Scout leader Harry Stout said it was time to “reboot” the Scout-O-Rama event hosted annually by the Boy Scouts of America Three Fires Council.
Mission accomplished, according to the St. Charles resident and chairperson, regarding the inaugural STEM-O-Rama planned for Saturday, May 17, at the Kane County Fairgrounds.
With more than 100 hands-on science exhibits, including flying drones, a NASA-designed wind tunnel and underwater robots, the daylong event is sure to inspire a future generation of scientists.
“STEM-O-Rama celebrates the marvels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Matt Ackerman, executive director of Boy Scouts of America Three Fires Council. “We want youth to become excited about science.”
Three Fires Council provides more than 20,000 youth in Chicago’s western suburbs with opportunities to participate in Boy Scouts of America programs. In previous Scout-O-Ramas, thousands of members have attended the fun fair.
“Our Scouts in the past have enjoyed the wide range of activities, the opportunity to work with other Scouts, and the chance to show off to the general public the great program we have,” Stout said.
But this year, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math, area kids will have an opportunity to explore STEM-related interests and career paths. From National Geographic oceanographer Robert Ballard to Fermilab’s cryogenics expert Mr. Freeze to a neuroscience lab from the University of Chicago, there is something for everyone at the daylong event.
“We want to inspire youth,” Ackerman said. “They’re the scientists of tomorrow.”
Stout shared the sentiment.
“I am looking forward to the vast array of youth-driven science-based activities, along with the robotics and professional presentations of adventure and discovery through STEM education and careers.”
One professional presentation will be from the Shedd Aquarium team, which will offer a variety of robotics activities and resources.
“The STEM-O-Rama event aligns with Shedd Aquarium’s focus on developing science literacy and 21st-century learning skills,” said Sadie Norwick, learning coordinator at Shedd Aquarium. “(We) will showcase our underwater robotics programming (which) introduces learners to science, technology, engineering and math through the development applications of remotely operated vehicles to investigate aquatic environments.”
Norwick said learners of all ages will have the opportunity to test drive Shedd’s professional remotely operated vehicle and one of Shedd’s “homemade” vehicles made out of PVC pipe and pool noodles.
“At the same time, learners will get the chance to get wet and wild seeing if they can make sea creatures float in Shedd’s buoyancy challenge,” Norwick said.
Tickets are $10 and available online, at the Scout shops, Colonial Cafés and also at the event gate.