St. Louis, MO – Oct. 3 – Girl Scouts unleashes the G.I.R.L (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader)TM in every girl, preparing her for a lifetime of leadership. Many of today’s Girl Scouts will become leaders in tech, including software development and coding. Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri actively enhances STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education to create a pipeline of the future workforce because by 2022, STEM related careers will account for 1.3 million jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
New this year, Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri is partnering with GlobalHack to bring an immersive STEM program to girls called: “Put On Your Thinking Apps.” On Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Berges Family Girl Scout Program Center in St. Louis, MO, girls get hands-on experience designing and creating their own app. Working together in teams, these Girl Scouts in grades 6-8 will learn software development skills as they build an app prototype intended to enhance the Girl Scout experience.
Beth Casagrand, GlobalHack Director of Youth Programs, said when GlobalHack hosted software competitions, they noticed most of the youth participants were self-taught, white males. Knowing this didn’t represent the entirety of children in St. Louis interested in coding, the company expanded its programs.
“We hope Girl Scouts can see themselves in software development roles,” Casagrand said. “Creating an app sounds scary but at this age it’s incredibly important to empower girls. We want to help them realize this is something that’s interesting and this is something that they can do.”
In addition to learning how to build an app, the Girl Scouts registered for “Put On Your Thinking Apps” will learn from a panel of women in technology, present their final app design to several judges and receive feedback. Although the program is completed in one day, the girls will leave the experience with lasting results.
Girls attribute their increased interest in STEM activities, classes and careers to the STEM programs they engage in through Girl Scouts. In one STEM program, 77 percent agreed that because of Girl Scouts, they’re thinking of pursuing a career in technology, according to the Girl Scout Research Institute.
“At Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, we’re driven to offer all girls opportunities to explore different aspects of STEM,” said Bonnie Barczykowski, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. “Each year we continue to develop a unique curriculum inspiring girls to embrace and celebrate scientific discovery in their lives.”
STEM isn’t new to Girl Scouts. In fact, Girl Scouts has been offering STEM-related badges since 1913 with the introduction of the Electrician and Flyer Badges.
Recently this year, Girl Scouts of the USA released 23 new badges in STEM and the outdoors, areas girls are not typically encouraged to explore outside of Girl Scouting. This was the largest programming rollout in almost a decade and it came a month after 18 new badges in cybersecurity were added to the Girl Scout curriculum.
Just last month, Girl Scouts of the USA announced a partnership with the SETI Institute, to create the first-ever Space Science badges for every Girl Scout grade level—from Daisies to Ambassadors. The six badges are being developed and aligned with NASA’s space sciences: astrophysics, planetary science and heliophysics.