More than just cookies

When I tell people I’m a Girl Scout leader, the first thing they ask is “Can I get some Thin Mints?” But Girl Scouting is SO much more than selling cookies.  The girls learn about all kinds of topics through badges – from cooking to camping, from government to jewelry.  They do community service projects, big and small.  Every few years our local Girl Scout Council chooses a big topic to focus on and offer programming about.  This year, it’s all about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).  As you might have guessed, that is right up my alley.

They had Legos set up at each seat for the girls to play with while waiting for the day to begin.

Over the weekend my Girl Scout troop went to a STEM Day hosted at Harrisburg University. It was planned by a Senior Girl Scout as her Gold Award project. The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. I was so impressed with the quality of programming organized by a girl who’s still in high school! It was a full day of half-hour sessions about lots of different STEM fields including Physics, Chemistry, 3D printing, Forensics, Computer Programming and more. The sessions were led by students and teachers from the University whose majors were related to the session topics.

Top: The day’s schedule and a clay model of a hand the girls made when learning about 3D printing. Bottom: Watching a 3D printer do it’s thing. And directions for how to make a cake, to demonstrate how you have to plan before creating a computer program.

The girls had a blast. During the sessions they were engaged and asking great questions. At the end of each session, they wanted to know what was next. They wanted to know more about the topics and have access to the technology they saw and used during the sessions. But most importantly they heard over and over that they can and should consider further study of these fields and maybe someday working in them. And that they can thrive in these fields by bringing that special something that only they can bring to the table.

Top: Learning about Electricity with ballons and the Van Der Graph machine. Bottom: Doing a chemistry experiment with milk, food coloring and checking about the chemistry lab.

In addition to the great content in the workshops, the Harrisburg University facilities were impressive. The university occupies several upper floors in a building in downtown Harrisburg.  Everything was modern and new.  It was open and airy and there was great light.  There were inspirational quotes everywhere.  It *almost* made me want to go back to college to study something, anything, just to be able to spend more time in their awesome space.

Playing old school Pac Man, investigating a “crime scene”, and building robots.

These types of events are one of the reasons I continue to be involved in Girl Scouting. I know these girls have bright futures. Big dreams. Amazing ideas. And I want to make sure they have all the tools they need to accomplish those dreams and make those ideas happen.

My favorite quote we saw on the walls of Harrisburg University.
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