SANDWICH – More than 5,000 elementary, middle school and high school youth attended “STEM-O-Rama: A Journey to Applied Sciences” last weekend at the Sandwich Fairgrounds.
The bi-annual event is hosted by the Three Fires Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The council is the second largest in Illinois and includes 15,000 families in DeKalb, DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties and parts of Will and Cook counties.
STEM-O-Rama featured 94 science, technology, engineering and math-related events and activities, as well as awareness of other types of STEM: shooting sports, teaching, the environment and manufacturing. The event offered seven zones: shooting sports, sports, manufacturing, teaching, environmental, abilities awareness, and adventure.
Scouts and their families participated in tomahawk throwing; archery; a rock-climbing wall; an inflatable obstacle course; flying a drone; launching a rocket; soldering a pin; carving a wooden whistle; and viewing and playing with Lego robotics, pinball machines and model trains.
“We love that the event offers exposure to STEM and potential STEM-related career paths,” said Nick Roberts, chief operating officer of Three Fires Council. “It gives the opportunity to try things they might not otherwise have a chance to try.”
The event began Friday night with a film screening and camping; the seven STEM zones Saturday, with camping and two live bands; and fireworks at night and breakfast and faith worship services Sunday morning.
Sherry Herzog, co-chairwoman of the council’s special needs committee, said the council’s attention to abilities awareness is unique in the Scouting world. Activities in that zone included wheelchair archery, basketball and bowling, mirror boxes to imitate dyslexia and Braille blocks.
“Scouting is for everyone,” Herzog said. “We wanted to raise awareness of abilities and offer a program for everyone, regardless if they are special needs. Every Scout has abilities, and they each can learn and have fun.”