Dozens of new skill-building badges are now available for the 1.8 million girls involved in Girl Scouts of the USA

By Rebecca Rakowitz
July 17, 2018
GSUSA Stem badges
Credit: Courtesy of Girl Scouts of the USA

Girl Scouts can now develop skills in cybersecurity, environmental advocacy, mechanical engineering, robotics, computer science, and space exploration. Girl Scouts of the USA recently announced 30 new STEM-related badges that will give girls a head start in fields they have been systematically excluded from.

"Whether they are fighting cybercrime, exploring how engineers solve problems, or advocating for issues affecting their community, Girl Scouts are learning how to proactively address some of the foremost challenges of today while also building skills that will set them up for a lifetime of leadership," Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA said in an announcement.

Few things are better than Girl Scout cookies, but this announcement is definitely one of them.

For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts of the USA has provided girls age 5 to 18 with life and leadership training programs. These opportunities cover a variety of topics, and many badges have different levels and goals depending on a scout's age. Girls can flex their entrepreneurial muscles selling cookies, help their fellow scout by earning a first aid badge, or become one with nature and score a camping badge.

Those are skills the brand is often associated with, but since their inception in 1912, Girl Scouts have also created programming and badges in art, citizenship, financial literacy, health, and relationships. Continuously adding science, technology, engineering, and math-related programs in the mix is a natural evolution of the Girl Scout brand and a nice way to make the troop activities more well-rounded, encouraging girls with all interests to join.

Girls in grades K-5 can now earn badges in environmental stewardship, cybersecurity, space science, and mechanical engineering. In grades 6-12, opportunities are available in environmental stewardship, robotics, and college admissions preparedness.

Beyond the badges, two new Girl Scout Leadership Journeys for older girls have also been announced. The Think Like a Programmer journey will culminate in GSUSA's first national Cyber Challenge, while the Think Like an Engineer Journey encourages girls to take a walk in the shoes of—or rather, think in the brain of—an engineer, solving problems and designing solutions. Through journeys, girls participate in hands-on activities and use their new skills to address problems in their community.

"I am so proud that our new programming continues to push girls to be forward-thinking and equips them with the skills they need to make the world a better place," Acevedo said.

To create the new badge programs, GSUSA partnered with leading organizations in each respective field, such as the Elliot Wildlife Values project, Raytheon,, the Cyber Innovation Center, and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. These collaborations ensure the programming is as technical and accurate as it is female empowerment and leadership-driven.

Girl Scouts are just as focused on the "scouting," as they are on the "G.I.R.L." At GSUSA, a "G.I.R.L." is a Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader. With each new badge and program they add, Girl Scouts redefines what it means to be a girl, and what kind of woman that girl can become.

Editorial Intern Rebecca Rakowitz is excited for the day when a Girl Scout can design and build her own Thin Mint-making robot. And single-handedly save the planet.