Countless kids have grown up with the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts or Campfire Girls, but for some families, the uniforms and outdoor focus of traditional Scouting groups don’t appeal.
In recent months, Scoutlike groups that concentrate on technology and do-it-yourself projects have been sprouting up around the country. They’re coed and, like traditional Scouting organizations, award patches to kids who master skills.
The Hacker Scouts don’t wear uniforms, but soon they’ll be able to earn something akin to merit badges, made by the kid-friendly DIY electronics company Adafruit Industries.
Badges range from “learn to solder,” “aerial quadcopter” and “high-altitude balloon” badges to the “Dumpster-diving” badge — “for when you get dirty but get some free stuff,” explains Adafruit founder Limor Fried.
Adafruit iron-on “skill badges” / patches and partners – Adafruit offers fun and exciting “badges” of achievement for electronics, science and engineering. Please visit our badge section to purchase badges or contact us for more information on how educators can participate. We believe everyone should be able to be rewarded for learning a useful skill, a badge is just one of the many ways to show and share. From the “I CAN USE A LASER CUTTER” or “I CAN SOLDER” to “I LEARNED MICRO-CONTROLLERS” Adafruit has designed open-source badges to reward students, beginners and individuals who are learning with Adafruit products.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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This is great to see! I was in an Explorer post back in the 70s that specialized in electronics (we were the only one in the area, everybody else was outdoors, volunteer, etc.). Our advisors were a couple of engineers who obviously loved what they did, and while our "program" was fairly unstructured – by design, I’m sure – I learned a lot and ended up with a life-long interest.
Fast forward to when we tried to find something similar for my son, and found out that everything had changed – the only Explorer posts that were even vaguely technology-related ran 4-6 week programs that were very structured.
I hope this new movement grows … it seems like it’s going to be terrific for everybody involved.