learn / 2016

Future Scouts: 21st century survival skills for 21st century humans

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Future Fields

FUTURE SCOUTS: a series of urban creative labs that prepare youth with essential 21st century literacies and skills, through art, science, design, systems thinking and technology


Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

USC World Building Institute, HexLab Makerspace, C:/DAGS (Critical Design And Gaming School) @ Hawkins High School (South LA), Touchstone Climbing - Cliffs of Id (Culver City), Navel Co-working, Oblong Industries, Two Bit Circus, Variable, Inc.

Please describe your project proposal.

Future Scouts ran a crowd-funded pilot program in July 2016 with 12 teens from across LA for a two weeks, culminating in a Future Worlds Fair: LA 2036! We propose to run two summer sessions in Los Angeles in 2017 for teens aged 13-18, on a by-donation basis, as well fund an after-school program with C:/DAGS @ Hawkins HS for Spring 2017.

Which of the learn metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • College completion
  • College matriculation rates
  • District-wide graduation rates
  • Proficiency in English and Language Arts and Math
  • Early education
  • Student education pipeline
  • Students’ perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school
  • Youth unemployment and underemployment

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to learn?

Our children are growing up in a world with a rate of accelerated change. With each passing generation, the minds of youth evolve and adapt to new behaviors, cultural mores, new interfaces and technologies, ways of learning and communicating.

Currently there’s a gap between what kind of future we’re preparing youth for, and what they are likely to face, even in the next 5-15 years. In a recent report from the World Economic Forum, 65% of jobs that will exist in 10 years, don’t exist today. Another study claims that 50% of jobs that exist today won’t exist in 15 years. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is becoming more and more vital in 21c environments. Youth unemployment and underemployment depend on how adaptive the youth of today can be to non-traditional working environments and a quickly changing social, cultural and technological landscape.

LA’s future relies on the Millenials and Gen Zers being well-prepared to meet the complex challenges our city faces in the near future. We need adaptive, capable individuals that can communicate well, collaborate to face challenges and create better futures for their communities.

Future Scouts combines art, science, technology and the urban landscape to create experiential learning environments. Our program exposes youth from across LA to design and production processes by visiting next-gen companies, makerspaces and public spaces, where they observe the workings of systems in order to prototype solutions themselves. With the city as their laboratory, they collaborate, engage their curiosity, and create through a futuristic project-based learning approach. Future Scouts asks, what kind of world do we want to build towards? And it puts in their hands the frameworks and means to do it.

Future Scouts makes LA the best city to LEARN by:

exposing youth to new types of jobs and fields of work inviting youth to university labs and real-world creative enterprises coaching youth through design + creative processes demonstrating social and emotional learning practices helping youth creatively imagine their own preferred futures discussing issues that affect youth today. placing youth in the context of their city in experiential learning environments encouraging youth to become self-directed, lifelong learners.

We create opportunities for ongoing engagement & community development through:

developing curriculum for futures studies for middle and high schoolers helping them develop their innovations with our wider network providing them opportunities to engage with the city through ongoing events. making our frameworks creative commons and available to others to adopt.

The mission of FutureScouts is to prepare youth with the survival skills for the 21st century – the ability to problem-solve, model complex systems, evaluate knowledge, and create their own narratives. We do this through providing knowledge, experiences and tools that help them become authors of their own futures.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

There are various quantitative metrics we use to measure success from an operational perspective:

Full enrollment in our programs (serve 150 LA youth & families thru 2017). Diverse community served across various LA neighborhoods. Returning youth from our 2016 pilot and other events during the year. Sociable outputs - guides, processes, CC-published curriculum and resources. Placed youth in internships in the creative industries. Sponsorships and donations Volunteers and partnerships

We collect surveys and exit interviews with participants that provide us first-hand with qualitative data on the outcomes of our program. Some snippets from 2016:

‘I learned how I can rely on other people to work on a team instead of working by myself.’ - Harper, 14 ‘It helped me move faster with my creative processing, when i would sit down for about a day and i would write something, but for this I would have to do something in a few hours…I’ll take home with me much better work ethic, discipline, for sure, trust, in myself, and other people.’ - Miles, 16 ‘Soak everything in, because you can learn so much from just observing the systems around us.’ - Nina, 15 ‘There’s so much you could learn, and its not the boring school learning, its the fun, but still educational, real learning.’ Rama, 13 ‘The future isn’t something that other people control, its what you create’. - Michael, 16 ‘I wanna meet all these people again later, everybody’s so great.’ - Eli, 13

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Staff
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research