Girl Scouts offer at-home programming
By Alison Bailin Batz
Now more than ever, it’s critical that we have strong leaders who can make informed decisions.
“Just as critical is providing resources to help support the leaders of tomorrow, despite the current health crisis,” says Tamara Woodbury, Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council CEO.
“In an effort to engage and inspire the many local girls and young women learning from home or doing a hybrid of at-home learning and getting used to a modified classroom setting, the Girl Scouts now offer both a Girl Scouts at Home program and recently launched 24 new badges.”
Girl Scouts at Home
Through Girl Scouts at Home, Girl Scouts offer all girls—whether they are registered Girl Scouts or not—access to Girl Scout activities. Girls in kindergarten to 12th grade will find a wide variety of enriching activities plus two full badge activity guides that allow them to earn official Girl Scout badges.
Additionally, the council partnered with the Girl Scout community to offer videos leading girls through this new Girl Scout experience.
“These virtual Girl Scouting programs, events and activities also support parents as they continue to juggle new challenges during this current time,” Woodbury says.
“Girl Scouts at Home programs and guides are easy for parents, caregivers and troop leaders to lead at home, or for a girl to lead through her own activities.”
Beyond virtual programming, the Girl Scouts have also launched 24 new badges designed to help girls practice ambitious leadership in the crucial areas of automotive engineering, STEM career exploration, entrepreneurship and civics.
“In a year of unprecedented global change, our country’s need for strong, broad-minded and decisive leadership has never been greater,” Woodbury says. “Through new and existing programming, Girl Scouts equips the next generation of female changemakers with the breadth of knowledge, skills and experiences they need to take charge and do good for the world, now and in the future.”
The new Girl Scout badges include:
Entrepreneurship (grades K–12). Girls develop an entrepreneurial mindset as they engage in age-appropriate exercises that help them create and pitch a product or service that solves a problem. They build their own business plan and think about topics like production, cost, profit, marketing and competition. Three in four of today’s girls are interested in becoming an entrepreneur, but more than half also say they need more support in this area; these badges are designed to fill the gap.
STEM Career Exploration (grades 2–8). Girls explore their career interests and connect them to STEM fields—particularly computer science, nature/environmental science, engineering, design, health and agriculture—that can help them address the pressing issues of our time and change the world. The If/Then Collection, a free, downloadable digital asset library of real-life women in STEM, is an integral component of the badges. The dearth of women in STEM fields is well documented, but data shows that girls are more interested in a STEM career when they learn how they can use it to help people, demonstrating the value of Girl Scouts’ unique approach.
Automotive Engineering (grades K–5). Girls learn about designing, engineering and manufacturing vehicles, as well as the future of mobility. They design their own vehicles, test prototypes, learn about design thinking, create their own assembly line manufacturing process, and more. Only 13% of engineers are women, underscoring the need for these badges, which will introduce more girls to the field.
Civics (grades K–12). Girls gain an in-depth understanding of how local, state and federal government works, preparing them to be voters, activists and even political leaders. They research laws and how they’re created, voting and the electoral college, the representation of women in government, and more. They also research their own government officials and are encouraged to meet them. Just 24% of eighth-graders are proficient in civics, and only two in five American adults can name the three branches of U.S. government, highlighting the need for these badges.
Girl Scout Suffrage Centennial Patch
Beyond the virtual programming for all girls and new badges for the Girl Scouts, councils from across the country are also celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which removed the gender restriction to voting, throughout the end of the year as well.
“Before this groundbreaking amendment, women couldn’t vote in national elections. In some states, women were also banned from voting in local elections. However, even after the 19th Amendment, many states passed laws discriminating against women of color—laws that were not eliminated until the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” Woodbury says.
This patch program, available virtually as well, gives troops the chance to explore these moments in history through guides, activities and more. It also illustrates why and how work still needs to be done on this issue, even in 2020.
“Believe it or not, in some states voting laws and barriers remain in place that impede women—especially women of color—from participating in elections,” Woodbury says. “And yet women continue to demand their right to vote and are running for office in higher numbers than ever before.”
This program also aims to shine a light on this moment in history as it is happening.
Learn more about these programs and joining Girl Scouts at girlscoutsaz.org.
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