Every four years, nearly 40,000 Scouts from across the U.S. gather in the wilds of West Virginia for the Boy Scout Jamboree—a 10-day festival of adventure, skill-building and celebration of the scouting movement’s rich national heritage.
This year, attendees at the July 19-28 Jamboree had a new can’t-miss activity on their packed agenda: A 5,400-square-foot Cognizant Makerspace designed to unleash curiosity and innovation in coming up with solutions to real-world problems.
Inspired by the Maker Movement, which celebrates the art of designing and building through Do It Yourself (DIY) and Do It with Others (DIWO) projects, the space offered 11 stations for exploration and experimentation—from sewing to drones to electronics to a “fix-it café.” Scouts were able to spend as little or as much time as they wanted at any or all of them. No time constraints, no list of instructions—just open-ended opportunities to discover, dream and create.
“I now know what Thomas Edison felt like.”
– Makerspace participant
“Building a Makerspace at Jamboree was an opportunity to expose and inspire a large network of youth and adults to making in a way that aligns with the values of Scouting,” says Associate Director of Educational Affairs Kathryn Nash. “Teamwork, collaboration and problem-solving are competencies in preparedness—a core theme among Scouts and corporations seeking to have a competitive edge in the global economy.”
Nash says the responses were positive across the board. “It was so cool to see the lightbulbs going off all around as kids discovered the possibilities of what they could achieve. One Scout posted this remark on our reflection wall after the experience: ‘I now know what Thomas Edison felt like.’”
Recognizing that the digital innovation is more about humans than machines, Cognizant salutes the curiosity at the heart of a Maker. A Maker is one that is deeply engaged in experimentation, collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking. Makers play with technology to learn about it. They figure out how things are made, how to fix them or how to use them in a whole new way.
Cognizant has long been an advocate for making as the best approach to developing lifelong learners with the confidence to embrace the wave of technological transformation across how we think, work and play. The company launched the “Making the Future” education initiative in 2011 to inspire young learners ages 5-18 to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines through hands-on learning opportunities. Since its launch, the initiative has provided more than 260,000 children in the U.S. with over 1.9 million hours of making activities.