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48 minutes ago, clivusmultrum said:

I think STEM is overrated. There are STEM this-that-or- the-other in their schools. I’m watching the kids glaze over at all the extra homework activities that go with a lot of the merit badge work. It feels like we are just hooking on to a hot topic while neglecting our core appeal.

I know zip-a-dee-doo-dah about the STEM program. Please suffer me one question and one thought. Once the latter is out there I will be at my quota for the day.

1. Is there anything offered in the schools or elsewhere that's attached to an outdoor and character building organization like Scouts? 

2. For an entire segment of the population STEM and bookish things are what they do, at least in part. I raised 2 boys and 2 girls. One of each would do traditional Scouting, though they didn't for obvious reasons. The other two can and did "light" outdoor adventures but an all OUTING scenario was daunting and pretty much undoable. My youngest son has since become and enthusiast, but was a bookish boy (excessively), loved Legos, solo sports like Fencing, Archery and Wrestling and did a lot of deep thinking. One of the twins has CMT Disorder, which stands for Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disorder. She was supposed to be in a wheelchair by the time she was a teenager. She has beaten all the odds and has and continues to travel the world. From my limited understanding, something like STEM could be the honey that draws them in, opens them to a world of the outdoors and slides in character building, traditions, camaraderie, tinfoil dinners, Dutch oven cobbler, knife skills, lashing, reflector oven biscuits and dodgeball. Oops. I said that which is verboten. Please don't ban me...  

I would like to know more about STEM, but do understand the point you're making.

/s/ I.G. Nernt

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, ThenNow said:

I know zip-a-dee-doo-dah about the STEM program. Please suffer me one question and one thought. Once the latter is out there I will be at my quota for the day.

1. Is there anything offered in the schools or elsewhere that's attached to an outdoor and character building organization like Scouts? 

2. For an entire segment of the population STEM and bookish things are what they do, at least in part. I raised 2 boys and 2 girls. One of each would do traditional Scouting, though they didn't for obvious reasons. The other two can and did "light" outdoor adventures but an all OUTING scenario was daunting and pretty much undoable. My youngest son has since become and enthusiast, but was a bookish boy (excessively), loved Legos, solo sports like Fencing, Archery and Wrestling and did a lot of deep thinking. One of the twins has CMT Disorder, which stands for Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disorder. She was supposed to be in a wheelchair by the time she was a teenager. She has beaten all the odds and has and continues to travel the world. From my limited understanding, something like STEM could be the honey that draws them in, opens them to a world of the outdoors and slides in character building, traditions, camaraderie, tinfoil dinners, Dutch oven cobbler, knife skills, lashing, reflector oven biscuits and dodgeball. Oops. I said that which is verboten. Please don't ban me...  

I would like to know more about STEM, but do understand the point you're making.

/s/ I.G. Nernt

So, the BSA has two or three different threads for STEM, all undergirded by the highlighting of STEM related topics throughout the Handbooks, Awards, and Advancements...

https://bsastemnova.org/#:~:text=Officially the NOVA program was,of BSA from its creation.

1.  Cub Scouts, Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts:  a series of STEM based awards called the NOVA and Supernova Awards

https://www.scouting.org/stem-nova-awards/awards/about-nova/

2.  A program with separate units called STEM Scouts

https://stemscouts.scouting.org/

https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2015/05/11/understanding-the-difference-between-stem-in-scouting-and-stem-scouts/

3.  And the not-so-strong push for Explorer Units to be STEM career-based

https://www.exploring.org/activity-library-category/us-department-of-education-career-clusters/stem/

I am a NOVA and Supernova counselor...have been since inception (10 years ago??)  I have had one Cub Scout come to me to earn the award.  I did push it on our Webelos AOL den when my son was there... after the den had finished AOL program in late Nov, they had "nothing to do" (LOL) so I went through the program with the den. 

Scouts are interested, but have little to no bandwidth for ANOTHER PROGRAM 😜

P.S.  Supercool bling!!!

https://www.scoutshop.org/nsearch/?q=Nova

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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As someone with a STEM degree, I considered getting involved with the program when I returned to Scouting — at least in theory, I am the sort that “should” be a NOVA/Supernova Counselor… but I had a hard time getting excited about doing it, and so never got around to it.  I wonder if that same sort of issue affects scouts.

That said, I think an approach — if the program itself is going to change, shrink, etc. — is to fold more into some of the existing merit badges.  I actually really like the point made in this thread that the distinction between some of the “trades” merit badges and STEM is sometimes not that clear.  As someone trained as a chemist, I agree.  Infusing a bit more of the science and engineering elements in some of the trades merit badges (my daughter just took Welding MB so I saw it first hand) could benefit them, and strengthening some of the STEM content in some of the other more “traditional STEM” MBs like chemistry or forestry or soil and water conservation could benefit them as well.  It would potentially make both categories of MBs a bit harder, but could benefit those that pursue them.

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I'm a Nova and Supernova counselor and my assessment is that they are good to have on hand, but not what the kids are interested in. At the Cub level my Pack tries to do at least 1 Nova  year to provide exposure to STEM, the Scouts like it because everyone without a Nova gets a new patch (the Scouts with a Nova are blahzay as they only get a pin for the patch). 

 

Considering that the program is set up like Merit Badges I sort of expect this to eventually get absorbed into Merit Badges or at the BSA Scout level turned into Merit Badges eventually. 

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I'm an engineer so I value STEM but I do not want to see a focus on STEM in Scouts BSA.  There is no shortage of STEM programs, focus, and push in school and home.  Let Scouts be about other things.

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Posted (edited)

Alfred Ely Beach High School, Georgia, an example of a STEM Explorer Post

...twenty-five Medical Explorer Post students will participate in CRISPR (gene editing) Classroom’s Meet a Scientist program. In so doing, the Explorers will gain (1) an improved awareness of biotechnology careers, (2) a better understanding of the current possibilities and the problems in the industry, (3) a deeper appreciation for the real power of the scientific method... This group of Medical Explorers from the Memorial Health Medical Explorer Post and the A. E. Beach High School Medical Explorer Post will be the first high school students in Georgia to be introduced to CRISPR.

More at source link

https://www.savannahtribune.com/articles/savannah-students-first-in-georgia-to-be-introduced-to-crispr-gene-editing-technology-careers/

Edited by RememberSchiff
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On 5/26/2022 at 7:58 PM, RememberSchiff said:

Alfred Ely Beach High School, Georgia, an example of a STEM Explorer Post

...twenty-five Medical Explorer Post students will participate in CRISPR (gene editing) Classroom’s Meet a Scientist program. In so doing, the Explorers will gain (1) an improved awareness of biotechnology careers, (2) a better understanding of the current possibilities and the problems in the industry, (3) a deeper appreciation for the real power of the scientific method... This group of Medical Explorers from the Memorial Health Medical Explorer Post and the A. E. Beach High School Medical Explorer Post will be the first high school students in Georgia to be introduced to CRISPR.

More at source link

https://www.savannahtribune.com/articles/savannah-students-first-in-georgia-to-be-introduced-to-crispr-gene-editing-technology-careers/

I think this sort of reinforces what some other posters have commented concerning how a niche subset is drawn to this. It's amazing that there is a 25 member Explorer Post; however, this sort of goes along the lines of the indoors kids doing indoors kid stuff. This would have blown my socks off if it had been the Senior Patrol of some random Troop. 

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