The following ideas are intended to specifically create a year-round STEM program encouraging the completion of STEM related awards including the Nova awards (at all levels) and the Hornaday Award. It is also intended to bring together the many STEM based Merit Badges and programs already in existence but by doing so in a cohesive, rather than incidental manner.
While many of these programs have names such as “XYZ Day” or “Camp”, etc. they are in fact intended to be delivered in a variety of formats using much the same content. Once content is designed, it can be repackaged and reorganized as either a one or more single day events, a weekend event, part of a week long event or even spread over the year as a part of the unit annual activity plan.
As appropriate, the Crew would potentially engage in these events as participants, staff or both.
#AWESOME STEM Exploration Week 5: July 7-13
Spend a week exploring the natural science world taking day trips into Philmont’s backcountry, exploring and experimenting in wild New Mexico. Discover the mechanics of COPE adventures, chemistry of the prairies flora and fauna, and habitat of the Philmont waterways and eco systems. Climb to new heights as you challenge your skills with rock formations; climbing, rappelling and identifying the composition of the landscape. Experience the STEM behind the rebuilding of the Philmont trail system after the Ute Park Fire of 2018. Sign up now for this intense adventure. #AWESOME STEM Exploration is for youth ages 14-20. Parents and family can attend a variety of other programs including STEM-Tastic Scouting: Inspiration, Imagination, and Innovation where they can learn how to bring STEM activities back to their Scouting units all year long! https://www.philmontscoutranch.org/ptc/conferenceso/awesome-stem-exploration/
Bring Back Eagle Encampment
Not STEM related, but I think wholly appropriate. I envision a possible alternating yearly schedule with STEM Encampment.
Disaster Response Day
This idea was spawned by the Emergency Services session put on recently at Scouting University. The point here is two fold. One is to have fun learning about real life emergency preparedness and disaster relief. The second is to start building actual contacts, processes and training that would allow Scouting units to coordinate with local government agencies and to actually serve to their communities in ways more significant than just highway trash cleanup. There is actually precedent for this though you have to go back several decades to find Scouting/Community interaction of this sort. This was also a topic during the last hurricane here in Central Florida. Many Scouting units wanted to help, but had absolutely no idea where to reach out and volunteer. In some cases, individual units had parents with the knowledge and connections needed, but there was no way to propagate or coordinate that information last minute. Wilderness First Aid, CPR, etc. would be appropriate training offered at this event.
JOTA/JOTI/JOTT annual event
Jamboree On The Air has been going on for some time and is a world wide event every October. It has since expanded into Jamboree On The Internet and Jamboree On The Trail. The idea would be to host “stations” or “events” all over the District/Council. Some could be as simple as a “take over” of a local Internet Cafe, or instructions for doing a Unit level event such as a lock-in, etc. As I was leaving NCAC, we coordinated several HAM radio stations around the Council for Scouts to visit.
La-No-Che Summer Camp STEM program
I’d like to suggest gearing it towards the Nova and Hornaday awards rather than just random events of STEM.
Natural Sciences Encampment
Same as STEM Encampment except where STEM Encampment focuses mostly on “indoor” STEM activities, this one would focus on “outdoor” Natural Sciences. La-No-Che would be a suitable site for this. Note: I am actively discouraging bring computers and other high tech to La-No-Che and would prefer to make STEM Encampment the forum for that. Personally, I find it appalling that Pioneering is no longer one of the first three merit badges every Scout earns and feel the traditional Summer Camp should focus on outdoor activities. Besides the natural science related Novas, the Hornaday award should be target material for this event.
Roman Engineering Day
Think old school “Scout Show” days where Scouts demonstrate scouting skills by building things and solving problems. The twist is doing so using solid, well understood engineering techniques of Ancient Rome.
I want to completely and unabashedly steal the entire program run book from Steve Eisenger’s Eagle Encampment, including location. Yes, I have reasons for this location over La-No-Che, but that can be discussed separately. The focus will be on completing one or more Novas and/or SuperNovas on site throughout the week.
This is something NCAC was starting when I left. I need to follow-up and see how it is going now two years later. This is something the Lake District STEM Trailer could be a part of. Sort of a mobile version of it. This was a dedicated area (in this case, the local camp, Camp Snyder) with equipment for welding, computers, 3D printing, etc. being permanently setup. This could be used for a variety of events, but one concept was that it would be available to local units to schedule use of for Novas, Merit Badges, etc.
This exists already. How can we use it effectively?
This is a concept I’ve not seen work yet, but keeps coming up in many forums. Along with the STEM Shack and STEM Trailer, I’d like to explore this more. I need to reach out to folks in NCAC again to see if they ever got anywhere with this idea.