At some NCAC special fundraising events, a Scout is asked to speak about their Scouting experience. This year at the Technology Good Scout Award Luncheon to honor Bruce Caswell, President & CEO of Maximus, as the 2023 Good Scout on November 8, 2023, Linda, a STEM/Scout BSA, was asked tell everyone how Scouting has influenced her life.
Attendees at the luncheon were very impressed to learn that Linda is a published author of her own children’s book, Linda and the Mysterious Footprints, and founder/CEO of the nonprofit Linda’s Lab. Five years ago, when Cub Scouts first opened their programing to girls, she was one of the first to join and as she commented, “I became part of a historical change for the better, and I am really proud of that.”
Linda explained to the industry leaders that “STEM and Scouting have always gone together. As Scouts we learn orienteering, how to build a fire and a shelter, and how to render medical aid. We become confident scientists and mathematicians without even realizing it. And with the development of STEM Scouts and the NOVA awards program, Scouts can gain an even deeper understanding of the world around us and the science beneath the surface. To earn my Wolf rank, I learned about weather, disaster preparedness, fire safety, and how to identify and respect wildlife. For my Bear rank, I learned to use a thermometer, barometer, and magnifying glass, and the value of community service. I earned the NOVA Swing award by learning how engineering and simple machines affect my life every day. And as a Webelo, I earned the Arrow of Light award by exploring geology and the importance of native plants to our environment.”
“After bridging into Scouts BSA as a founding member of Troop 964G in 2022, I earned my Scout, Tenderfoot, Second class, and First class ranks. I learned first aid, the value of situational awareness and physical strength, and to respect both the beauty and danger present in nature. I learned about the stars and the vastness of the universe. I learned to navigate with a map and compass. I learned to plan ahead, pack and carry my own gear, and to provide myself and others with food and shelter. I gained confidence and strength as a swimmer and learned about water safety and water rescue. As senior patrol leader, I learned to lead others with thoughtfulness and respect. As a Scout I have learned to question, to be brave, to speak with confidence, to work as part of team, to communicate effectively with others, and to value family, community, humanity, and the earth that supports us all.”
“I believe Scouting makes a difference. I believe it teaches us to be bigger than ourselves. I know what it has done for me. When I was five years old, I joined Cub Scouts. I also built a laboratory in my bedroom, and started my nonprofit, Linda’s Lab. The skills I learned as a Scout gave me the confidence to do big things.”
“I skipped three grades in school, started high school and college classes at age seven, and attended UVA a full-time last summer at age 10. I published a children’s book about the scientific method, carbon footprints, and environmental stewardship. I expanded my nonprofit to include science education programs in public schools and libraries. I became a science communicator, sharing my love of science with the world through social media. I was participating in scouting events when I first looked at stars through a telescope, and when i left the earth for the first time, in an open cockpit biplane. These experiences led me to astrophysics.”
She recounted a story, “In May I was on vacation with my family, swimming in a hotel pool. As I played in the pool, I saw something beneath the water. I swam into the deep end and saw a little girl, motionless at the bottom of the pool. Without Scouts, I would not have been in the deep end. I would not have had the situational awareness to spot a person in trouble or found the strength to yell for help and be heard above the noise all around me. My mother heard me first. She pulled the little girl from the pool and began first aid. My father joined her, and I took over care of my little brother, who could not swim yet. Together, we saved a life. Scouting saved a life. So yes, Scouting makes a difference. Today’s scouts are tomorrow’s scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and leaders. And I will be one of them.”
“I could not be more excited to hear from this extrodinarily talented young Scout,” said Scout Executive/CEO Mario A. Pérez who then explained that her nonprofit aims to use mealworm protein to solve world hunger and has a larva library that loans mealworm life cycle experiment kits to public schools so students can learn and be inspired to love science. He noted, “She is currently working on her second children’s book, studying Mandarin Chinese and completing additional coursework to become an astrophysicist. Linda plans to finish high school by age 14, complete an astrophysics degree at the University of Virginia by age 16, and secure her dream job with NASA.”
“The connection between the values instilled through Scouting and the leaders of tomorrow in our industry is absolutely irrefutable,” declaed Mr. Casell during his remarks. “For all the immense good that technology brings and the encouragement we can, should, and will provide Scouts to pursue their passions in this area, I’m simply reminded that now is a critical time to support organizations like Scouting. From overcoming the profound delays in social development exacerbated by the pandemic, to enriching compassion and empathy through activities and interactions with those not like us, Scouting is playing a critical role. We are building stronger and more empathetic citizens and with them – even in a small way – strengthening our communities.”
This annual event that recognizes and honors outstanding leaders in the technology industry from within the Greater Washington, DC area who exemplify the values of the Scout Oath and Law in his or her daily life. This year the event was chaired by Richard Montoni, NVTC Board Chair, Maximus Board Co-Chair, and raised over $200,000 for our Scouting program.
Additional photos from the event can be found on NCAC’s Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/ncacbsa/albums/72177720312531730