Brian Hoffer is a Den Leader of Pack 129 in NCAC as well as a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. In other words, he went to the same academy as Astronaut Charlie Duke! How cool is that?! Even cooler, Brian reached out to NCAC in February to suggest that we invite Astronaut Duke to STEM Speaker Series. We did, Astronaut Duke agreed to participate, and on March 18th STEM Speaker Series hosted a great chat with Astronaut Duke and a few thousand scouts.
In case you’re wondering, astronauts have a strong connection to scouting. In fact, all but one astronaut to walk on the moon were in BSA at some rank or another (ranging from Cub Scout, to Tenderfoot… to Eagle Scout). Only two of those astronauts earned the rank of Eagle and they are Astronaut Charlie Duke and Astronaut Neil Armstrong.
Needless to say, we were delighted to host Astronaut Duke in STEM Speaker Series. This webinar series was designed by the NCAC STEM Committee in spring 2020 as a way to encourage youth to learn about STEM careers during the pandemic. We invite STEM professionals to present about their career and education, and to then answer questions live from the youth.
This special edition featuring Astronaut Duke was even broadcast across National BSA’s channels! You can rewatch the talk here, and check out the NCAC STEM Facebook page for future STEM Speaker Series.
Brian Hoffer’s Den from Pack 129 tuned in for the chat, and even submit a few questions for Astronaut Duke! This wasn’t their first interaction with the incredible world of space exploration. These cubs earned a Nova Award, “Out of this World” during the past year.
Each Nova Award generally follows a format that encourages a myriad of activities: read/watch an hour on the topic, do some hands-on activities in the subject area, visit a museum/laboratory, talk to an expert, discuss what you learned.
The requirements of the Out of this World Nova Award included a field trip. Thus, for requirement 4A, Brian had organized a field trip for his den to visit the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. They were lucky to have visited pre-pandemic, but NASA offers some interactive virtual tours even now.
For another requirement, one of the webelos created this vibrant digital art of a Mars base.
Congratulations to the following Webelos in Pack 129, in National Capital Area Council, for earning the Out of this World Nova Award:
Here’s the photo of them at the NASA Goddard Space Center eating Astronaut Ice Cream. All in all, what a cool way to learn about space, and have a capstone event!