Scouting meets engineering with Scouts@GT

Photo Courtesy of Scouts@GT

On Saturday, Sept. 14, Scouts@GT hosted its annual Scouts Day. The over 50 scouts in attendance toured of Tech’s Invention Studio and attended a tailgate as well as the football game at historic Bobby Dodd Stadium. Most importantly, the scouts worked to complete their Engineering Merit Badge.

Although engineering is typically not thought of in conjunction with scouting, Scouts@GT is working to blend the two domains together. The Engineering Merit Badge, designed to introduce scouts to an overview of engineering, requires mastery of a wide array of topics in engineering, its history and advancements and careers in engineering.

Scouts@GT even plans to coordinate the Sustainability Merit Badge as part of their Scout Day for next fall. Donald Gee, a 2nd-year CE Major and President of Scouts@GT, shared how his involvement with the Scouts introduced him to his current field of study.

“My Eagle Scout project involved creating a small wetland,” said Gee. “My experiences in Scouts sparked my interest in sustainability and engineering.”

Local scoutmaster with Troop 370 Jeff Hunt further explained this drive to integrate scouting and engineering as resulting from participant demand within the student troop members.

“Historically the reputation of scouting as being low tech may be founded, but not anymore,” said Hunt. “Scouting is inherently boy led, and so it’s our job as adult leaders to help make what they want happen.”

With STEM-based merit badges (including the engineering merit badge), more STEM and technology friendly activities and outings. In fact, a recently started troop leadership position involves educating the troop about technology safety and helping to incorporate a modern edge into activities called the “Webmaster.” Hunt even reported that his troop held a camp out revolving around drones and their technology.

Scouts@GT has also organized other events and merit badge classes for local scouts to further reveal the way in which scouting and engineering can be linked.

In fact, Tech has a Scouting Alumni group of 1600 Eagle Scouts across the student body, along with thousands of both Boy and Girl Scouting Alumni. Former scouts in Tech’s faculty have led the astronomy and chemistry merit badges, among others.

“A lot of 18 to 25-year-olds in the United States don’t stay involved Scouts. People become Eagle Scouts and then they leave the program. I knew, for me, that I wanted to stay involved,” said Gee.

Through Scouts@GT, Gee — as well as other members — have been able to integrate their interests in scouting and engineering. They have also been able to continue their involvement with service and high adventure activities. The club aims to connect those who want to live by the Scout Oath and Law which emphasizes tenants within the organization.

The ideals of wellness, leadership and service that make up the fundamental pillars of scouting are strived for by many at Tech — as is the endeavor to blend engineering with other disciplines. With no prior experience needed to join, Scouts@GT offers one avenue to work towards the achievement of these ideals and to blend different disciplines together through teaching the next generation of Tech students.