St. Louis, MO – November 19, 2018 – On a Monday evening in late October, 13 eastern Missouri G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) TMin fourth and fifth grade huddled over several palm-sized computers learning how to code. As the evening came to an end, these Girl Scouts left feeling confident and inspired about computer programming, electronics and physical computing.
The group of girls and their more than 40,000 sister Girl Scouts will continue to explore STEM-related fields at an early age in part because of community supporters like Boeing. This month, Boeing awarded Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri a $32,000 grant to support the organization’s effort to ignite girls’ curiosity in traditionally male-dominated fields.
Boeing’s generous contribution will help supplement the cost of implementing more than 45 Council-led STEM programs, including Fun with Robots, Hour of Code, Wings of Hope Aviation Experience and Drone Zone. These innovative programs fulfill essential components that a Girl Scout needs to tackle before earning the corresponding badge. Earning badges are a great way for a girl to explore her interests and learn new skills—and to remember every adventure and to show the world what she’s accomplished.
Beginning in 1918, Girl Scouts were earning badges in telegraphy, the outdoors and the economy—all designed to provide young women with the tools needed to be self-reliant, resourceful and confident. But even today, more than a century later, the country still faces a gender gap in the STEM workforce. National statistics report that while 50-percent of today’s college graduates are women, women account for fewer than 20-percent of the bachelors degrees in engineering, computer science and physics.
As the best leadership development organization for girls in the world, Girl Scouts is on the forefront of closing this gap and generating a pipeline of the future STEM workers. The Council promotes STEM as one of its three programmatic focus areas, along with Money Management and Health. As part of its robust STEM curriculum, Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri sponsors 56 FIRST® robotics teams, more than any other youth-serving organization in the region.
“Our Council is celebrating its centennial anniversary this year,” said Bonnie Barczykowski, CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. “As we lay the foundation for a second century of Girl Scouting in this region, it is crucial we continue the work of preparing our Girl Scouts for a lifetime of leadership and success. By providing these important programs, our girls are learning essential skills like problem-solving and critical thinking. We are grateful for Boeing’s investment in our future change-makers.”