About a month ago, I was tremendously inspired by this story on NPR about folks around the country creating "Scoutlike groups that concentrate on technology and do-it-yourself projects " as opposed to following the traditional Boy Scout format for their children. After much searching, I haven't been able to identify any group in the Nashville area offering something like this. So, I am currently considering starting one from scratch with like-minded parents in the area. Would you be interested in joining a Google+ Hangout to brainstorm putting together a co-ed hacker scout group in Nashville for kids ages 6-14?
I was a Boy Scout growing up and loved it. I had a blast exploring the great outdoors, and learned a ton of life skills that translated well into adulthood. When my oldest son was born I looked forward to the day I could sign him up to share the experiences I had as a child. Now, as my son is nearly 6 years old and membership is nigh, I have been seriously questioning if this would be the best decision for him as a parent. [gard] The thing is, most of the skills children learn from traditional Scouting prepares them for careers as policemen, firemen, soldiers and politicians. If I desire for my child to get the absolute most out of life and excel in his future professional career, wouldn't it be better to involve him in activities that had more translatable skills in the modern workforce? Furthermore, with all of the controversy that surrounds the Boy Scouts, involvement seems like it could simply bring unwelcome antagonism that has been a dividing wedge for many people.
As far as learning about the great outdoor survival skills; for us, we've taken our children camping since they were babies. I took Drew for his first overnight backpacking trip last fall. Our family already does these activities for fun, and I think many other parents may do something similar. Besides, these skills aren't the ones that will translate directly into a marketable career in the future, and our children mostly seem interested in LEGO's and video games at this age anyways.
So the entrepreneurial side of me thinks, why not just put together a small cooperative of like-minded parents in town and start our very own group of Hacker or Maker Scouts? On the face of it, all it seems we would have to do is:
- Establish a set of gamification techniques to guide the activities the kids pursue, setting appropriate levels and badges for completion of activities. Utilizing DIY.org could make this INCREDIBLY simple, basically providing an out-of-the-box solution to badges and activities.
- Find a consistant meeting time and location that is appropriate for all of the participants. I have visited the Hacker Consortium, and I know the Middle TN Robotics Arts Society uses the Adventure Science Center as a space that we could consider. Otherwise, meeting in someone's home is also certainly viable while this is small.
- Estimate the costs that it would take to rent the space, carry out the activities, and go on any events we would want to do as a group. Then assign an appropriate membership fee for each participant.
- Assign officers responsible to run the group. Maybe including: principal, secretary, treasurer, head of recruitment, activities, events/outings, facilities, etc.
Does this sound at all interesting to you for your children? Would you be interested in having an informal conversation about what a group like this would potentially look like? Consider joining an open Google Hangout to discuss at 8pm on Feb 20th to discuss more (or please recommend another time if this doesn't work for you - want as many interested to attend).