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South Valley Journal

Scouts Participate in Pop-Up STEM Stations

Oct 06, 2016 02:23PM ● By Tori LaRue

More than 300 Scouts and 100 adult volunteers came together for a night of geology at Rosecrest Park in Herriman. (Tori La Rue/City Journals)

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

Rosecrest Park bustled with Cub Scouts Webelos from districts 18 and 20 of the Great Salt Lake Council as community members transformed it into a makeshift science laboratory with a geology focus.

More than 300 10-year-old boys scampered from canopy to canopy on Aug. 26, testing the hardness of rock formations, searching for geocaches, interpreting maps, identifying geological components used in buildings throughout the community and participating in other experiments and demonstrations. 

Among the clamor, 10-year-old Ryker Innes launched off a paper rocket that soared across the park. His leaders congratulated him on the highest and farthest rocket launch they’d seen that day, and Ryker ran to retrieve the custom-built projectile shouting, “That was awesome. That was awesome.” 

“The purpose of these things is not to pass adventures off, but it is to introduce boys to different topics to help them find their interests, to help them realize that the things in their lives connect to the real world,” Deborah Bracken, District 18 vice chairman said. “We want them to know that learning is interesting and fun and get them excited about the STEM so that one day they can find that this is a career direction they might want to go into.” 

Bracken mentioned that men in the United States aren’t attending and graduating college at the same rate as women. She said she believes educational activities in boyhood, like the geology STEM activity, make a difference.

Aaron and Nate Eskelson, twin brothers who celebrated their 10th birthday one week before the Webelos event, both said they enjoyed being in a learning outside at the Scouting event. 

“I learned what houses are made of, and I never knew that before,” Aaron Eskelson said. “It was really interesting.” 

Nate said his favorite part was getting to know the other Webelos and Scout leaders. 

“It’s the truth that everyone here is nice and supportive,” he said. “If I ever have a trouble, I know they will help us with that trouble.” 

Bracken said she hoped each Scout realizes how much his leaders care about him. About 100 volunteers contributed to the event. 

“All of these people are here today because we want these boys to develop themselves and to have a desire to be good,” she said as her eyes began to water. 

An event of this caliber occurs only once a year for each district, according to Bracken, and nearly 100 adult leaders collaborated since February to make it happen. They chose to center their activity on Boy Scouts of America’s Earth Rock Adventure, allowing each participant to pass off each step in the adventure by participating in the one-stop-shop activity. 

In addition to the STEM stations, Scouts went on a 3-mile walk from Rosecrest Park to Mountain Meadows Park where they studied the effects of water, wind and erosion while using a map to find their way to the end of the trail. Along the trail, leaders organized guest appearances from people dressed up as prominent figures in the world who care about the environment, such as Bear Grylls from “Man vs. Wild.” The Scouts also stopped to clean the trail before returning to Rosecrest Park.  

Leaders presented each Scout with a pin upon completion of the night’s activities. 

“Activities like this are important,” Scout leader Wendy Gillette said. “I think it makes the boys feel like they are part of something really big.”