Gone are the days of Girl Scouts mainly learning how to sew and cook. The Girl Scouts of Western New York is now offering 42 new badges to help the girls learn more about, and get excited about, STEM and the great outdoors.
“It seems like they’re getting away from a lot of the more homemaking badges,” Julia Nowak said, a girl scout leader in the Sweet Home school district.
Nowak has been a leader for the past 17 years, and in that time, things have certainly changed. She said her Daisy participants now love hiking and camping.
“I really like to go on adventures,” Kayleigh Greaves (6) said. “Sometimes if we’re really quiet we can see frogs and toads.”
And on their day off from school, Greaves and her friends in Daisy troop 30072 learned about something else they’re interested in: Robots. The girls showed News 4 what it takes to earn a Robotics badge, which is one of the 42 new badges that came out this Fall.
They started out with an easy exercise of ‘pin the antenna on the robot,’ but they had to help each other by giving their friends instructions. It was their first introduction to programming. Then, they learned exactly what a robot was, and created one of their own with different materials and glue. From there, they got their first glimpse of a real robot and learned more about coding. They drew colored lines on pieces of paper, that the robot could follow. Each different line of colors had the robot move a certain way. They even used bigger robots, which also needed codes to move.
“There’s so many jobs open in the STEM field now, it’s so important to start them off early, as young as possible, so that when they’re older, they’re able to apply those skills that they learned in Girl Scouts to those jobs,” Alaina Cottrell said, a community partner specialist with Girl Scouts of WNY.
When Greaves was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said, “I want to be like mostly everything.”
Nowak tries to make her program as well-rounded as she can. Most six and seven year olds don’t know what they want to do down the road, but maybe something they learn or see in Girl Scouts can help them figure that out.
And with so many advanced badges out there, the Girl Scouts of Western New York offers kits to the leaders to help them out with supplies. There are a variety of kits that leaders can borrow, to help their girls learn and earn badges.