, etc.

Edited by FireStone
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@FireStone   Haven't heard that rumor.  Was it the Program was going away in that no more NOVA or Super NOVA awards?   It could be the STEM Scouts program is what they are talking about.  IMO, The STEM scout program was another attempt to grow membership by appealing to the non-outdoors types.  These youth did not do a traditional program...basically live in the labs doing experiments.  Not sure they were even allowed to earn the NOVA awards.  I saw that their registration fee was around $200/yr.

 

Of course the flip side to this is that there will be another Eagle required MB called STEM Citizen!  😂

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52 minutes ago, PACAN said:

@FireStone   Haven't heard that rumor.  Was it the Program was going away in that no more NOVA or Super NOVA awards?   It could be the STEM Scouts program is what they are talking about.  IMO, The STEM scout program was another attempt to grow membership by appealing to the non-outdoors types.  These youth did not do a traditional program...basically live in the labs doing experiments.  Not sure they were even allowed to earn the NOVA awards.  I saw that their registration fee was around $200/yr.

 

Of course the flip side to this is that there will be another Eagle required MB called STEM Citizen!  😂

The STEM Scouts program is already effectively dead. The rumor is that the whole of the NOVA/Supernova program going away. I'm not sure if I were to simplify the cub program if the nova program is where I'd start. While I see the need to cut some stuff out, I'm not sure how they evaluate the cost benefit of such things.

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1 hour ago, malraux said:

The STEM Scouts program is already effectively dead. The rumor is that the whole of the NOVA/Supernova program going away. I'm not sure if I were to simplify the cub program if the nova program is where I'd start. While I see the need to cut some stuff out, I'm not sure how they evaluate the cost benefit of such things.

I am a Nova and Supernova Counselor, and have been for years.  I have offered program support to our PLC, District, and Council.  In my six years in this council, only our Webelos Den worked on the Supernova, and one other Lone Cub Scout completed same.

It is one smaller, unrequired layer of an extremely complex tapestry of Ranks, Merit Badges, and Awards.  There just isn't that much interest... 

Guiding them on a somewhat narrower path to Eagle is about as much as most want to pursue...

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12 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

I am a Nova and Supernova Counselor, and have been for years.  I have offered program support to our PLC, District, and Council.  In my six years in this council, only our Webelos Den worked on the Supernova, and one other Lone Cub Scout completed same.

It is one smaller, unrequired layer of an extremely complex tapestry of Ranks, Merit Badges, and Awards.  There just isn't that much interest... 

Guiding them on a somewhat narrower path to Eagle is about as much as most want to pursue...

I’ll agree that supernova is a bit superfluous. But the nova program, especially in cubs, works pretty well. 

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(sarcasm on)   What's NOVA, SUPERNOVA, and STEM SCOUTS?  (sarcasm off)

I have not had any Cubs or Scouts ever ask about NOVA and SUPERNOVA Awards. They are busy having fun and working on advancement.

As for STEM Scouts, have not met any on real life. I do know about STEM Scout who made the cover of Time, but that is about it.

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Question ... Is there an in-between?  Approaching it from a bling perspective and an excitement to learn, if a youth is excited to pursue something ... or if a troop has a special resource that can add excitement for the scouts ... a professional pilot ... a physics professor who can teach really well ... a special research labratory ... why can't BSA have a mechanism to provide the bling as recognition they did something. 

With that said, the NOVA and STEM seemed yet another path for parents to learn when they were already trying to navigate their kids thru cubs and scouts.

Couldn't the NOVA / STEM just be MBs with a collection of MBs leading to a recognition?  

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My impression is that the nova program works better at the cub level. It slots into things that adults can provide at big events (overnights, day camps, etc). Thus far I don’t see the interest as much at the troop level. 

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2 hours ago, fred8033 said:

Couldn't the NOVA / STEM just be MBs with a collection of MBs leading to a recognition?  

I think this might be a middle path. Sort of like the National Outdoor Award thing.

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/19/2022 at 2:58 PM, Jameson76 said:

Not units, not participants, not nights camping...it's cash

I have long made the argument that Scouting was in the entertainment business.

Providing fun and engaging activities while intermixing learning and leadership aspects in those activities.

A happy and engaged Scout brings his friends. And participation grows.

It just seems that my council, and apparently National, has no clue.

Math is not Scouting.

Enthusiasm is.

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56 minutes ago, SiouxRanger said:

Math is not Scouting

Neither is hiking, camping, canoeing, or an particular activity.  As you say, the program is in the entertainment business.  Children wish to explore their world  The most popular merit badges at summer camp are STEM.  So if you are trying to say that STEM activities do not attract and entertain children, then you would not be correct.   Scouting needs to incorporate STEM activities into the program in a manner to challenge those who are interested but not negatively affect those who are less interested.  It is a technique that works and attracts youth.  

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On 5/23/2022 at 8:59 AM, vol_scouter said:

The most popular merit badges at summer camp are STEM.  

I'll challenge that.  Until the last two years, I was at summer camp for 17 years straight.   

  • Most chosen - Eagle required ...  first, aid, emergency prep, camping, swimming, etc
  • Next highest - were cool rare opportunities - Small boat sailing, ATV, horsemanship, astronomy, etc
  • Basic badges - Finger carving, climbing, riffle shooting, archery. etc
  • Trades related - Welding, etc
  • Filling slots were done by some badges.  Not unpopular, but usually a good number of scouts.  Mammal studies.  Bird Studies. Forestry.  Chess.  

STEM - Were popular, but depending on which one.   People who signed up for stem usually had been thru the other badges or wanted to do a session where they earned three instead of two separate for two.   ...  Rocketry was popular.  Electronics, somewhat.  etc.  

One trouble is defining what is STEM versus what is trades or just plain old long-standing badge.  

STEM can be popular, but not really any more than others. 

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36 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

I'll challenge that.  Until the last two years, I was at summer camp for 17 years straight.   

  • Most chosen - Eagle required ...  first, aid, emergency prep, camping, swimming, etc
  • Next highest - were cool rare opportunities - Small boat sailing, ATV, horsemanship, astronomy, etc
  • Basic badges - Finger carving, climbing, riffle shooting, archery. etc
  • Trades related - Welding, etc
  • Filling slots were done by some badges.  Not unpopular, but usually a good number of scouts.  Mammal studies.  Bird Studies. Forestry.  Chess.  

STEM - Were popular, but depending on which one.   People who signed up for stem usually had been thru the other badges or wanted to do a session where they earned three instead of two separate for two.   ...  Rocketry was popular.  Electronics, somewhat.  etc.  

One trouble is defining what is STEM versus what is trades or just plain old long-standing badge.  

STEM can be popular, but not really any more than others. 

Our camp’s most popular merit badge is Chemistry.  

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