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From our hearts and our heads

Girls Scouts Add STEM badges

MINDThe Girl Scouts of America has evolved a lot since it’s founding in 1912, and continues to reshape as girls demand new roles and spaces in society. In keeping with this, the Girl Scouts this fall is offering 30 new badges that represent skills and knowledge that a modern girl should have and, unsurprisingly, many of them are related to STEM.

Among the latest badges are cyber security, to help girls learn to stay safe online; environmental stewardship, to teach girls how to engage with a planet that’s increasingly affected by climate change; space science (which is a badge that can actually be earned in partnership with NASA); college exploration, to encourage girls to pursue higher education; and, among others, robotics, to help shepherd girls into engineering, a field that is still woefully unbalanced when it comes to gender. .

In an official press release from the Girl Scouts, the organization said, “The new Girl Scout programming builds girls’ skills and encourages their interest in STEM and environmental conservation from an early age. [The programming] increases their confidence in these areas — in an all-girl environment where they feel comfortable trying new things, taking appropriate risks, and learning from failure.” .

The organization also views the additional badges as a progression in line with existing programming, not a departure. The move to expand the Girls Scouts’ programming and support for STEM may be influenced in part by the recent changes in the former Boy Scouts, now just Scouts, allowing girls to join. The Girl Scouts is attempting to change with the times as well, maintaining a safe space for girls while also exposing them to all kinds of life skills. .