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BSA Takes STEM Out Of The Lab And Into Nature's Biggest Classroom At The 2017 National Jamboree

Press Release From: Boy Scouts of America
Posted: Friday, July 28, 2017

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is giving more than 40,000 Scouts, Venturers and Explorers a classroom encompassing 14,000 acres by offering unique STEM experiences at the 2017 National Jamboree. Taking place through July 28, the National Jamboree is filled with opportunities to learn and test STEM skills by exploring the science behind adventure and experiencing the newly expanded STEM Quest area. 

"The National Jamboree is the perfect opportunity to combine adventure and STEM to give young people hands-on experiences that are both fun and educational," said April McMillan, National Director of STEM Programs for the Boy Scouts of America. "From learning the science behind the high-adventure activities at the Jamboree to interactive activities at the STEM Quest area, STEM will be a core element of the 10-day event in the hopes that youth return home with a greater interest to learn more about these fields."

The STEM Quest area encompasses broad areas of science and technology, hitting on topics such as robotics, engineering, forensics and renewable energy. Exhibits, made possible by the BSA's partners, include:

NASA / FIRST: NASA and FIRST are giving hands-on training for Scouts looking for a jumpstart on their robotics merit badge. Participants are learning to program LEGO robots to complete missions to Mars and get up-close with some experimental robots courtesy of NASA. NASA is preparing Scouts for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse and has its Journey to Tomorrow traveling exhibit on display for the week, immersing Scouts in an out-of-this-world interactive experience.

Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS): CASIS, manager of the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, is providing hands-on STEM activities geared toward Scouts, including launching a CanSat high-altitude balloon 100,000 feet above the Jamboree site. The satellite was designed, launched and retrieved for data analysis by Scouts participating in the CASIS Space Station Explorers program within STEM Quest.

Cognizant's Innovation Hub: A unique making experience with an opportunity to earn a maker patch is available for Scouts to learn how innovation and technology can be used to create sustainable solutions to real world problems.

The MOVE Project: The mobile emergency relief program is demonstrating how technology is used to assist victims of natural disasters.

United States Air Force: The USAF STEM Team is working with youth in building cipher tools to write and decode secret messages while learning about cryptography, encryption and deciphering. They are using GPS to communicate with satellites and find hidden treasures around the STEM Quest site.

US Army Corps of Engineers: The Corps is hosting a watershed station that provides highly interactive environments for exploration of key skills.

West Virginia University: West Virginia University is offering 10 forensic science learning activities representing six areas of forensic science to STEM Quest. Scouts have the opportunity to engage in cutting-edge forensic science technology related to fingerprints, blood spatter, firearms, footwear, biometrics, and ALS (alternative light source) evidence detection.

Clay Center: The Clay Center is featuring an innovative mobile exhibit that explores the science behind the gas industry. Participants use interactive games and activities to understand the extraction of natural gas, the engineering and technology of processing it and the many uses of this important natural resource.

American Welding Society and Lincoln Electric: The American Welding Society and Lincoln Electric is demonstrating the exciting world of welding inside the Welding Trailer. Participants learn about the science of welding through hands-on activities and get a unique virtual reality experience that will simulate two welding processes.

University of Charleston School of Pharmacy: The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy is featuring opportunities to learn how to help fellow Scouts who face an allergy or asthma attack. Scouts view a simulation mannequin having a reaction to a bee sting or asthma attack and race each other at a quick recall station and more.

Returning to the Jamboree in 2017 is the opportunity for youth to earn an award for exploration in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Jamboree NOVA award is available for youth who explore fields of focus such as constellations, alternative energy sources, conservation, engineering of bridges, flood control and more. 

Jamboree events focused on inspiring future STEM professionals are complemented as the BSA's Distinguished Eagle Scout Award is given to Gregory H. Johnson, two-time NASA space shuttle pilot and CASIS President and Executive Director.  This award goes to Eagle Scouts who have achieved extraordinary recognition within their fields and have given back to their communities.

"This honor means a great deal to me," Johnson said. "The Boy Scouts of America played a big role in my life, and it's wonderful to see young people inspired and their STEM skills increased because of the organization."

STEM is an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America's program, taking every opportunity to encourage the natural curiosity of youth members and their sense of wonder about these fields. "Fostering a strong STEM education is our organization's best opportunity to boost the spirit of innovation and another way we're helping all Scouts be prepared for life," added McMillan.

More information about the National Jamboree can be found on Scouting Newsroom. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit BeAScout.org.

VIDEO: Watch Scouts explore the adventures of STEM Quest: https://www.flickr.com/photos/boyscoutsofamerica/36077075985/

Photos and videos should be credited as "Photo courtesy of Boy Scouts of America," "Video courtesy of Boy Scouts of America," or "Photo: Boy Scouts of America," "Video: Boy Scouts of America."

About the Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be "Prepared. For Life.®" The Scouting organization is composed of nearly 2.3 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and approximately 960,000 volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit www.scouting.org.

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