Girl Scout troops in Kansas provided input on one of the new badges that scouts nationwide will be able to earn this year.
The national Girl Scout organization added 23 new badges focused on science, technology, engineering, math and the outdoors.
The effort takes a progressive approach to STEM and also encourages girls to become citizen scientists using the great outdoors as their laboratory.
Scout badges are insignia Girl Scouts earn and display on their uniforms to demonstrate their mastery of a given topic.
Among the new badges is one that introduces girls to the world of robots.
Darcy Gray with Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland says 12 troops in the state tested and offered feedback on the new robotics badge.
"They’re learning about robots in general, and they’re learning about how they’re built and programmed," Gray says. "Then they get to work together as a team. It is very girl-led, hands-on activities where they are designing their own robots with items from around the house."
Other new badges focus on race car and aviation design, environmentally conscious camping trips, creating algorithms, collecting data in the great outdoors, the study of meteorology and engineering.
Gray says the national organization reached out to girls and asked them about their interests to help guide which new badges would be added.
"This is very girl-led," she says. "On some of these badges, not only did we pilot it, but girls from across our council and across the country got to vote on some of the badges too. So that is really a great piece about Girl Scouts is that it is girl-led and girls are taking the lead in their communities and in the activities they are doing. We always look forward to seeing that come to life."
Gray says the new badges are Girl Scouts of the USA’s largest programming rollout in a decade. The new badges are available starting this week.
Next year, a new badge for "Cybersecurity" will be added.
Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland serves 10,130 girls in 80 counties. There are nearly 6000 Girl Scouts in south-central Kansas.
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