Frequently Asked Questions

Browse our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about STEM Scouts or contact us with your question.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? Take a look at the FAQs below. If you don't see the answer you need, feel free to contact us.

  • Q

    What does STEM stand for?

    A

    STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. STEM Scouts is a new program that introduces youth to these disciplines through exciting and fun hands-on experiments.

  • Q

    Who can be a STEM Scout? How old do you have to be?


    A

    STEM Scouts is for both girls and boys in grades 3 through 12. It is a pilot program of the Boy Scouts of America, currently available only in select pilot areas.

  • Q

    What do STEM Scouts do?

    A

    STEM Scouts meet weekly in groups called Labs. They work with Lab Managers and STEM professionals to do fun, hands-on experiments that teach STEM-related concepts and show how STEM knowledge is used both in everyday life and in the professional world.

    STEM Scouts have the opportunity to develop their skills in leadership, communication, creative problem-solving, teamwork and research. High school students also have the opportunity to publish their work in a peer-reviewed journal and build a resume for college.

  • Q

    How is STEM Scouts different from traditional scouting? How is it different from school-sponsored STEM programs?

    A

    STEM Scouts is different from traditional scouting in that outdoor activities are only a portion of the activities and not the main focus. STEM Scouts is also more hands-on than school-sponsored STEM programs, with more field trips and the opportunity for students to work directly with STEM professionals.

  • Q

    To what degree is the program hands-on?


    A

    The bulk of each weekly meeting is spent engaging in various experiments. Each Scout has a specific role in the experiment, allowing everyone the chance to participate and to try different roles, from leading a team to doing technical work. Scouts who want to learn more about a specific topic may expand their knowledge by participating in Individual Learning Modules.

  • Q

    Who is in charge of STEM Scout Labs? How many adults will be at every Lab gathering? Who are the professionals involved? How are they selected and approved?

    A

    STEM Scouts is a pilot program of the Boy Scouts of America and operates under BSA guidelines. Individual labs are supervised by adult volunteers, some of whom are parents and many of whom work in STEM fields. Each unit has at least one female and one male volunteer. The STEM professionals help students understand research methods, STEM concepts, and STEM careers. All volunteers must be at least 21 years old, undergo a criminal background check and complete BSA’s Youth Protection Training.  Middle and high school labs have at least one leader with a STEM background.

  • Q

    What specific BSA policies and guidelines will apply to STEM Scouts?

    A

    STEM Scouts follows the Scout Oath and Law with the goal of producing men and women who are leaders, display confidence, realize their skills and limitations, are respectful of others’ opinions, are problem solvers in all aspects of life, look for opportunities to serve others, are good citizens, and demonstrate integrity in all phases of their lives. Each meeting will open with the Pledge, Scout Oath and Law.

  • Q

    How do you get involved as a youth? As a parent? As a volunteer?

    A

    Students, find an open lab near you.

    Parents, we encourage you to be actively involved in STEM Scouts. Follow along with your child as he or she explores. We’re also always looking for adult volunteers to join a Lab, help with a field trip or become a short-term volunteer.

    Each Lab must be supported and sponsored by a Chartered Organization. Perhaps your company, school, place of worship or civic organization could be a Chartered Organization.

  • Q

    How much does it cost to become a STEM Scout?


    A

    The cost is $200 yearly, which includes the registration fee, eye protection, and core activity materials.

  • Q

    I’m not sure my family can afford the yearly cost. Do you offer financial aid?

     


    A

    Scholarships may be available. Talk with your Council executive for more information.

  • Q

    What time commitment is involved in being a STEM Scout?

    A

    STEM Scouts meet weekly for about 90 minutes, for a series of 6-week modules throughout the school year. 

  • Q

    Is it possible to make small commitments of time—say for just one lab series or about six weeks—instead of the entire year?

    A

    Unfortunately, at this time, Scouts must sign up for an entire year. One of our goals is teamwork, which is developed through consistent participation from each Scout. A good way to try out STEM Scouts is to participate in an activity in the Mobile Lab when it is in a location near you.

    There are, however, opportunities for adults to participate on a limited basis, such as serving as a field trip host or as a STEP volunteer (guest speaker, leading an experiment or an entire 6-week module).

  • Q

    When and where are STEM Scout meetings held?


    A

    Meetings for different age groups are held weekly after school at charter locations near you. Chartered organizations are often private schools but can also be places of worship, community centers, places of business and other locations.

    There is also a STEM Scout Mobile Lab, which travels around the area working with students interested in learning more about the world around them.

  • Q

    How do I find a STEM Scout program to join?


    A

    If you don’t live nearby but would like to bring STEM Scouts to your area, let us know by contacting us, and we will get in touch with you.

  • Q

    What role does the school play in the program? Does it vary by age grouping?


    A

    Some STEM Labs are held at area schools and led by school staff.

  • Q

    How will STEM Scouting impact a youth’s future? Does it vary by the length of time a person is engaged in STEM Scouts? What makes STEM Scouting unique and in what ways does it prepare participants for the future?

    A

    In addition to their expanded knowledge of STEM-related topics, older STEM Scouts will have the opportunity to publish and share their work through an online, peer-reviewed journal, giving them a sense of accomplishment and knowledge about research practices as well as a distinct competitive advantage when pursuing post-secondary education.

    STEM Scouts also develop, through their lab activities, the kinds of skills that will stand them in good stead both in post-secondary education and in the workplace: improved communication, leadership, teamwork, and other intangible qualities.

    STEM Scouts also have direct interaction with mentors and volunteers who are STEM professionals and can help students learn more about potential careers.

  • Q

    How will participants stay engaged? How will it be kept fun, fast-paced and interesting?

    A

    Our hands-on experiments are a big part of making each meeting fun and engaging. Scouts rotate through different roles on the team, a process which also keeps them involved and engaged as they learn to do different jobs.

  • Q

    Will there be some structured award system or success recognition built into the program?


    A

    STEM Scouts does not have ranks, but there are participation and achievement awards in the form of electronic badges.

  • Q

    What is the refund policy?

    A

    You may choose to cancel your membership at any time. If you cancel before the end of the 4th lab meeting, you will be entitled to a full refund of your registration fees minus a $50.00 processing fee. If you cancel after the 4th lab meeting, you will not be entitled to a refund in any amount.  Remaining credit card payments will not be stopped.  If the Lab does not start, you will be entitled to a full refund within 100 days.  The total cost of the program for the payment plan option is $225.  The total cost of the pay in full (single payment) option for the program is $200.

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