By request of members, most of the nearly four dozen new badges recently announced by Girl Scouts of the USA focus on different aspects of STEM, including coding, cybersecurity, and space exploration.
The mission of the Girl Scouts of the USA has long been to push young girls to new heights. Its latest set of badges could put a few of them on a path toward going into orbit.
Recently, GSUSA announced 42 new badges, of which nearly three-quarters are dedicated to helping girls develop skills they need for the future related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM:
- Nine badges dedicated to cybersecurity, particularly encryption and hacking
- Three badges on space science
- 18 “Coding for Good” badges, focused on teaching how to code and how to apply that knowledge to help others
GSUSA has also created a STEM Journey, called “Think Like a Citizen Scientist,” which will allow young girls to take part in interactive activities using the scientific method. In one recent example, Girl Scouts from Aurora, Colorado, built “bee hotels,” providing safe places for the insects to lay their eggs.
A big driver of the increased focus on STEM was stakeholder interest, according to the group.
“When girls, parents, and volunteers tell us what they want out of their Girl Scout experience, we listen and take action,” GSUSA said in announcing the new badges. “There’s never been a better time for girls to shine, and there’s no better place to do it than at Girl Scouts.”
It also comes as other STEM-focused groups, such as the campaign IF/THEN, boost efforts to close the gender gap in tech and science.
GSUSA launched its new offerings last month in Huntsville, Alabama, amid festivities for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Speaking to AL.com, Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo, herself a former NASA scientist, said the goal is to spark passion among curious minds.
“This isn’t just an interest,” she said. “It could be a career.”