Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles (GSGLA) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) revealed 42 new badges Tuesday 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% vs. 51%).
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 of Greater Los Angeles (GSGLA) will launch a Cyber Challenge event at UCLA on Oct. 19 where girls will learn crucial cybersecurity skills by completing challenges such as running traceroutes and identifying phishing schemes (funded by Raytheon). GSGLA is also hosting a Cybersecurity Superheroes event on March 7 with Secure the Village.
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 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).
– 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. 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).
Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles has a strong history of supporting girls in high-adventure and STE(A)M activities—both hosting programs for girls to attend as well as cultivating volunteer educators to lead trainings for troop leaders in the areas of camping, adventure travel, and backpacking.
Popular longstanding adventures at GSGLA include Island of the Blue Dolphins (a unique backpacking, camping, and kayaking experience on the Channel Islands), Mojave Primitive Encampment (high-desert camping in patrols), and TAMBU (an outdoors skills competition). While many troops use cookie earnings to launch their own adventures (see Troop 5133, as one example).
In terms of STE(A)M opportunities at GSGLA, girls can join one of the council’s 41 robotics teams, form their own team, or attend events where they can build and launch rockets, learn earth science at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, design video games, join a girl-led astronomy club, and even build apps from pitch to product at Startup Weekend where the leave the event as IP owners.
“For more than 107 years, Girl Scouts has led the way in terms of helping girls develop leadership skills through research-backed programs created by experts for and with girls,” said Lise Luttgens, GSGLA CEO. “Through access to hundreds of girl-led experiences, skill-building opportunities, and a connection to an inclusive community—these girls are poised to change our world for the better—both today and tomorrow.”
About Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles
Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles (GSGLA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, serves more than 46,000 girls in partnership with 25,000 adult members and volunteers throughout the communities of Los Angeles County and parts of Kern, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties. GSGLA is the largest girl-serving nonprofit agency in Los Angeles, with programs in entrepreneurship, life skills, outdoor, and STE(A)M. To join, volunteer, or support, visit GirlScoutsLA.org or call (213) 213-0123.