Tim Peake surprises local Scouts with interstellar evening
Blackwater Valley District Scouts in Hampshire were excited to receive a surprise visit from Scout Ambassador and European Space Agency astronaut, Major Tim Peake.
During the visit, Tim led a session on air and water rockets, helping teach Scouts the skills they need to earn their Astronautics Activity Badge before taking questions. Keen to learn about the skills and life experiences that launched Tim into space, young people were able to ask questions like ‘What does it feel like to be launched in a rocket?’ and ‘What does weightlessness feel like?’, before hearing about Tim’s own experiences as a young Scout.
Getting young people excited about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills and the places they can take them is an important part of Peake’s work, beyond his role with the European Space Agency.
As a young boy, Tim watched the stars for the first time during a Scout camp and years later, he credits Scouting not only for developing his teamwork and leadership skills, but for fuelling his interest in STEM in the first place; ultimately launching his journey to become an astronaut.
STEM skills are an increasingly important part of our Scout Programme. There are now 27 STEM related badges on offer, a number that has nearly doubled over the last 15 years.
‘The importance of STEM cannot be underestimated’, said Tim. ‘58% of all new jobs on the market are predicted to be STEM related. Inspiring more young people to take an interest in STEM, and educating them on all of the possibilities it can open up from an early age, is crucial to ensuring the UK can continue to compete on a global scale.
‘To meet demand, we need to increase formal STEM education far beyond current levels. Almost three in four UK businesses rely on STEM skills and the fantastic work being done by the Scouts to ignite young people’s engagement and excitement for STEM in a fun and hands-on environment is so important. It’s a vital contribution to the UK’s future, and something I experienced first-hand.
Being part of the Scouts allowed me to explore different interests, to discover what I found rewarding, and to gain the confidence to take on new challenges. It was the first step in my journey to becoming an astronaut’.
11-year-old Scout Libby Roy added: ‘Tim visiting my Scout Group was such an amazing surprise. He’s such an inspiration and made an awesome Scout Leader! He made me realise that if you follow your dreams, you can reach the stars!’
Tim Kidd, UK Chief Commissioner, said: ‘Most people know that young people learn skills such as fire lighting, camping and teamwork at Scouts. What they don’t know is that young people also learn how to fly aircraft, make rockets and code computers.
In the last 12 months, Scouts have earned over 200,000 badges that help them develop STEM related skills. Having astronaut Tim Peake drop in to help the Scouts achieve their Astronautics badge was a real surprise and demonstrates our commitment to helping young people thrive.’
We recently launched our new five-year strategy, Skills for Life, which aims to prepare young people with the skills they need to succeed and have a positive impact on society. The strategy focuses on growing Scout youth member numbers, increasing access to Scouting for people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds, ensuring young people are driving change and helping them to make a bigger impact in their local communities.