The team at educational toy company Click-A-Brick say they are as surprised as they are pleased to find out that Girl Scouts is now implementing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs for girls with the intent of introducing them to the skills they will need to be successful later in life.
Co-Founders Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza say they were unaware that the long-standing girls club offered STEM initiatives, admitting they mostly associated the group with its famous door-to-door cookie sales rather than STEM.
However, far from being just a cookie selling club, Girl Scouts has always involved teaching girls life skills and now the club, which has been around since 1912, has started focusing their efforts on teaching girls about robotics, cyber security, coding, gaming, and gaining STEM skills that will help them get into STEM career fields, according to Carrie Raleigh, STEM Program Manager for Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio in California.
“There is a tremendous need to increase the number of women in STEM,” Raleigh said in an interview with Opensource. “At the end of each program, we have the girls complete an evaluation to share what they learned during the experience. One of the recent comments from a student was: ‘I thought computers were for boys and nerds, I didn’t think I would enjoy coding.’ This comment perfectly demonstrates the need for girls to be exposed to coding and programming. Many girls do not realize this is something they would be great at and that they would enjoy because they just have not had the exposure or there are preconceived misconceptions that this is not for girls.”
Smith labeled the interview and article an “eye-opener,” saying he didn’t know the Girl Scouts had shifted its focus to STEM skills. The educational toy entrepreneur says as a parent who has daughters, the new shift in focus of Girl Scouts makes it an organization he would encourage his own children to explore to help them with their future goals.
“I always knew Girl Scouts taught young girls life skills, but it was a pleasant surprise to me to see that they’re now teaching STEM skills to young girls,” Smith said. “It’s great to see an organization that’s been around for over 100 years acknowledging contemporary concerns for the group they were founded to help. Being able to adapt to changing times is imperative to the survival of any organization regardless of what it is and what it does and Girl Scouts has definitely shown it has adapted to promote the best interests of the current generation of young girls.”
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