What is STEM?

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are considered by many to be the foundation of an advanced society. In many forums - including political, governmental, and academic - the strength of the STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of a nation's ability to sustain itself.

To engage our youth members in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the Boy Scouts of America has created new program initiative that emphasizes STEM in the context of the current advancement programs.

The BSA's STEM initiative gives Scouts an opportunity to explore relevant skills and experiences and to be recognized for their achievements. The aim is to expose youth to new opportunities and help them develop the STEM skills critical for the competitive world marketplace.

What does this mean?

In the Northeast Illinois Council, we are working hard to align ourselves with local education and other programs to help enrich the lives of Scouts.That’s at the very core of our mission, and can truly expose young people to another world. Did you know that STEM program has existed in the Boy Scouts of America since the very beginning of our program? Some of the very first merit badges were STEM related; they just weren’t referred to that way. A great example is the Computers merit badge which has been offered since 1968. That’s much earlier than computers were adopted in the mainstream, and we have continued to be cutting edge including the recent release of the Robotics Merit Badge.

STEM recognition in the BSA comes in the form of the NOVA award and the prestigious SUPERNOVA award. These awards are presented to Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers who display knowledge and understanding of STEM concepts through the completion of project requirements.

Please explore these pages to find more information about STEM and how scouts of all ages can start earning their awards.