Awesome STEM Experience at Philmont Scout Ranch!

NOVA clipart

What’s better than a Scout learning about STEM?

A Scout learning about STEM at Philmont Scout Ranch! Philmont is the largest youth camp in the world and is an awesome outdoor classroom!

This June, Philmont Training Center is offering a course called “#Awesome – STEM Exploration” just for young men and women from 14-20 years old. Participants experience the back-country of New Mexico while they learn about the physics involved in climbing and the challenge course, how cartography and GIS are used in mapping at Philmont, study forestry techniques in the experimental forest at Cathedral Rock, learn about the history and biology of bears at Philmont, and much more!

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience Philmont Scout Ranch, the pinnacle of Scouting, while also learning all about STEM in the outdoors! The course runs from June 11-17 and costs $395 which includes food, lodging, and all of the activities affiliated with the course. Cost does not include transportation to and from Philmont Scout Ranch.

For more details, download this flier (Awesome – STEM Exploration) or email the course adviser Chris Jordan at You can also contact Colin Lemon at for general questions about Philmont Training Center courses and how to register.

I’ll be there taking a similar course so I hope to see you there!

Young Women Experience Unique Opportunities at STEM X


Girls start out as strong in math and science as boys, but lose interest along the way” – CNN: How Do We Get Girls Into STEM?

Did you know that less than 15% of all engineers are women? Only 27% of all computer science jobs are held by women!

Some of the most creative and innovative people I know are female. Not only colleagues and friends but also my daughter and nieces. S.T.E.M. might normally include science, technology, engineering, and math but there are other words that are critical to a quality education such as creativity, problem-solving, communication, etc. Historically, girls have been led to believe that they will excel in writing, dancing, gymnastics, art, music, and teaching but have not been equally encouraged to pursue scientific and technical careers. Times have changed! Female students have been scoring at the same level and sometimes even higher than male students on science and math tests and yet young women tend to lost interest in S.T.E.M. at around 15 years old. Why? Because they are not encouraged enough to study a science or math field.

STEM X is an awesome opportunity to get young women excited about science, technology, engineering, and math! STEM X not only gets young women involved in interesting activities like game design, 3-D printing, architecture, environmental science, and hacking, the program also exposes young women to S.T.E.M. programs in colleges and universities so they can begin preparing for life after high school. STEM X is a unique program in the United States and was featured recently in Scouting Magazine.

This Summer Camp Experience Empowers Teens for Future STEM Careers

But the program is at a Boy Scout camp? How does that work?

While STEM X is located at a Boy Scout camp, the program is fully co-educational. The STEM X program and staff follows all rules and guidelines of the BSA’s Youth Protection program for co-ed programs and includes adult co-ed staff. Young men and women stay in separate overnight accommodations and adult staff stay in the campsites overnight.

STEM X will be held from July 30 to August 4, 2017 at Cherokee Scout Reservation in Yanceyville, NC. The program costs $475 per participant and covers all expenses including food, accommodations, program materials, field trips, etc. To find out more information and register to attend, visit or send an email to

The Future is Now at STEM X in 2017!


“In 2015, there were nearly 8.6 million STEM jobs, 45% were computer science occupations” – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Computers and other digital technology are becoming more and more important in every aspect of our lives. Who better to take the reins of all of this technology than our youth who are growing up with it?

STEM X offers several programs covering a large variety of STEM topics but for those high school students who want to use computers to design our future, two STEM X program tracks stand out the most.

Digital Design is a returning program track from 2016 because it was incredibly popular! Participants visited High Point University and spent the day developing two Android apps. You can download one of them here to try it out: Flappy Eagle. Not only did Digital Design participants design apps, they also learned how to 3-D scan and print, 3-D modeling, learned how to program using the Raspberry Pi, and even learned how to build and program robots!

In 2017, Digital Design participants will get to experience 3-D scanning, 3-D printing, and app design but will also get to learn about several new STEM areas as well. Participants will visit a local high school to learn about 2-D design for photography, web design, and how to use a CNC (computer numerical control) machine. Participants will also dive deeper into game design as they learn about virtual reality, game character development, and 2-D game design. Digital Design will visit High Point University, Ragsdale High School, and the Greensboro Forge, a local makerspace where they will learn about laser engraving, 3-D printing, and materials fabrication.

New for 2017, the Hacking Reality program track will take participants on an adventure to explore how everything is connected and interrelated. Participants will learn how to hack using the Raspberry Pi program and how to use an artificial intelligence engine. They will explore the possibilities of machine learning using neural networks…how to train a computer as you might train a dog. They will ask the question: can a computer make you think it is a human? Participants will spend a day learning how to program robots and another day learning about autonomous vehicles and human-computer interfaces.

Still following me? Everything above probably sounds like something out of a high tech lab but no…this is STEM X! You think this sounds exciting? These are just two of the ten program tracks offered this summer! It’s an awesome experience for young men and women who are rising 9th graders or older. STEM X takes place July 30 through August 4 and registration is going on right now. To find out more about STEM X, visit Participation is open to any high school-aged youth and is not limited to residents of North Carolina.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to email We look forward to seeing you at STEM X!

National Council Recognizes Larry Warlick with the William T. Hornaday Gold Medal!

Image result for william t. hornaday gold medal knot

Since 1910, conservation and environmental studies have been an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America. Scouts have rendered distinguished public service by helping to conserve wildlife, energy, forests, soil, and water. Past generations of Scouts have been widely recognized for undertaking conservation Good Turn action projects in their local communities. Through environmental explorations, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, and Sea Scouts visit the outdoors and discover the natural world around them. Many natural resource careers are born in Scouting.

Since its first appearance in the 1948 edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, the Outdoor Code has reminded Scouts to be conservation-minded.

The Outdoor Code
As an American, I will do my best to—
Be clean in my outdoor manners.
Be careful with fire.
Be considerate in the outdoors.
Be conservation minded.

In the Old North State Council, our camps have been recognized by the Audubon Society, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Forest Stewards Guild for excellent forestry management and status as wildlife sanctuaries. Cherokee Scout Reservation was recognized just last year as a Model Forest, a designation only awarded to 25 forests in the country and the only Boy Scout camp in the country to have received the honor.

The Wiliam T. Hornaday Awards program recognizes truly outstanding efforts undertaken by Scouting units, Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts, adult Scouters, and other individuals, corporations, and institutions contributing significantly to natural resource conservation and environmental protection.

Dr. William T. Hornaday, director of the New York Zoological Park and founder of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., was a champion of natural resource conservation and a leader in saving the American bison from extinction. In 1914, he announced an award he called the Wildlife Protection Medal to challenge Americans to work constructively for wildlife conservation and habitat protection. The award was renamed in Dr. Hornaday’s honor after his death in 1937, and came under the custodianship of the Boy Scouts of America.

The Hornaday Awards continue to inspire learning and increase public awareness about natural resource conservation. The highest conservation award in Scouting, the William T. Hornaday Gold Medal, is by nomination only and is for an adult Scouter who has rendered distinguished and unusual service to natural resource conservation and environmental improvement over a sustained period of at least 20 years. Nominations are accepted from any recognized conservation/environmental protection organization. The nominee’s accomplishments must be at a regional, national, or international level.

Larry Warlick has been registered in Scouting for nearly 70 years. Larry earned his Eagle Scout award in 1955 and as a Scout, he became interested in conservation by earning various conservation-related merit badges. Larry earned a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Management and a Master of Science in Wildlife Biology and had a career with the US Forest Service and NC Wildlife Resources Commission that spanned over 30 years.

His conservation service to Scouting has included:

  • Staff for the Ecology and Conservation course at National Camping School for 30 years
  • Contributed to two new editions of National Camping School guide
  • On faculty Philmont Training Center for the Conservation Course nine times, leading six of those courses
  • Taught conservation-related merit badges and served as a Hornaday Award Advisor to Scouts for over 40 years
  • Served as Conservation Committee Chair for the Old North State Council and Area Conservation Chair

In addition to his conservation service to Scouting, Larry has also assisted youth in other ways:

  • Provided conservation programs for school children for such groups as 4-H, FFA, and other school groups. Planned and led programs for Conservation Field days in conjunction with USDA Agencies and teachers
  • Has assisted with the development of nature trails for several camps, schools and parks over the years.
  • Worked with high school seniors completing their senior project relating to wildlife science. Continue to encourage Scouts to consider careers in conservation field.

Larry is the living example of Scouting’s dedication and enthusiasm for conservation and protection of the natural world. To date, only 46 people have received the Gold Medal including Aldo Leopold, the father of wildlife ecology and environmental ethics. Only two medals have been awarded in North Carolina.

On Thursday, March 16 at the council’s annual Eagle Scout and Adult Leader Recognition Banquet, the Old North State Council was proud to award Larry Warlick with the William T. Hornaday Gold Medal. We owe Larry a huge congratulations on this recognition of his lifetime of service and dedication to Scouting and conservation.

Larry Warlick (far right) receiving the William T. Hornaday Gold Medal

Delivering the Excitement of STEM at Your Next Day Camp or Family Camp!

Why do boys join Cub Scouts? To go to camp of course! Day camp and family camp-outs are awesome places to deliver the amazing Cub Scout program in the great outdoors! While the Cubs are having a blast with BB shooting, archery, swimming, sports, crafts, and nature hikes, they can also learn something about the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) all around them!

Want to modify some traditional camp activities so they have a new flavor of STEM? Here are some examples:

  • Swimming:
    • Give all the Cubs kick boards and swim fins and have them line up to race. Keep track of their time as they race using only their finned feet and kicking as hard as they can. Now have them take off their fins and race again using only their feet. They will notice a HUGE difference and you can teach them about how the surface area of the fin increases the resistance and pushes them farther through the water with less energy.
    • When the Cubs get out of the water and before they dry off, ask them to notice how their body cools off quicker when it’s wet than when it’s dry. Teach them how evaporation of the water is like their sweat evaporating and taking heat away from their bodies to keep them from overheating.
    • Before they jump into the water, demonstrate buoyancy using a bowl of water and an egg. Put the uncooked egg into the bowl of fresh water. It should sink to the bottom. Now remove the egg and add salt (about one half cup of salt to two and a half cups of water). Mix it to get the salt to dissolve. Now put the egg back in and voila! The egg should be floating on the surface. Salt water is denser than fresh water which is why the egg floats and why the Cubs float easier in the ocean or in a salt water pool than in a lake or fresh water pool.
  • BB Guns and Archery:
    • Explain how trajectory works! Gravity’s pull on the BB or arrow means that the longer the shot, the higher you must aim to compensate to hit your target.
    • When an arrow is nocked and pulled back or when a BB gun is pumped, that is a demonstration of potential energy. When the arrow is released or the BB gun trigger is pulled, the potential energy becomes kinetic energy.
    • When shooting over long distances, factors such as humidity, wind, and the Coriolis Effect (curvature of Earth) can affect where the projectile lands. A person shooting 1,000 yards away must account for the curvature of Earth or his bullet could miss the target by 3-4 inches!
  • Sports
    • How does a basketball bounce? The ball is filled with air (a gas) that is exerting pressure against the inside of the ball. When the ball hits the ground, the air inside is compressed. The gas pushes back against the ground which forces the ball away and back up to your hand.
    • Time the Cubs as they run a predetermined distance. Track a few more timed races and teach them how to calculate their average speed.
    • Teach the Cubs how to calculate a few popular statistics from their favorite team sport such as baseball, football, or soccer. The next time they watch a game with their family, they’ll be able to better understand what the announcers are saying!

These are just a handful of ways to incorporate STEM teaching into the activities that many camps are already doing. Think about every activity you have done in the past and how you can put a STEM twist on it. Remember, STEM is all around us! Every activity can be a STEM activity!

Below are some examples of Nova Award activities that can be added to your camp. To get more details about how the Nova Awards work, a camp representative should attend the Unit STEM Coordinator Training on April 20. If you’d like to see the complete list of requirements for each award, click on the name of the Nova Award below.

NOVA clipartNova Award: Science Everywhere

  • Explain the purpose of fins on a rocket or feathers/fletchings on an arrow
  • Take invertebrate samples from a local stream to see if pollution is present

NOVA clipartNova Award: Down and Dirty

  • Build a model volcano
  • Make a rain gauge or other weather instruments
  • Keep a weather journal for a week
  • Make models of plants or animals that live in a rain forest

NOVA clipartNova Award: Nova WILD!

  • Make drawings of plants, animals, food web
  • Make a diorama of a creature’s habitat
  • Make a bird feeder

NOVA clipartNova Award: Out of This World

  • Host a star party (may only work for a later twilight camp)
  • Build a model Mars Rover
  • Design a moon or Mars base on paper and build a model
  • Make models of solar or lunar eclipses

NOVA clipartNova Award: Swing!

  • Draw and build a lever
  • Look at simple machines on the playground (seesaw)

NOVA clipartNova Award: 1-2-3 Go!

  • Calculate your weight on other planets
  • Learn how to measure the height of a building or flagpole
  • Learn about secret codes and then create your own

Camp is a great place to host STEM activities and awards. STEM activities can be added as single stations, existing activities can be given a STEM twist, or you can completely overhaul your camp and make it 100% about STEM. You can also incorporate awards such as the STEM-related Adventures or the Nova Awards into your schedule. Just keep in mind that the camp should be all about fun and exciting experiences, not the less exciting requirements that sometimes go along with advancement. Focus on the fun requirements and let the Cub Scout pack leadership worry about the other requirements. Official advancement awards should be recorded and awarded by the pack, not by the camp leadership.

Finally, if you want to incorporate STEM into your camp, put some real thought and energy into it! Simply renaming a program area with a catchy, sciencey title doesn’t cut it. If you don’t know how to bring STEM into an activity, ask a science teacher, brainstorm it with your other Cub Scout leaders, or feel free to get in touch with us! We’re happy to help you figure out ways to make STEM a prominent theme at your day camp or family camp.

For more information or suggestions about STEM at camp, visit or email Have a great camp!

One More Day for STEM X Registration Discount!


Tomorrow (March 15) is the last day to get the $50 discount for STEM X registrations! To be eligible for the discount, participants must register by paying the $200 deposit and selecting a program track by the end of the day (11:59 PM) tomorrow night! After that time, participants will pay the full fee of $475 to participate. That’s still a steal compared to many other week-long STEM programs but why miss an opportunity to get a good discount?

Registration can be completed online by visiting and going to the “Fees & Registration” page. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to save some money on a fantastic program!

Calling All Cub Scouts!


You might know it as our annual Dad and Lad camp-out for Cub Scouts and their dads but this year, Dad and da Vinci will be taking over Cherokee Scout Reservation on July 8 and 9! Cub Scouts and their dads will enjoy a variety of activities inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions and designs including puzzles, catapults, bridge building, simple machines, shooting, and more! The Early Bird cost is $40 for one dad and Cub Scout and $20 for an additional Cub Scout with a registration deadline of June 2, 2017. After the Early Bird deadline, the cost is $50.00 for one dad and Scout, additional Scouts are $25.00 each. Registration has begun and can be completed online by clicking on this link: Dad and da Vinci Online Registration.

Dad and da Vinci is an awesome opportunity for dads to get out in the woods and see just how creative and imaginative their Cubs can be! With a STEM-inspired theme, Dad and da Vinci promises to be an exciting weekend. We’ll see you there!

STEM is for Scouts…and Everyone Else!

Over the past four years, the Old North State Council has introduced a lot of STEM programs and activities for Scouts. We have trained nearly 200 adult volunteers on how to implement the Nova and Supernova awards in their units and we’ve added new programs to our day camps and resident camps. Nearly 1,000 merit badges have been earned at the STEM Merit Badge College and hundreds of Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts have earned their Nova awards.

While we’re incredibly excited about everything going on with STEM for Scouts, we want to highlight the programs we have that welcome those who are NOT Scouts as well. These programs have no emphasis on advancement or badges and they encourage not only creative thinking and problem solving but also provide insight into what’s in store for our youth as they transition into the professional and college worlds.

Young Innovators is a program for young men and women in middle schools. They form a small team of eight to ten and design a project that solves a real world STEM problem. In the 2016-2017 school year, we have one team at Mendenhall Middle School that is designing a biodegradable candy wrapper that will reduce the impact of trash from eating sweet treats. Another team at Graham Middle School (our first all-girl team!) is developing a method of harnessing the energy in algae and putting it to use. These teams are demonstrating an awesome display of ingenuity and imagination to solve real-world problems!

STEM X takes high school-aged young men and women into a resident camp atmosphere where they spend a week immersed in STEM fields like digital design, architecture, zoology, forestry, cinematography, robotics, and energy. The activities they participate in at the camp are hands-on and very interactive but they also leave the camp to visit STEM sites like a nuclear plant, solar farm, High Point University (where they design games and apps!), and architectural sites! While this might seem like a very full week, the youth also get to participate in college night at the camp when several community colleges and universities set up a college fair to show off the STEM programs they have waiting for these students as they get ready to graduate high school. Parents are invited to college night so they can ask all of their questions as well. At the end of the week, participants get the opportunity to join an Explorer Post related to one of these awesome STEM fields so they can continue the excitement throughout the entire school year! STEM X has been highlighted by Scouting Magazine! Check out the article at Empowering Teens for Future STEM Careers.

It’s obvious that STEM has been an awesome addition to Scouting but it is also important to understand that STEM is for everybody, not just Scouts. The importance of STEM is exposing young people to creative thinking, problem solving, imagination, project-based learning, and how to be inquisitive about the world around them. These and many other opportunities await young people of nearly all ages. Check them all out by taking a look at the calendar and all of the programs at

Young Innovators is looking for new teams to begin in the fall of 2017. Teams will form and develop their project throughout the school year and compete in May of 2018. STEM X registration for the summer of 2017 has already begun! For more details about STEM X, check out For questions related to any STEM programs or the STEM initiative in general, feel free to contact Colin Lemon at or (336) 378-9166.


How to Implement STEM in Your Scout Unit!


If you’re wondering what these Nova Awards are all about and don’t have a clue where to start, you should check out the next Unit STEM Coordinator Training on April 20th. This is a two hour training designed for any adult who would like to learn how to implement the Nova Awards in their Cub Scout pack, Boy Scout troop, or Venture crew. The training is full of information, discussion, fun activities, and dinner! The course costs $10 which includes the handouts, pizza dinner, and a Unit STEM Coordinator position patch for your uniform! If you don’t have a Nova Guidebook, you can add on $4 and we’ll have that for you as well.

The training will take place on April 20 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Old North State Council office in Greensboro. Full details can be found on the registration form here: Unit STEM Coordinator Registration form. You can also register online by clicking here: Online Registration. Registration deadline is April 14.

I hope to see you there!

STEM X Featured in Scouting Magazine!


The STEM X staff and volunteers have the pleasure of announcing that STEM X is a feature article in the March/April issue of Scouting Magazine! Click on this link (This Summer Camp Experience Empowers Teens for Future STEM Careers) to read all about STEM X and the awesome experiences these young men and women had in 2016! Scouting Magazine also included a shorter article about everything the Old North State Council has been doing to grow and develop STEM for our youth. You can check that article out here: How One Council Uses STEM Programs to Help Grow Scouting. To see the articles in print, check out page 30 of your next issue of Scouting Magazine that should be in your mailbox in the next couple of weeks!

Registration for STEM X in 2017 opened in January and programs are filling up! Those who register with their $200 deposit by March 15 get a $50 discount off of the total fee so don’t wait any longer to get signed up! Registration can be completed by clicking here: STEM X Registration.