A new opportunity for young people aged 11 to 14 has opened up through the local Boy Scouts troop. A new ‘Explorers Club’ is being formed, with the goal of enabling kids to discover how their passions can lead them to a future career doing what they love.
Deena Ward, a Fredericktown city alderman and assistant scoutmaster, said the club will open up new opportunities for kids, some of whom wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to be involved with the scouts.
“It’s a co-ed program,” Ward said. “And the purpose of the club is to get both boys and girls to explore more job opportunities. Like my pastimes or hobbies … how can I turn that into a job? Because a lot of people want to grow up and do that one thing that they love.”
Ward said the Explorers don’t have uniforms, but like the Scouts the focus is still on the outdoors.
“We’ll be exploring what kind of jobs we can get, conservation-related,” Ward said. “How you can turn a love of camping and outdoors into a job.”
Ward said there will also be a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – or STEM topics.
“We’ve been active in the STEM program that scouting offers for years,” Ward said. “And we’re going to focus on different STEM events. We have things where we go to UMSL and we also go to SEMO at Cape, and they’ll put on week-long camps where we have days to go there for a one day event and the kids can earn a merit badge in something like welding, or electronics or computers. There’s a lot they can do that is STEM related.”
Assistant Scoutmaster Jason DeSpain said opening the scouts organization to more kids will be a good thing.
“With the way things are going now, we felt that it was best for us to go ahead and start the Explorer post to allow females in the community to be involved in scouting,” DeSpain said.
“I think that there’s going to be a lot of new adventures for us,” he added. “It’s going to be a challenge, but we’ve got some good leaders that are willing to accept that challenge and move forward with it.”
Ward said the Explorers Club is not finalized yet, but that shouldn’t stop kids who are interested from getting involved now.
“They can come and start mingling, and we can let the kids get to know each other,” Ward said. “And as soon as we finalize the paperwork, we’ll be official.”
Ward said kids who are interested in Scouting or the Explorers Club can attend the weekly Scout meeting from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at 403 East Marvin Avenue. She said scout leadership is also looking for additional female leadership volunteers to ensure there is a good balance of male and female leaders as more girls join the program.
Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Democrat News. He can be reached at 573-783-3366 or firstname.lastname@example.org