By: Chris Luger
In addition to earning badges in traditional areas such as health, relationships, outdoors, and life skills — Girl Scouts nowadays have STEM (Science-Engineering-Technology-Math) topics available to explore.
STEM badge topics include everything from programming robots and designing websites to creating digital content such as photos & movies with focus on entertainment technology. Girls of all ages and grade levels can earn badges as a fun and educational way to explore new directions and possible passions.
As they mature, they can look back on these adventures and recall their early influences.
Minneapolis-based technology company Code42 heard that the Girl Scouts of America were adding STEM badges and thought they could help. Code42 has long been an advocate of contributing to ongoing development and education with STEM initiatives, so this aligned well with their internal corporate values of inclusion and diversity within the local tech community.
Last Saturday, Code42 hosted over 75 young women in grades K-5 from Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin for the Think Like a Programmer event at their Minneapolis headquarters; in addition to the Daisy’s, Brownies, and Junior Girl Scouts that attended, about 20 troop leaders were also there to assist. Take a look:
Jadee Hanson, Director of Information Security at Code42, commented “It’s important, and cool to help young girls get excited about these types of fields…If we can get girls more exposure to STEM at this young age, they may see there are roles for them in the future.”
The day consisted of several interactive stations in which the girls would rotate throughout the four-hour event. Stations would focus on a particular topic or activity – from working with and controlling Robots, to learning to program with Minecraft Coding Game.
Some older Girl Scouts enjoyed a fun station where they were building words with binary code.
After lunch, girls finished the day by the presentation of the completion of their activities to senior Scout leadership to earn their accompanying badge. A main theme throughout the event was to learn that it’s okay to fail, not to be discouraged, and understanding that with every time we fail, we learn and grow.
As Thomas Edison famously stated, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
This was evident in some of the feedback the girls provided. Girls had the opportunity to write on note cards what they liked, or learned about the event. One card read, “Failure leads to success” while another a girl had written, “I really like coding.”
In moving forward, Ann Fellman, Senior VP of Marketing at Code42 says, “we hope to continue to work with the Girl Scouts in creating such STEM opportunities.” In September, the Scouts will have an opportunity to earn a Cyber Security badge and Code42 has plans to host that event as well.