Introducing STEM Scouts, the BSA’s newest program


Read more about how you can reinvigorate your Scouts’ focus on science, technology, engineering or math in traditional Scouting units.

Get to know the newest BSA program and find a laboratory near you.

Scouting isn’t just about being prepared for wilderness survival or knowing how to tie a bowline. Our job as volunteers is to prepare Scouts and Venturers for their futures as adults, which means empowering youth with knowledge and skills to help them find meaningful careers.

One sector of American jobs continues to demonstrate tremendous growth: careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). From 2008 to 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce predicts STEM occupations will grow by 17 percent, compared to 9.8 percent growth in non-STEM occupations. The U.S. Department of Labor states 15 of the 20 fastest-growing occupations in 2014 required expertise in math or science.

In answer to this growing demand, the Boy Scouts of America this year introduced STEM Scouts, a pilot program that blends Scouting’s time-tested, character-building traits with hands-on STEM modules for boys and girls.

Yes, boys and girls. STEM Scouts is a coed program piloted in the Great Smoky Mountain Council that recently expanded to 12 more councils. (Find a full list below.)


Here Come the STEM Scouts
STEM Scouts are boys and girls in third through 12th grades who are grouped into laboratories (or labs) instead of packs, troops or crews. They meet weekly after school for hands-on activities organized into four- to six-week modules that cover a range of STEM topics during the course of the year.

STEM Scouts will take relevant field trips, interact weekly with STEM professionals and get a chance to publish their work through a peer-reviewed scientific journal — while having all kinds of fun.

Like STEM in traditional Scouting, STEM Scouts will team up with experts in STEM fields to make sure they’re getting the latest and greatest info. They’ll use the same Scout Oath and Scout Law as traditional Scouts. And their members count the same way toward Journey to Excellence (JTE) scores as Explorers.

If you know guys and girls who like experiments that are primarily “laboratory science,” tell them about the new STEM Scouts program. If they’re interested in outdoor activities with experiments that are primarily “kitchen science,” STEM programs in traditional Scouting have them covered.

Read even more about STEM Scouts and watch a video tour of the STEM Scouts mobile lab.

STEM Scouts Councils

In April, the Boy Scouts of America announced it was expanding its pilot of STEM Scouts from the Great Smoky Mountain Council (Knoxville, Tenn.) to 12 more councils:

Capitol Area Council (Austin, Texas)
Catalina Council (Tucson, Ariz.)
Circle Ten Council (Dallas)
Connecticut Rivers Council (East Hartford, Conn.)
Crossroads of America Council (Indianapolis)
Denver Area Council
Garden State Council (Westampton Township, N.J.)
Greater St. Louis Area Council
Middle Tennessee Council (Nashville, Tenn.)
Pathway to Adventure Council (Chicago)
Sam Houston Area Council (Houston)
Samoset Council (Weston, Wis.)

To get the latest updates about when STEM Scouts might be coming to your council, click on


  1. While I applaud the underlying concept, Scouting is having enough trouble as it is without going out of our way to further fractionate itself. I have said for years that Older Scouts should become coed and I welcome STEM into our program. But to now make other competing program that scouts must choose between is wrong! Scouting should embrace all of life: the outdoors, the leadership, the skills for life and living. Don’t make boys ( and girls) pick and choose which element they must become involved in. Another bad choice by Scouting’s leaders.

  2. It appears that the BSA is moving away from its core strength — the outdoors — in an effort to attract more members (and more money). Sad that the outdoors is being shunted aside instead of embracing it. STEM programs are a dime a dozen these days, but not so much for outdoors. There is a need (and a future) for those who are comfortable outside the living room or the classroom. I’ll offer a plug for a place near and dear to me: “USA Today College has ranked Virginia Tech as the nation’s best for studying natural resources and conservation.” From the news release, “USA Today wrote that natural resources and conservation studies programs are important to rank “because conserving natural resources has become a topic of intense interest…. People have realized the importance of preserving the world we live in and maintaining it for future generations.” (see If the BSA turns its back on the outdoors, where will those who are interested in preserving our environment come from? If someone in Scouting is exposed to nature, then they might consider the College of Natural Resources and Environment, where science (a log of it hands-on) does play a major role. But if all someone knows is the indoors, how will he or she understand the importance of maintaining and preserving our environment. Embrace STEM, but combine it with the past strength of the BSA — the outdoors.

  3. I agree with these comments. Being an engineer I understand the importance of STEM, but BSA should be focusing on its core and not trying to offer a new program. Partner with a STEM group, but do not build one from the ground up.

    This same thing happens in business all the time. Large companies make acquisitions to grow, but then realize they do best when they focus on their core products and then divest themselves of non-core divisions. Skip a step and just embrace our outdoor programs.

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