OAKLAND, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), one of the largest youth development organizations in the United States, has launched STEM Scouts, a highly-innovative afterschool program, into Northern New Jersey by introducing it into three inner-city schools - Spencer Miller Community in Newark, Thomas Edison in Union City and Dr. Charles Defuccio in Jersey City - attracting more than 90 boys and girls in the first phase.
The extensive program exposes young participants to the challenging and fascinating world of STEM through hands-on experiments, field trips, regular interaction with STEM professionals and publishing opportunities in peer-reviewed journals. Grouped by elementary, middle and high school and comprised of 6-to-8 learning modules, STEM Scouts is a great way to generate interest in STEM education and give kids a potential advantage in a fiercely-competitive job market where the need for qualified STEM professionals remains unfulfilled. Significantly, the program allows students to grow and build character, a key element of the Scouting experience. Parents also have an opportunity to be trained and participate in labs, while spending quality time with their children. The voluntary program is delivered after school and largely taught by school teachers using a professionally developed curriculum.
Schools selected by the BSA are all in inner-city Newark, Union City and Jersey City where STEM programs have among the greatest potential to make a difference for young people. Evidence suggests that African Americans, Latinos, as well as women and low-income individuals are underrepresented in STEM-related occupations.
“We are proud to be part of the national pilot and the momentum already achieved in our local schools,” says Rebecca Fields, Scout Executive/CEO, Northern New Jersey Council, BSA. “STEM Scouts is more than a one-day training session touching upon the basics of STEM. It is a dynamic and well-rounded curriculum carefully developed by PhD-level STEM educators, and it increases in complexity as young boys and girls advance in their studies. We are off to a great start and looking forward to expanding across the communities of northern New Jersey, while changing lives one child at a time.”
“The program is fully funded through the Boy Scouts of America and represents a true partnership with the local schools where the afterschool programs are based,” adds Bruce Gallager who serves as an advisor to the STEM program and is a member of the Northern New Jersey Council’s Executive Board. “We are actively recruiting for sponsoring organizations and volunteers who would like to be part of something meaningful and help us successfully implement the program. We are thrilled to join efforts with Pfizer, one of the world’s premiere biopharmaceutical companies and a leading STEM employer in the country. Pfizer’s inaugural sponsorship is instrumental in funding weekly labs, field trips, summer camp opportunities and guiding young students throughout the whole educational process.”
“STEM Scouts is a unique and inspirational program offered at an influential time in the lives of young people and critical for developing the skills needed in an innovation based economy,” adds David Verbraska, Vice President, Pfizer and President, Northern New Jersey Council, BSA. “STEM Scouts is providing the rare combination of teaching new economy skills to young people in underserved areas while instilling powerful personal and civic leadership values that will pay off over a lifetime. Pfizer is proud and excited to sponsor STEM Scouts which is setting young people up for success in life.”
For more information about the STEM Scouts, please visit www.stemscouts.org
About the Northern New Jersey Council
The Northern New Jersey Council serves over 16,000 youth annually in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties. With the leadership of over 6,900 volunteers and nearly 400 community partners, Scouting programs make a positive long lasting impact with families and in the community. In 2017, local Scouting youth contributed 85,881 community service hours to make northern New Jersey a better place!
About the Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be “Prepared. For Life.®” The Scouting organization is composed of nearly 2.4 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and approximately 960,000 volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit www.scouting.org.