Girl Scouts have more opportunities to show off their skills in science, technology, engineering and math after the organization introduced 30 new badges focused on STEM – several of which debuted this summer.
The new badges encourage girls to do things like design and program robots or investigate different parts of cybersecurity. Girl Scouts can earn those, and others like them, in kindergarten all the way through their senior year of high school.
Program development manager with Girl Scouts of Central Indiana (GSCI) Jaime Hubbard says the STEM badges are designed for girls to level up their skills progressively.
“So a girl can continue to build her skills all the way through so that hopefully by the time she graduates high school she’s proficient, she’s also maybe decided this is the career for her,” she says.
Hubbard says a girl-only environment helps them take on more leadership roles as they explore STEM. She says that’s especially important since it’s a male-dominated field girls can find it hard to break into.
“They can then carry those skills into their traditional classrooms and then hopefully further into life skills in a professional setting,” she says.
GSCI has offered more STEM focused summer camps in recent years. Hubbard estimates the organization served between 4,000 and 5,000 girls through STEM programming last year.