Updated: Nov 8
By Sidra Miller
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education plays a pivotal role in preparing young minds for the challenges and opportunities of the future. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have long been renowned for instilling important life skills, leadership qualities, and a sense of community service. However, it is equally important to examine how well these organizations have adapted to the changing educational landscape and integrated STEM into their programs.
The Boy Scouts of America, one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, has been proactive in integrating STEM into its programming. In 2013, they introduced the STEM Nova Awards, a series of awards aimed at engaging Scouts in various STEM activities. These awards provide an excellent platform for Scouts to explore STEM disciplines in a fun and interactive way. The Nova Awards cover a broad spectrum of topics, including robotics, environmental science, and astronomy, offering Scouts a diverse range of STEM experiences. Additionally, the Boy Scouts have partnered with various organizations, such as NASA, to develop STEM-related programs. The BSA-NASA initiative, for example, allows Scouts to connect with real scientists and engineers, participate in hands-on STEM activities, and gain insights into space exploration. These collaborations not only enhance the educational value of scouting but also inspire Scouts to pursue STEM careers.
The Girl Scouts have also recognized the importance of STEM education and have made commendable strides in this regard. The organization has introduced the "STEM Journeys" and "STEM badges" programs, which are designed to engage girls in various STEM activities. These programs offer a structured approach to learning STEM concepts and skills, allowing girls to explore subjects like coding, robotics, and environmental science. One of the notable achievements of the Girl Scouts in promoting STEM is their partnership with organizations like the Society of Women Engineers and the SETI Institute. These partnerships help girls access mentorship from female STEM professionals, providing valuable role models and encouragement for young girls aspiring to enter STEM fields. The "Girl Scouts' Think Like a Programmer" and "Think Like an Engineer" journeys are excellent examples of this initiative, fostering interest and confidence in STEM subjects. The "Girl Scout Gold Award" represents the pinnacle of achievement for Girl Scouts and serves as an opportunity for girls to tackle pressing societal issues, many of which are STEM-related. By focusing on STEM projects for their Gold Awards, Girl Scouts contribute to their communities and demonstrate the real-world applications of STEM skills.
The integration of STEM into Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts is a commendable endeavor that aligns with the changing educational landscape and the demands of the 21st century. Both organizations have introduced innovative programs, partnerships, and initiatives to provide young individuals with opportunities to explore and excel in STEM fields. They continue to play a vital role in nurturing the next generation of innovators and problem solvers in a STEM-focused world.
NASA. “NASA In-Person Outreach to the BSA | Glenn Research Center | NASA.” Glenn
Research Center | NASA, 23 May 2022, www1.grc.nasa.gov/space/education-
Scouts, Boy. “Cub Scout.” Boy Scouts of America, www.scouting.org/stem-nova-
SWE. “Outreach Partner Resources - Society of Women Engineers.” Swe.org, 12 Dec. 2018,