The new Girl Scouts badges are so 2018.
Girl Scouts might get the most attention during cookie season, but the organization is making a big splash today with a meaningful initiative. Getting involved in some of what the organization calls "society's most pressing needs," the 30 new Girl Scouts badges for 2018 highlight a more concerted effort to empower girls and set them up for successful future in leadership roles.
According to a press release from Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), girls 5-18 who are part of the program will start learning skills in new areas of science and technology, like cybersecurity, environmental advocacy, mechanical engineering, robotics, computer science, and space exploration.
The organization expressed, "In a safe all-girl space, Girl Scouts develop important soft skills, including confidence and perseverance, as well as hard skills, setting them up for success and preparing them to take action for a better world."
It's no secret our society has a history of favoring men in fields represented by the new badges and encourages boys from young ages to explore science and technology and develop the necessary skills to succeed in these fields. Now, Girl Scouts is doing its part to level the playing fields and remind girls they are capable of anything, helping them should grow up to be active changemakers and engaged global citizens.
Girl Scouts is calling the new badges part of an initiative to "power girl leadership in key 21st century issues." With the help of its partners Raytheon, Palo Alto Networks, NASA/SETI Institute, and Elliott Wildlife Values Project, the organization is broadening its programming so girls can acquire the skills needed to earn the badges.
Girls in grades 6-12 can learn about environmental issues plaguing the world today and practice advocating for important causes. The Think Like a Programmer and Think Like an Engineer Journeys expand the types of problem-solving Girl Scouts are exposed to, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, computer science, and robotics.
For younger girls in K-5, environmental consciousness is emphasized in a program that teaches the Scouts how to take care of nature, and cybersecurity is conveyed through lessons on how the internet works and ideas of privacy. Mechanical engineering has also been introduced for both the K-3 Scouts and Girl Scout Juniors as a hands-on experience during which girls learn to build their own machines using physics.
“Across the country, people are having powerful conversations about the increasingly strong voice of young people who want to change the world and the lack of women in leadership positions in the United States—two topics Girl Scouts is uniquely positioned to address,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo.
She added, “Whether they are fighting cybercrime, exploring how engineers solve problems, or advocating for issues affecting their community, Girl Scouts are learning how to proactively address some of the foremost challenges of today while also building skills that will set them up for a lifetime of leadership."