STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. These disciplines are considered by many to be the foundation of an advanced society. In many forums-including political, governmental, and academic-the strength of the STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of a nation's ability to sustain itself.
To engage our youth members in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the Boy Scouts of America has created new program initiative that emphasizes STEM in the context of the current advancement programs.
BSA's STEM initiative gives Scouts an opportunity to explore relevant skills and experiences and to be recognized for their achievements. The aim is to expose youth to new opportunities and help them develop the STEM skills critical for the competitive world marketplace. Our council is preparing itself to implement these initiatives.
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NEW STEM AWARDS - NOVA AND SUPERNOVA - NOW AVAILABLE!
The NOVA and SUPERNOVA award programs were introduced at the BSA Annual Meeting in May 2011. The awards are now officially part of BSA’s program offerings.
The NOVA Award program consists of individual activity elements in various STEM topics structured for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, & Venturers. These topics, or four NOVA awards for each program level, are designed to encourage participation and to increase interest in STEM by making it relevant and fun. The NOVA award is a distinctive pocket patch with a separate pin on device awarded for each individual topic completed by the youth, up to three pins.
The SUPERNOVA Award program is similar to the BSA Hornaday Award Program and is designed to encourage and recognize more in-depth achievement in STEM. The basic requirements include earning certain Academic Pins for Cub Scouts, Activity Badges for Webelos and Merit Badges for Boy Scouts, plus complete additional, more rigorous STEM related requirements. The Venturing requirements are based on more independent achievement and teaching activities. The SUPERNOVA awards are medals on neck ribbons.
Any Scouter or parent can help be a counselor for the NOVA awards with unit approval - there is no paperwork for this process.
For the SUPERNOVA (on all program levels), Mentors must be approved by the District Advancement Chairman or District STEM Chairman. Mentors should not be a parent or a Scout leader from the unit but an expert in a STEM related field (i.e., Scientists, Engineer, Technologists, Science Teachers, Math Teachers, etc.). Only if a Mentor is willing to work with two or more Scouts on the SUPERNOVA at the same time will the exception of a parent with a STEM background be allowed. Prospective SUPERNOVA mentors must submit a mentor application form (pending), BSA adult application form [English][Spanish], and proof of youth protection training to the district advancement chairman or district STEM chairman.
Once any of the awards are earned by Scouts, an advancement form can be filled out and submitted to the Scout Shop. The Advancement department will keep a record of the Scout's achievement on these awards. For a copy of the Advancement Report form click here. For those Scouts working on the Supernova medals, the Supernova award application can be downloaded here and turned in with the advancement form.
COUNCIL STEM COMMITTEE
A Council STEM Committee has been formed with the goal of supporting the STEM initiative and promoting STEM activities throughout the region. Dr. Nicholas Maliszewskyj, a physicist at NIST, is the chairman and James Hamlin, NCAC Assistant Director of Field Service, is the council liaison. Any Scouters interested in participating in this committee should contact James Hamlin at 301-214-9130 for more information.
The vision of this committee is to see all of our Council units engaged in some kind of STEM initiative during the program year.
By engaging our council with STEM education we are doing our part to promote excellence and our nation’s technological competitiveness in an increasingly complex world.
posted 9/6/2012 RDK