BOSTON – Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts (GSEMA) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) today reveal 42 new badges girls in grades K–12.
Among them are Outdoor High Adventure badges (think: backpacking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, rock climbing, and tree climbing) and Coding for Good badges (applying coding basics to bettering the world), which select troops in eastern Massachusetts piloted last year.
The badges enhance Girl Scouts’ existing girl-led programming, which has long promoted independent decision making, helping girls develop agency, challenge themselves to move beyond their comfort zones, and build confidence in their leadership abilities.
Research from the World Bank Group shows that increasing women’s agency and decision-making abilities is key to improving their lives, communities, and the world.
And research shows that Girl Scouts are more likely than other girls to take an active role in decision making (80% vs. 51%).
In addition to existing badge offerings, Girl Scouts in grades 6–12 can now pursue:
· Nine Cybersecurity badges, through which girls learn about the inner workings of computer technology and cybersecurity and apply concepts of safety and protection to the technology they use every day. Activities range from decrypting and encrypting messages, to learning proper protection methods for devices, to exploring real-world hacking scenarios.
· Three Space Science badges, through which girls explore topics such as the universe and their place in it, properties of light, and inspiring careers in space science (funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and led by the SETI Institute).
· Think Like a Citizen Scientist, a Girl Scout Leadership Journey during which girls participate in interactive activities to practice observation techniques, collect data, and share their findings with real-world scientists through an online network. As with all of Girl Scouts’ Leadership Journeys, girls use their newly honed skills to take action on a community issue of their choosing.
· To prepare girls in grades 6–12 to pursue computer science careers, Girl Scouts will launch the organization’s first Cyber Challenge events in select areas on October 19 (including UMass Lowell), where girls will learn crucial cybersecurity skills by completing challenges such as running traceroutes and identifying phishing schemes (funded by Raytheon).
New programming for Girl Scouts in grades K–12 includes:
· 12 Outdoor High Adventure badges, for girls to explore nature and experience exciting outdoor adventures like backpacking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, rock climbing, and tree climbing—giving them the confidence to support one another, take healthy risks, and spend time in nature. These are the first Girl Scout badges members can earn by choosing one of two self-directed paths (funded by The North Face).
· 18 Coding for Good badges, which teaches girls the basics of coding AND details how every stage of the coding process provides girls with opportunities to use their skills for good. Girls will learn about algorithms through age-appropriate, creative activities, such as coding positive memes to spread a message about a cause they care about, designing a digital game to educate people about an issue, and developing an app to promote healthy habits. Every Coding for Good badge includes a plugged-in and unplugged version, so that all girls can learn the foundations of coding.
“For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts has been a unique place for girl empowerment, giving girls choices for developing their sense of self, their own voice, and their path to leadership,” said GSEMA CEO Caitríona Taylor. “Our new badges offer increased opportunities for girls to build courage, confidence, and character by discovering high adventures in the outdoors, learning to better their world in the digital age, becoming real-world scientists, and exploring space.”
Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts (GSEMA) is 45,000 members strong, with 30,000 girls and 15,000 volunteers in 178 communities in eastern Massachusetts who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world. Girl Scouts is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. GSEMA is the 10th largest Girl Scout council in the United States, building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, join, or learn more, visit gsema.org.
Editor’s Note: In full transparency, I have been a Girl Scout leader in Framingham since 2006, and I was volunteer coordinator overseeing the Framingham Girl Scouts from 2010 to 2017. I still serve as the media manager for the Framingham Girl Scouts.