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New STEM and outdoor badges enrich Girl Scouts programming

August 12, 2017

Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay and Girl Scouts of the USA have released new badges in science, technology, engineering and math, and the outdoors, areas girls are not typically encouraged to explore outside of Girl Scouting. The badges will debut on the organization's first digital platform for volunteers, making it more accessible than ever to unleash the power of every girl.

At a time when 81 percent of American voters think preparing girls for leadership roles should be a national priority, Girl Scouts - the preeminent leadership development organization for girls - offers girls even more opportunities to learn skills and empower themselves with the experiences they need to succeed in life. And as the Girl Scout Research Institute releases new findings that confirm the outstanding leadership outcomes Girl Scouts exhibit compared to their non-Girl Scout peers, there has never been a better time to join.

New programming in STEM and the outdoors

Through hands-on and age-appropriate experiences for girls as young as 5, Girl Scouts is both enhancing the important outdoor opportunities the organization is known for and addressing the lack of exposure many girls have to STEM. With the introduction of 23 new badges, which marks the largest programming rollout in almost a decade, Girl Scouts can design robots and racecars, go on environmentally conscious camping trips, write code, collect data in the great outdoors, try their hands at engineering, and much more. Programming included contributions from many notable organizations. Collaborators include the STEM-focused Code.org, GoldieBlox, SciStarter, Society of Women Engineers and WGBH/Design Squad Global, as well as the outdoor-focused Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.

The new Girl Scout programming builds girls' skills and encourages their interest in STEM and environmental conservation from an early age, increasing their confidence in these areas, in an all-girl environment where they feel comfortable trying new things, taking appropriate risks and learning from failures. For more information about the new badges, go to www.girlscouts.org/ourprogram.

Digitizing the volunteer experience

The new Girl Scout program elements are now available to more members than ever before via the recently expanded Volunteer Toolkit, Girl Scouts' first digital assistant for troop leaders and parents, allowing them to more easily plan meetings and activities, keep track of important information, and ultimately make it easier to support amazing experiences for girls. In the toolkit, most Girl Scout programming for girls in kindergarten through fifth grade is auto-populated so troop leaders can view activity plans and necessary materials, customize meeting plans, track troop finances, and more, all in one place. The instructions included throughout make subjects that might otherwise intimidate some volunteers - like STEM - accessible and understandable, so they can confidently lead troop activities.

"Now more than ever it's important that we are moving at the speed of girls, and girls are telling us that they want more outdoor experiences and more advanced work in STEM," said Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay CEO Anne T. Hogan. "These new programs are bringing robotics, engineering and coding to our youngest Girl Scouts. We have been lucky to have so many community partners in the STEM field in our area, and we are a leader in STEM programming in the Girl Scout movement. DuPont and GSCB have been running Engineering Your Tomorrow for our middle school Girl Scouts for 28 years, and now we can bring engineering concepts to even younger girls. This is what sets Girl Scouting apart - these girls would not have these incredible experiences elsewhere."

Through Girl Scouting, girls learn to face challenges head-on, embrace failure as a learning opportunity, create lasting relationships, and find dynamic solutions to social issues, all while building the skills and courage they need to take the lead every day and empower themselves for life. For more information, to join or volunteer, go to www.girlscouts.org/join.

 

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