NORTHERN ILLINOIS— Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) just revealed 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 snow or mountains to learning how to use coding to solve problems they care about. Girl Scout programming has long promoted independent decision making, which helps girls develop agency, 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 agency and 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 percent versus 51 percent).
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).
• To prepare girls in grades 6–12 to pursue computer science careers, Girl Scouts will launch the organization’s first Cyber Challenge events in select areas this fall. At these events, which will take place October 19, girls will learn crucial cybersecurity skills by completing challenges such as running traceroutes and identifying phishing schemes (funded by Raytheon).
The new programming for girls in grades K–12 includes:
• Twelve 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).
• Eighteen 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).
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.
Backed by over 100 years of proven Girl Scout experience, four Girl Scout councils joined hands in 2009 and promised to propel girl leadership into the future together! In 2019, Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois will mark ten vibrant years of putting girls first at the center of all they do—from all-girl fun and adventure to unprecedented leadership opportunities found nowhere else.
Join them as they celebrate with lively family and girl events in local communities where it all began. Be part of our 10th Anniversary events and earn our special 10th Anniversary fun patch! GSNI’s 10th Anniversary events include the 15th Annual Thin Mint Sprint and Finish Line Fun at Harlem High School in Machesney Park, on Sept. 21 and the 2nd Annual All-Girl and Family Fishing Derby and Water Whimsy at Rock Cut State Park in Loves Park on Septe. 22. For more information, email [email protected], call 844-GSNI-4-ME, or visit www.girlscoutsni.org.