Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Great Rivers Council recently announced the opening of the Sinquefield Invention Lab and Training Center to provide kids from across the state the opportunity to work with technology and learn about investing and entrepreneurship.

A technologically advanced 6,000-square-foot facility overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks will offer a brand new world of exploration and invention for Missouri’s Boy Scout troops.

Located at Camp Hohn Lake of the Ozarks Scout Reservation at the 44-mile marker southwest of Laurie, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Great Rivers Council recently announced the opening of the Sinquefield Invention Lab and Training Center to provide kids from across the state the opportunity to work with technology and learn about investing and entrepreneurship.

Courtesy of a generous donation from Scoutmaster Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield, wife of Rex Sinquefield, the lab currently houses computers, 3D printers, laser engravers, CNC routers, embroidery machines, Scan-n-Cut machines, littleBits, soldering equipment and a program featuring woodworking tools and materials, according to a press release from BSA. The couple are among Missouri’s biggest financial and philanthropic donors.

In addition to offering instruction on business, creativity, sustainability and leadership, the lab plans to include more equipment such as vinyl printers and multimedia software for the laptop computers.

“We want to help scouts, students, and adults to make their ideas come to life,” Dr. Sinquefield said via the press release. “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.”

The inspiration behind this project began in 2012 when three Scouts invented Chess2Go; a chess set that can fit in your pocket. Sinquefield sought to create a Scouting program centered around inventorship and entrepreneurship which has morphed into The Invention Scouts.

With its opening, the Great Rivers Council (GRC) becomes the first council in the Boy Scouts of America to own and operate an Invention Lab. Merit badge instruction currently includes entrepreneurship, inventing, woodwork, radio, engineering, game design, electronics, sustainability, model design and building, sculpture and graphic arts.

Drew Wood, the Invention Lab’s summer camp director said, “In the lab we provide the opportunity for Scouts to use equipment they may 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.”

The newly-built Invention Lab will serve as the flagship of Invention Scouts, and will provide Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, Explorers, students and adults across Missouri the opportunity to utilize the facility.

GRC is the first council to have Invention Scouts, a pilot program designed to inspire scouts to become inventors and entrepreneurs for life. It is coeducational, so young men and women ages 11-21 can join, and no prior scouting experience is required.

“In schools it is popular to push for STEM, and for kids to learn those are facts. The Invention Lab is more than that; creativity and innovation will never go away. This is a timeless program which makes it super cool for Scouts’ Camp Program Director Daniel Wright said.

Sustainability is another theme of the lab as GRC used many recyclable materials for its completion. The tables are repurposed restaurant furniture, while the work tables were made from wood leftover from the construction.

“We are very proud to open the Invention Lab this summer to our Scouts in camp,” Doug Callahan, Scout Executive of GRC, stated. “It will become a resource for local community youth as well as attract Scouts from other states to learn the business of invention.”

For tours of the Invention Lab, contact the Lake of the Ozarks Scout Reservation at 573-374-5761.