STEM, Outdoor Badges Enrich Girl Scouts

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Smart elementary school students doing science experiment in class

Staff Report

With additional STEM and outdoor content for girls, available to troop leaders via a “digital assistant,” Girl Scouts makes it easier and more impactful to ignite the power of every girl. Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay (GSCB) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) released new badges in STEM (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, GSUSA—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 that Girl Scouts exhibit compared to their non–Girl Scout peers, there has never been a better time to join.

Through hands-on and age-appropriate experiences for girls as young as five, 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. In fact, Girl Scouts are almost twice as likely as non–Girl Scouts to participate in STEM and outdoor activities. 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 hand at engineering, and so much more. GSUSA created programming that 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.

A new report from the Girl Scout Research Institute, The Girl Scout Impact Study, shows that participating in Girl Scouts helps girls develop key leadership skills they need to be successful in life. Compared to their peers, Girl Scouts are more likely than non–Girl Scouts to be leaders because they have confidence in themselves and their abilities, 80% vs. 68%;act ethically and responsibly, and show concern for others, 75% vs. 59%; seek challenges and learn from setbacks, 62% vs. 42%; develop and maintain healthy relationships, 60% vs. 43%; identify and solve problems in their communities, 57% vs. 28%;  and take an active role in decision making, 80% vs. 51%.

Importantly, what girls gain through Girl Scouting positively affects all areas of their lives. For example, Girl Scouts do better than their non–Girl Scout peers in the classroom, earning better grades and aspiring to higher educational attainment, and are more likely to seek careers in STEM, law, and business—industries in which women are underrepresented. And the benefits of Girl Scouting are not exclusive to any particular demographic, which means that no matter where girls live or what their age or background, Girl Scouts can help them develop to their full potential and excel in all aspects of life.

“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 GSCB 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 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.”

Anyone interested should visit www.gscb.org/join where they can fill out some information regarding their daughter and then see the opportunity catalog which will list local troops open to new girls as well as newly formed troops. Service Unit 11 serves families in the Milford and Lake Forest School District areas. Families can also e-mail the organization at gscbsu11@gmail.com or contact Service Unit Manager Jennifer Antonik at 302-858-3707 to find out more about opportunities in our area.

“We have some exciting things in store this year such as new trainings for volunteers in conjunction with the Milford Garden Club and other community entities,” said Antonik. “As one community organization servicing a large area, we really want to re-engage the community as a whole with our programming so we can best serve them and our families. We are also working on some service unit wide take action projects for the communities we serve. We are still searching for community partners for the year.”

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