Finding something new

I was researching the other day about various things Boy Scout and Cub Scout related. With my volunteer positions, it happens that way. I do double duty and sometimes I end up covering a lot of ground when I start researching one thing. I often end up finding one thing after another and start wandering from topic to topic.

On this particular meandering discovery, I found something that truly peaked my interests. I was trying to find out some additional information about Cub Day Camp in our area. I was not going to be making the decision on what we were doing as a Pack, but it would be nice to have some educated feedback in the discussion. With my own health issues, this was going to be important to me simply because I was going to need to have some say in the heat of the days and how long I was out in it if I was going to be a leader volunteering during the days to go with the boys.

Anyway, in my searching, I found a chart that proved to be very insightful and helpful that was put out by our council, the Sam Houston Area Council. It was a list of the various things that they would be working on at Day Camp divided by cub scout rank (Tiger, Bear, Wolf, and Webelos). It appears to be a way to help unify the various day camps across the council so that they are on a level playing field and the boys have pleasurable experience across the board. It makes perfect and logical sense in my mind. From a planning stance it makes even more sense because it give us as den leaders something to not work on over the next little while unless we need to due to a boy aging up to the next rank before day camp occurs. If we do work on these things, they are likely to have a rather boring camp experience.

It was while I was looking over this chart that I found something that I had not seen in my previous experience with the Cub Scouting awards.

The emblems were pretty self explanatory, but I had not specifically seen them used with any of the Cub Scout groups. However, this did not mean that they were not being used with the Webelos aged boys. It was the STEM award that really caught my eye. I had never seen it before. It was so new to me that I started researching it to see if I could find out what it was. There was also something referencing NOVA awards in the actual listing of the various things the boys should be working on during Day Camp. That too I felt I needed to find out more about.

In my researching I found that the two are related. The fancy emblems in the image above? Those are related as well. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The emblems represent the individual segments of STEM. The NOVA award is the award you earn that relate to the STEM topics. You can earn this award starting in Cub Scouts all the way up the Scouting food chain, all the way up to the Venturing group in the Scouting program. This is not a one time award in that regard. Kind of nice actually. There are four NOVA awards, one for each of the STEM topics – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. They all refer to those topics though they may be called something slightly different – Science Everywhere, Tech Talk, etc for the Cub Scouts.

This actually excites me because this is something that is right up my children’s alley. It is very math and science oriented. Better than that, this is something that is not just another Scout requirement to sign off, they might actually learn something. It is actually brain intensive and is above and beyond the requirements of many of the other merit badges or requirements of the other Scouting awards. In the Cub Scouting program for example, the awards are an extensive amount of work above and beyond what they would normally have to do to finish an Achievement. It is even more than they would normally have to do to complete an Academics Pin. They are really going to have to want these awards to earn them. They are going to have to work for them.

The boys will start them Day Camp, it will be up to us as parents and/or Den Leaders to make sure that the boys have at their access the ability to finish them. I made sure that I knew what they were and what would be involved to finish these. I am truly excited about these awards. It is going to take a little bit of work, but I think that the boys will truly enjoy learning about the various science topics to finish these up.

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