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42 new badges to mobilize girls to change the world


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Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) today reveal 42 new badges exclusively for girls in grades K–12 that allow them to make their own choices about how they want to experience and influence the world. The badges enhance the organization’s existing girl-led programming, offering girls everything from adventuring in the outdoors to learning how to use coding to solve problems they care about. Girl Scout programming has long promoted independent decision making, which helps girls challenge themselves to move beyond their comfort zones and build confidence in their leadership abilities.

Among the 42 new offerings are Outdoor High Adventure badges that feature, for the first time in Girl Scouts’ history, two distinct activity options, letting girls choose how they want to earn each badge. Giving girls choices is important for developing their sense of self, their own voice, and gender equality—research from the World Bank Group shows that increasing women’s 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, girls 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 (funded by Palo Alto Networks).
  • 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 (funded by Johnson & Johnson and The Coca-Cola Foundation).

The new programming for girls in grades K–12 includes:

  • 12 Outdoor High Adventure badges, designed 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 dedicated time in nature. These are the first Girl Scout badges that members can earn by choosing one of two self-directed paths (funded by The North Face).
  • 18 Coding for Good badges, which not only teach girls the basics of coding but also detail 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, regardless of their access to technology (funded by AT&T and Dell Technologies).

“These new badges represent Girl Scouts’ ability to continually provide girls in western Pennsylvania with experiences that help girls build the skills they need to be leaders in today’s modern workforce,” said CEO of GSWPA Patricia A. Burkart. “This programming also excites and energizes girls and fuels their passion for trying new things.”

“Girl Scouts has ignited the power and potential of girls for over a century, and we are committed to ensuring that today’s girls are the future of American leadership,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “Girl Scouts is where girls can explore new subjects, discover their passions, learn to take smart risks, and become their best, most confident selves—whether they want to become a NASA astronaut, an entrepreneur, a rock climber, a coder, or a cybersecurity agent.”

GSUSA works with top organizations in fields that interest today’s girls. Combined with Girl Scouts’ expertise in girl leadership, these organizations and specialists advise and weigh in on content to provide the most cutting-edge programming available to girls. Content collaborators include codeSpark, the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), SciStarter, and Vidcode. In true girl-led fashion, girls also tested the new offerings.

At Girl Scouts she’ll discover who she is, what she’s passionate about, and what she wants to achieve—both today and in the future. Join or volunteer at www.girlscouts.org/join.

About Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania provides more than 20,000 girls from 27 counties and many different backgrounds and beliefs with the resources to become tomorrow’s leaders. This is made possible thanks to the dedication of more than 10,000 adult members, close to 100 full-time staff, 20 board members and countless supporters, all believing in the power of girls. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania, call 800-248-3355 or visit gswpa.org.

“Reaching for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts” is based upon work supported by NASA Science under cooperative agreement No. NNX16AB90A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.