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Girl Scouts reveals 42 new badges to mobilize girls to change the world

Submitted by Gretchen Crawley • Aug 3, 2019 at 10:30 AM

Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians (GSCSA) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) revealed 42 new badges exclusively for girls in grades K–12. 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.

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.

Girl Scout programming has long promoted independent decision making, which helps girls develop agency and challenge themselves to move beyond their comfort zones, and build confidence in their leadership abilities. 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 to 51 percent).

In addition to existing badge offerings, girls in grades 6–12 can now pursue:

* Nine Cybersecurity badges, with activities ranging 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).

* In Think Like a Citizen Scientist, a Girl Scout Leadership Journey, girls participate in interactive activities to practice observation techniques; collect data; and share their findings with real-world scientists through an online network (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 on Oct. 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:

* 12 Outdoor High Adventure badges designed for girls to explore nature and experience exciting outdoor adventures. 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 (funded by AT&T and Dell Technologies).

“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.

The Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians has almost 14,000 girl and adult members in 46 counties from Southwest Virginia through eastern Tennessee and northern Georgia. Girl Scouts is open to all girls from kindergarten through their senior year in high school. Girls are welcome to join throughout the year.

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. To join or volunteer, visit www.girlscouts.org/join.

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