Our Big News and the Big Question

We have some big news. Because of the way in which Hacker Scouts is resonating and growing with so many, we have made some organizational changes. Hacker Scouts is joining the School Factory under their fiscal umbrella. They are an organization that shares our core values and our dedication to STEAM education and skill building. This has resulted in two specific benefits (among many!). First, it preserves our eligibility for a grant we are in the final process of securing (woohoo!). Second, it created a merger! The School Factory had volunteers working on a similar idea for a while called "Maker Scouts." While they had plenty of ideas and planning well thought out and documented for a national program, they were not actively running any live events. Instead of running parallel programs, we have folded Maker Scouts into the Hacker Scouts organization, including some of their talented Makers who wanted to continue this work that we all feel so strongly about. We are very excited and grateful that our vision is being realized! We will maintain our partnership with AMT, so meetings and Open Labs will remain there.
During the meetings around how we would blend the two programs, a big question we had to face was in the name. There was some concern that using the word "Hacker" instead of "Maker" would be a controversial choice. That perhaps we would be knowingly isolating many communities who still see "hacker" and think "bad guys" and therefore would not want to associate with us. Now, living in the Bay Area we have never run into this problem, but our new team members, who live in the Midwest and the South have seen it firsthand, and so we took the discussion seriously. The last thing we want to do is alienate or offend anyone, but in the end, we are sticking with our original decision and this is why: Hacker Scouts was named intentionally. We have built our reputation on our name. We believe in it's meaning.  As we have on our FAQ's page: The term "hacking" has a bad rap. Unfortunately, there are some who associate the term with illegal activity. Hacking is simply taking something- like an object or idea- and changing it to fit one's own need. Hacking is the improvement and modification of technology. Hacking has revolutionized medicine, science, education, art, and many other disciplines. Hacking is how we progress. At Hacker Scouts, making isn't enough. We are hacking what education can look like. We are hacking activities so that families get the most information and skills out of them. We are hacking new thing out old things because it not only changes the way kids see the process of how things are built and used, but it changes their world view towards conservation and sustainability. We are taking back the word "Hacking"!
 The term is powerful. It provokes us into conversation. It challenges technology and preconceived ideas about what is possible. It exemplifies what we are trying to do with STEAM education. We are trying to completely change the way in which learning and skill building happens for kids, making it real and relevant. As Sir Ken Robinson says, a revolution is happening in education and technology right now, and it starts from the ground up. So perhaps there will be some negative reactions to our name, but we see them as an opportunity to educate. Because that's what we do.
Here at Hacker Scouts, we are going to keep focusing on our mission, utilizing the amazing resources and talents of a dynamic- and now national- staff, and continue in our dedication to our kids and their experience. We feel that while others can debate the power of words, we would rather prove our point through the power of action.