Boy Scouts Launches National Pilot of After-School STEM Program
- By Joshua Bolkan
Boy Scouts of America is partnering with schools in more than two-dozen cities and 23 states to pilot anew after-school education initiative, STEM Scouts.
STEM Scouts offers groups of 10 to 20 boys and girls STEM learning experiences through weekly meetings, monthly field trips, interaction with STEM professionals, hands-on experiments, lessons created by STEM educators and opportunities to be published in peer-reviewed journals. Students are grouped into units according to grade level (high school, middle school or elementary school), with each level including six to eight modules. Rather than the rank advancement offered by the Boy Scouts, STEM Scouts offers participation and achievement awards, while still allowing participants mentorship and leadership opportunities and the chance to develop new skills.
Among the schools selected by BSA to participate in the pilot are three from New Jersey Spencer Miller Community School, Thomas Edison School and Charles Defuccio School.
"The program is fully funded through the Boy Scouts of America and represents a true partnership with the local schools where the afterschool programs are based," said Bruce Gallager, an advisor to the STEM program and a member of the BSA's Northern New Jersey Council's executive board, in a prepared statement. "We are actively recruiting for sponsoring organizations and volunteers who would like to be part of something meaningful and help us successfully implement the program."
"STEM Scouts is a unique and inspirational program offered at an influential time in the lives of young people and critical for developing the skills needed in an innovation based economy," said David Verbraska, vice president at STEM Scouts sponsor Pfizer and president of the Northern New Jersey Council, in a news release. "STEM Scouts is providing the rare combination of teaching new economy skills to young people in underserved areas while instilling powerful personal and civic leadership values that will pay off over a lifetime. Pfizer is proud and excited to sponsor STEM Scouts which is setting young people up for success in life."
Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.