As a long-time supporter and staff member in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) I am very encouraged to hear of the growing popularity of the BSA STEM/Nova Program. From the BSA About page:
STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
STEM is part of an initiative the Boy Scouts of America has taken on to encourage the natural curiosity of youth members and their sense of wonder about these fields through existing programs. From archery to welding, Scouts can’t help but enjoy the wide range of STEM-related activities. To support this initiative, the BSA developed the Nova Awards program so that youth members have fun and receive recognition for their efforts.
We live in a time of great opportunity. The spirit of innovation can help us overcome challenges and ensure a prosperous and secure future. To seize this opportunity, we must position ourselves at the cutting edge of scientific discovery and technological innovation.
Yet our country is falling behind in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This is why many professionals and educators in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics believe the United States should do more now than ever to encourage students to enter STEM-related fields. These experts say our young people need strong STEM skills to compete in the world market. We must work together to cultivate the next generation of critical thinkers and innovators.
The Outbound mission is to increase space exploration and exploitation as a means to normal, even vital, human and societal development. To have a long-term and respected organization such as the scouting program directly target young minds with the idea that STEM is an exciting and worthwhile endeavor, I find that wonderful. What I also notice is that the names of the awards and a lot of the iconography in the BSA STEM literature links back to space and space exploration. For a great deal of the world, and obviously for the planners of this education initiative, STEM success is so often tied back to space. In a way, I think it is very telling, in regards to the instinct for human advancement. Space is where the action is. And humanity knows it.
See the STEM/Nova homepage for more information.