As the hot sun beat down on attendees at the Scout Jamboree, 19-28 July, at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, WV, IEEE-USA’s Community Outreach Initiative vehicle (MOVE truck) — went on the move, was in attendance, and at the ready.
During this special, eight-day event, more than 85 onsite and offsite IEEE and IEEE-USA volunteers assisted 2,853 booth visitors. Two hundred seventy-three booth visitors pursued their electronics and electricity merit badges, through the IEEE emertibadges.org STEM Project and booth. The IEEE emeritbadges.org STEM Project provided instructional material and kits to support its Electricity Merit Badge and Electronics Merit Badge, as well as sponsoring both booths at the Jamboree, with funding from 17 IEEE entities. This program delivers a student-oriented, global pre-university technology education program—teaching about technology, primarily through Scouting merit badges.
IEEE-USA was happy to join others in helping to sponsor the IEEE emeritbadges STEM project booth – via a generous donation through its Professional Activities Committee for Engineers (PACE).
In addition, IEEE-USA volunteers illustrated the features and capabilities of the MOVE vehicle–a mobile emergency relief program committed to assisting natural disasters victims with short-term communications, computer and power solutions. When not deployed, MOVE travels to schools, fairs, and other venues to educate the public, highlight leading technologies, and raise awareness about the social impact these technologies have on society.
Both the IEEE emeritbadges.org STEM program and IEEE-USA’s MOVE Community Outreach Initiative teach students about viable engineering and other technical careers, and help both female and male students enhance their technical literacy—bringing the wonder of scientific discovery to eager young students. In addition, these important community programs increase public awareness of engineers and engineering; help society develop technologically literate citizens; and assist in providing a future technology based workforce–in the United States, and globally.
Ralph Russell, chair of the IEEE emeritbadges Project, said it was important to participate in the 2017 National Scout Jamboree to “enhance the technical literacy of boys and girls from around the world—and to help them learn about science and technology.”
“We also helped the boys and girls learn more about viable current and future engineering and technology career options,” he added.
He and fellow event organizer, Walter Hyde (also vice chair of the IEEE emeritbadges Project), spent thousands of personal hours during the past four years organizing this project for this event. Normally held every four years, Russell has organized the emeritbadges Project for nine Scout Jamborees, with IEEE’s assistance. Hyde shared that the volunteers for this event have a “strong desire, a passion…to contribute and make a difference in the lives of our youths.”
Russell elaborated on some of the things that really stood out for him from this event:
- Boys and girls from the United States, and around the world, became excited about STEM.
- Project volunteers were enthusiastic and dedicated. Most volunteers spent thousands of dollars of their own money; took vacation time; and spent time away from family for two weeks, to participate in the event. As an example, two volunteers travelled 500 miles out of their way just to help load and unload the rental truck. Several volunteers drove across country.
- After the Jamboree, IEEE’s emeritbadges Project donated lumber used to construct the booth, valued at more than $4,000, to a local WV church–to help church volunteers make repairs to low-income homes in the area.
- The IEEE-USA MOVE vehicle was part of the emeritbadges booth activities, and showed visitors how technology can help people during disasters. Volunteers inside the MOVE vehicle also provided STEM activities for booth visitors.
Russell is one dedicated and passionate IEEE volunteer. He serves, and has served, on a multitude of IEEE and IEEE-USA committees, including IEEE-USA’s K-12 STEM Literacy Committee, the IEEE-USA Energy Policy Committee, and IEEE-USA’s Government Relations Committee. For his efforts, he has received many top volunteer honors—among them, IEEE-USA’s Citation of Honor, and IEEE’s Innovation Award, Centennial Medal and Millennium Medal.
Many dedicated IEEE and IEEE-USA volunteers traveled to the event at their own expense. Among them were two IEEE-USA volunteers, who traveled on their own dime, to join the Jamboree. One of them, Region 3’s Matthew Iglesias serves on IEEE-USA’s K-12 Stem Literacy Committee; and another, Neeraj Bhatia, who has also served on the Committee. Iglesias is a young professional, who goes out of his way to help kids understand technology. He traveled more than 320 miles, from Dahlgren, Va., to West Virginia to attend this event. Bhatia also went the extra mile—he apparently flew from Japan (more than 6,700 miles) to participate.
As former President George W. Bush once reflected: “Times and challenges change, yet the values of Scouting will never change. Scouts of any era would recognize every word that you live by today, because those words have always defined Scouting. The goodness of a person and of the society he or she lives in often comes down to very simple things, and the words found in the Scout Law. Every society depends on trust and loyalty, on courtesy and kindness, on bravery and reverence. These are the values of Scouting, and these are the values of America.”
Kudos to IEEE, IEEE-USA, and all the IEEE entities and volunteers that assisted, funded, and participated in the Jamboree. The programs and activities they all took part in help develop young people’s confidence; increase their ability to understand science and technology; tackle today’s challenging world – and see the possibilities the future holds.
Georgia C. Stelluto is IEEE-USA’s Publishing Manager; Manager/Editor of IEEE-USA E-BOOKS; Editor of IEEE-USA Conference Brief; and IEEE-USA InSight’s InFocus Department Editor.