Scouting and STEM

A STEM center opens at Boys Scouts camp.

A Boy Scout camper builds a robot at the new STEM center at the Edmund Strang Scout Reservation. Photo provided by Housatonic Council, Boy Scouts of America.

For more than a century, the Boy Scouts have taught generations of boys valuable life skills through outdoor exploration and community building projects. This summer, the Housatonic Council of the Boy Scouts is offering opportunities for the more technically inclined.

Robotics, computer programming, archeology, electronics, and radio are now being offered at a new STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Math) center at the Edmund Strang Scout Reservation summer camp run by the Housatonic Council in Goshen.

"The idea is to offer something for the kids who are more inclined to the classroom to bring them in and then get them interested in the outdoor activities," said Housatonic Council CEO Scout Executive John Zseller. "And some boys may or may not have thought about STEM. We give them an opportunity to see what it's all about."

Founded in 1923, the Housatonic Council provides support for the 32 scouting units in the lower Naugatuck Valley, which serve more than 850 youth and 350 volunteers. During the summer, it also runs sleep away and day camps at the Strang Scout Reservation.

The STEM center was funded through individual donations and gifts. In the past five years, the Valley Community Foundation has provided the Housatonic Council with $55,000 in general operating support. Grants from both the Valley Community Foundation and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven helped pay for the construction of a handicapped shower at the Edmund Strang Scout Reservation.

While scouting competes with sports and other activities for boys' time, Zseller said what sets it apart is the opportunities for parental involvement.

"We want parents to be a part of the program," Zseller said. "They can spend quality time with their children and participate in the activities and decision making of the troop."

For more information about the Housatonic Council of the Boy Scouts, visit its profile on®.

Did you know?

Nearly 2.3 million youth between the ages of 7 and 21 and approximately 960,000 volunteers participate in the Boy Scouts in local councils throughout the United States and its territories.

Source: Boy Scouts of America website

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.