The Boy Scouts of America Great Rivers Council recently opened the Sinquefield Invention Lab and Training Center at the Lake of the Ozarks Scout Reservation, according to a new release last week.
The permanent building is different than the Sinquefield mobile trailer lab that recently stopped at Cedar Hill Elementary in Jefferson City. The site at the reservation is a 6,000-square-foot facility, located on a blufftop overlooking the lake at mile marker 44. It won't be wheeled away anywhere.
The Invention Lab houses laptop computers; 3-D printers; laser engravers; programmable cutters of materials like wood, composites, metals, plastic and foams; embroidery machines; Scan-n-Cut machines to cut out designs on pieces of fabric; simple electrical circuit-building parts called littleBits; soldering equipment; and a program building featuring wood-working tools and materials.
Vinyl printers and multimedia software will be added to the Invention Lab later, according to the news release. The lab also offers instruction on "leadership, business, creativity and sustainability."
The Great Rivers Council is now the first council in the Boy Scouts of America to own and operate an Invention Lab.
"In the lab, we provide the opportunity for Scouts to use equipment they may never have never seen before. We give them time to use their creative juices to design and create brand new things. They are challenged through merit badge requirements and competitions," Drew Wood, the Invention Lab's summer camp director, said in the news release.
Activities at the lab could benefit Scouts working to earn merit badges including entrepreneurship, woodwork, radio, engineering, electronics, sustainability and graphic arts.
"Boy Scouts camp has first priority" when it comes to accessing the lab, Great Rivers Council Development Director Greg Baker said.
The building is open to Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, Explorers, students and adults across the state.
Baker said would-be visitors can log onto the reservation's website — lotosr.org — to view a calendar of events and, based on that availability, sign up for different things at the camp, including access to the Invention Lab.
Great Rivers Coucnil Scout Executive Doug Callahan said the lab "will become a resource for local community youth as well as attract Scouts from other states to learn the business of invention."
The Great Rivers Council is also the first council to have Invention Scouts, a pilot program designed to inspire Scouts to become inventors and entrepreneurs. That program is co-ed, open to young men and women ages 14-21, who don't have to to have prior scouting experience. Invention Scouts was founded last year.
"Becoming an inventor and an entrepreneur is so much more than just technology. It's also about understanding business, manufacturing and production, leadership, marketing, creativity and most importantly, how we can use what we learn to serve the community," Jeanne Sinquefield said in the news release. Sinquefield sought to create the program that has became Invention Scouts.