24 New Badges in Automotive Engineering, STEM Career Exploration, Entrepreneurship, and Civics Help Girls Become the Leaders Our Rapidly Changing World Needs
Girl Scouts of Central & Western Massachusetts (GSCWM) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announce 24 new badges designed to help girls practice ambitious leadership in the crucial areas of civics, automotive engineering, STEM careers, and entrepreneurship, many of which remain male-dominated. In a year of unprecedented global change, our country’s need for strong, broad-minded, and decisive leadership has never been greater. Through new and existing programming, Girl Scouts equips the next generation of female change-makers with the breadth of knowledge, skills, and experiences they need to take up the causes they care about and do good for the world, now and in the future.
The new Girl Scout badges include:
Civics (grades K–12). Girls gain an in-depth understanding of how local, state, and federal government works, equipping them to be voters, activists, and even political leaders. They research laws and how they’re created, voting, and the Electoral College, the representation of women in government, and more. They also research their own government officials and are encouraged to meet them. By learning how the government works, Girl Scouts are prepared to make the world a more equitable and inclusive place. Just 24% of eighth-graders are proficient in civics, and only two in five American adults can name the three branches of U.S. government, highlighting the need for these badges. Funded by the Citi Foundation.
Automotive Engineering (grades K–5). Girls learn about designing, engineering, and manufacturing vehicles, as well as the future of mobility. They design their own vehicles, test prototypes, learn about design thinking, create their own assembly line manufacturing process, and more. Only 13% of engineers are women, underscoring the need for these badges which will introduce more girls to the field. Funded by General Motors.
STEM Career Exploration (grades 2–8). Girls explore their career interests and connect them to STEM fields—particularly computer science, nature/environmental science, engineering, design, health, and agriculture—that can help them address the pressing issues of our time and change the world. The IF/THEN® Collection, a free, downloadable digital asset library of real-life women in STEM, is an integral component of the badges. The dearth of women in STEM fields is well documented, but data shows that girls are more interested in a STEM career when they learn how they can use it to help people, demonstrating the value of Girl Scouts’ unique approach. Funded by IF/THEN, an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies.
Entrepreneurship (grades K–12). Girls develop an entrepreneurial mindset as they engage in age-appropriate exercises that help them create and pitch a product or service that solves a problem. They build their own business plan and think about topics like production, cost, profit, marketing, and competition. Three in four of today’s girls are interested in becoming an entrepreneur, but more than half also say they need more support in this area; these badges are designed to fill the gap. Funded by Susan Bulkeley Butler and designed in collaboration with VentureLab.
Steady leadership is essential during a crisis such as COVID-19, from fostering trust and showing compassion, to managing challenges with agility, to evaluating outcomes of decisions. The Girl Scout program is proven to develop strong and effective leaders—among many positive outcomes, Girl Scouts are much likelier than non-Girl Scouts to take an active role in decision making (80% vs. 51%), which is a critical aspect of leadership.
Girl Scouts has made free self-guided activities from select new and existing programming available digitally to the public through local Zoom programs and Girl Scouts at Home, keeping families engaged and connected to their communities. Girls can further engage with the badges and topics through online videos, activities, or special live virtual events. Members can access a suite of Girl Scouts’ programming digitally through the Volunteer Toolkit, including troop meeting plans and other resources to help girls earn badges and awards.
To join or volunteer, visit www.gscwm.org
About Girl Scouts of Central & Western Massachusetts
Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts serves over 7,000 girls in grades K through 12 with the strong support of 3,800 adult members in 186 towns and cities in central and western Massachusetts. Girl Scouts’ mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Since 1912, girls have explored new fields of knowledge, learned valuable skills, and developed strong core values through Girl Scouts. GSCWM supports girls by giving them extraordinary opportunities to explore, experience and learn about their world and helps girls recognize that they are vital members of their communities.
Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts serves 186 cities and towns in central and western Massachusetts including Southbridge, Auburn, Charlton, Dudley, Sturbridge, and Webster.