A new patch will celebrate Girl Scouts learning about additive manufacturing.
Girl Scouts of America
In Girl Scouts of America (GSUSA), girls and young women journey through learning experiences. As a Daisy, for example, I remember learning about some basic arts and crafts, while when I graduated into Brownie level, we got a little more hands-on with camping trips and the like. Each level — Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors — correlates with the educational level of the participants, from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Accomplishments are represented through badges or patches that Girl Scouts wear on their sashes. Each patch shows a successfully completed program focusing on a skill or experience.
Girl Scouts has come a long way since I was a kid. I don’t remember, for example, any access to programs like coding, cybersecurity, or “think like a citizen scientist” being available in the early ‘90s. It’s all come an even longer way since the group’s founding more than a century ago.
Today, GSUSA is an organization that says it is “2.5 million strong—more than 1.7 million girls and 750,000 adults who believe in the power of every Girl Scout to change the world.”
Earlier this month — which is also Women’s History Month — GSUSA turned 109 years old. On that anniversary, Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) and America Makes announced a new partnership focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) experiences leveraging 3D printing.
America Makes x GSNEO
Upon announcement, America Makes said that the new partnership would “promote STEM education through additive manufacturing (AM) techniques to the more than 25K GSNEO members with plans to launch the program to the 2.5M Girl Scouts nationally.” They added:
“The organizations will also create a Playbook for best practices on integrating AM into Girl Scout programming for use when deploying the new America Makes Additive MFG Patch—the first-ever AM patch.
This patch will be earned through engagement in the AM technical areas of Design, Manufacturing, and Post-Production. Based on industry recognized credentials, the America Makes Additive MFG Patch is aligned to many Girl Scout Badges, including STEM and others where AM can be applied and integrated. Badges are a key component of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, which focuses on four content pillars of Outdoors, Life Skills, Entrepreneurship, and STEM, with the goal of fostering courage, confidence, and character in girls to prepare them for a lifetime of leadership.”
While certain Girl Scouts STEM skills have now for a while involved 3D printing, with girls learning to 3D print stamps, keychains, and other new-to-design projects, this new patch is a bit more end-to-end.
It’s also backed by State of Ohio funding. The America Makes Education and Workforce Development projects are part of a larger plan that creates an Ohio Secondary Education Network designed to create more educational opportunities for students and teachers. Some of that opportunity is now also targeting a broader demographic for STEM areas.
“Thanks to the funding from the State of Ohio, we were able to enter into this strategic partnership with the GSNEO to bring the Playbook and America Makes Additive MFG Patch into reality. The opportunity to work with our local GSNEO council has been inspiring for all of us at America Makes,” said Josh Cramer, America Makes Education & Workforce Director.
“The Girl Scouts are dedicated to building skills and interests in STEM—fields that unfortunately reflect great gender disparity. Within the AM industry for example, less than 15 percent of professionals are women. Girl Scout programming is specifically designed to reverse this trend and promote STEM, ensuring K-12 girls are empowered to pursue STEM-related fields and compete successfully for these positions.”
This all fits neatly with what the overall Girl Scouts organization has been doing. The new patch announcement also explained:
“Since 2017, the GSUSA has been working on its groundbreaking initiative, The National Girl Scout STEM Pledge, to help reduce the gender gap in STEM fields by engaging 2.5M girls in this area by 2025. Within the GSNEO council, the goal is to engage 37K throughout the next few years. More than 14K girls in North East Ohio have earned a STEM badge in the last year alone.”
Reaching youth directly through a popular program like Girl Scouts is a great way to continue opportunities to broaden gender diversity in still-male-dominated areas.
“Girl Scouts is more than cookies, crafts and camping,” said Jane Christyson, CEO of GSNEO. “Our program is the largest leadership opportunity for girls and now with more than a 100 new STEM badges, we are showing our girls new possibilities in fields like AM. By encouraging girls to explore concepts in this fast-growing field, we are creating a female talent pipeline.”
It’s always heartening to see more growth in programs fostering diversity. The AM industry continues to pick up the pace on introducing such programs in educational and workforce environments. It’s also — as a Cleveland native, born and bred — heartening for me personally to see Northeast Ohio as a center where so much opportunity is seeing its genesis.
Via America Makes