How to STEMify Your Scouting Activities

By Mitchell D. Erickson, Unit Commissioner, Submitted to the College of Commissioner Science Patriots’ Path Council Boy Scouts of America in partial fulfillment of requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Commissioner Science. 10 May 2017

STEMify: The process of infusing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) activities into all Scouting programs.  This College of Commissioner Science thesis discusses how STEM is everywhere in Scouting and shows leaders how they can enhance the Scouting experience through STEMification.  Imagine Scouting through the lens of STEM everywhere: the geology under our feet; the stars above; the warmth of our sleeping bag; the health of proper hygiene; the thrill of learning. Our Scouting youth will learn more, have fun, be stimulated, and view their various Scouting activities through a STEM perspective.  But the real benefit is that it helps our Scouting youth grow and meets the Character Development Aim of Scouting and many of the Methods of Scouting.

My thesis is that STEMifying Scouting is:

  • Beneficial for all
  • Completely compatible with the Aims and Methods of Scouting
  • Fun

Further, STEMifying an activity is relatively easy and can largely be done by the Scouts themselves. STEMification need not be a burden on the unit leadership; the Scouts themselves have ready access to the resources to explain the STEM of the natural environment, camping equipment, public health, cooking, communications and much more. STEMified Scouting helps with recruitment, retention, participation, and advancement.  Thus, it is imperative that adult leaders at the Unit, District, Council and other levels need to facilitate STEMification.  The Unit Commissioner can be a valuable vector for STEMification starting with simply spreading the word and providing encouragement. STEM-related topics can be a program feature at District Roundtables.

Readers will note a bias toward Scouting in the specifics.  The principles here will be useful to Cub Leaders, Venturers, Explorers and, indeed, all Scouts and Scouters.

The full thesis is here How to STEMify Your Scouting Activities.