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Speak to me of this STEM Scouts program...


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#1 SouthPoleScout

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 11:02 PM

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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#2 WAKWIB

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 12:03 AM

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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#3 RememberSchiff

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 04:52 AM

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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#4 qwazse

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 06:01 AM

Here's a recent update on the program http://blog.scouting...ng-total-to-20/

Not to be confused with the STEM NOVA awards program: http://blog.scouting...ng-total-to-20/
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#5 SouthPoleScout

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 08:27 PM

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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#6 thrifty

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 08:22 AM

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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#7 Beavah

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 12:01 PM

 

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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#8 qwazse

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 12:04 PM

... 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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#9 SSScout

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 08:05 AM

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....h?v=j-zczJXSxnw , or the Millenial Bridge  https://www.youtube....h?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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#10 SouthPoleScout

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 12:23 AM

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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#11 Phrogger

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 01:51 PM

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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#12 qwazse

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 10:33 AM

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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#13 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 10:52 AM

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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#14 Stosh

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 08:22 PM

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


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#15 ParkMan

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 08:48 PM

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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#16 Phrogger

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 08:59 PM


Just throw in a little "maker" stuff. It doesn't have to be super structured. My son loves to make stuff and more of that would sure hold his interest.

Edited by Phrogger, 04 April 2017 - 09:01 PM.

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#17 pchadbo

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 07:48 AM

OK, I have a friend who is running a STEM Lab here in the Beautiful Daniel Webster Council in NH. 

 

Couple of clarifications:

This is NOT a traditional Scouting program.

This is not designed for the traditionally "scouting kids"

This is a co-ed program for grades 5-12

This is all STEM based

this is more for the kids that say "camping? ewwwww"

It is a program for those kids who are STEM inclined already and to use the Scout Oath and Law to instill values in them while doing STEM stuff.


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#18 CA Scout Mom

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 02:29 PM

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.

Southpole Scout, -- how do you get "tons of interest" in that?  How do you get that interest?  Do you have a big troop already?  We're in an area that has been aging so the demographic tends to be older empty-nesters because housing prices are so high young families can't afford to move in.  And, we're not getting a lot of new Scouts, even from our feeder pack, which is pretty healthy.  There seems to be a concern that when my husband and I move on, that they feel the troop will lose its rudder and implode.  I don't think that will happen but parents don't want to step up.  They want to go to troops where they can drop off or participate in a limited fashion but not lead.


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#19 4CouncilsScouter

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 05:13 PM

To give a little insight,

 

Over the summer at Philmont Training Center, I got to talk to the NOVA specialist from the National Service Center and several professionals who oversee STEM Scouting at a council or national level. This was their general explanation:

 

Traditionally, Scouting has prepared youth through outdoor and high adventure settings. However, we've learned through programs like Exploring and Venturing that we can still accomplish this goal without a monthly campout or a week at a summer camp. The STEM Scouts program was the brainchild of former Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock who wanted to reconnect youth who may not be interested traditional Scouting programs but still want to be part of an organization that promotes timeless values like the BSA. Thus, STEM Scouts was born. By substituting the outdoor component of traditional Scouting programs with that of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), we can reach out to an growing segment of American youth. Currently, the program is in the pilot stages and is being operated by only a handful of Scout councils.

 

My two-cents on the idea is it's redundant. We already have Exploring posts (serving high school and college age youth) and Exploring clubs (serving middle school age youth), and Exploring units are encouraged to center themselves around a career group, e.g. Engineering, Skilled Trades, Health Care, etc. I feel like STEM Scouts is reinventing the wheel here when we have a program serving a similar (if not identical) purpose. Again, my two-cents.


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