Spend the summer learning, not lounging: HMNS Ecoteen & Scout talks competitive edge and making science social

Some kids think of summer as a time to take a brain break. But for campers and young volunteers at HMNS, it’s an opportunity to keep learning, make new friends and edge past the couch potatoes.

Nick Schaupp‘s involvement with HMNS — both as a camper and later as an Ecoteen — began three summers ago. While spending a summer learning instead of lounging around might seem nerdy to some, Nick says he was surprised by the social aspect of being an HMNS Scout.

“I thought it might be a little boring or bland, but there was a lot of social interaction,” he says, with field trips and plenty of opportunity to goof off with new friends and fellow Scouts. Nick says that within three days, he’d forged new friendships that he could tell from the start would outlast the summer.

In addition to providing an outlet to meet and hang out with like-minded, accomplished young people, HMNS’ Scouts program helped Nick accelerate his progress toward becoming an Eagle Scout; he arrived at his first Scout meeting after that first summer with a stack of merit badges when most kids had only tans to show for their summer.

And after being asked to ramp up his volunteering as an Ecoteen, Nick found that many of his friends were envious of his summer job. “They think it’s cool working at a museum,” Nick says. “Definitely cooler than flipping burgers or lotioning up as a lifeguard.”

Now looking forward to the next challenge, Nick says his experience at HMNS has given him an edge when it comes to college applications. “I know what it’s like to work hard, and being an Ecoteen has helped with interviews.”

Follow Nick’s lead and make the most of your summer as an Ecoteen or Scout! Learn more at hmns.org.