Girl Scouts of Connecticut has recently received funding from Pitney Bowes and Motorola which will allow girls the ability to dive into robotics programming.
The funding allows Girl Scouts in Connecticut in grades K-9 to continue to participate in FIRST Junior LEGO League (JFLL) and FIRST LEGO League (FLL) competitions.
According to Ellyn Savard, STEM Program Initiatives Manager at Girl Scouts of Connecticut, there are 200 Girl Scouts participating in JFLL and FLL competitions.
Last year, Savard said that Girl Scouts of Connecticut ranked #3 across all national Girl Scout Councils for the number of robotics teams. She said this number will only grow as each team makes presentations at the JFLL Expo to engage more girl participation.
“It’s a great trend that we have more and more girls interested each year,” Savard said.
“FIRST is a terrific organization that helps kids get interested in engineering and technology. We are grateful to have the support of Pitney Bowes and Motorola,” she said.
The girls take on STEM-related FIRST LEGO League uses challenges based on real scientific problems to engage children in research, problem solving, and engineering.
Each year’s challenge has two parts, the Project and the Robot Game. Teams are guided by two adult coaches and have eight weeks to build an autonomous robot to carry out pre-designed missions in two minutes and 30 seconds.
They also analyze, research, and invent a solution to a real world problem.
At the event, referees score and monitor the game and judges review the team presentations. The event is high energy and celebrates all of the work the participants have done throughout the season.
According to Savard, Girl Scouts of Connecticut has built a unique community of informal volunteer educators who work together to support the organization’s STEM programming.
Girls are challenged to learn and excel, using technology and their creativity to work together without the negative influences and social pressures that girls can experience in a co-ed environment.
“The program gives girls lifelong skills, and also benefits the undeserved girls in the inner cities because it provides the equipment they would need and the computer technology that may not be available to them. The hope is to always encourage girls to participate in other STEM activities in future years,” Savard said.
“Women are team players, and nationally, it is important to get women interested in STEM— we need to start with our girls.”