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The new Boy Scouts Digital Technology badge. The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts have been long established programs for youth that are meant to teach viable skills. Now, both organizations have updated their programming and badges to involve youth in computer science and other STEM programs.  (via Scouting.org)


In optimistic news, it seems like Google isn’t the only one starting initiatives to train and inspire the next generations for our digital world. The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have introduced new badges into their programs to inspire and train them for our current, and future world.

 

While these programs have been known to teach youth a plethora of useful skills including leadership and entrepreneurial skills, they are updating these skills for the digital era. While learning how to camp and survive in nature may have been useful at the dawn of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts creation, our current world enables some people to live their entire lives without ever entering a forest (mostly because they’ve been chopped down to make way for town homes and skyscrapers). In fact, as a city dweller, people think it’s strange when I go camping or to a National Park. However, creating a phone app is entirely normal.

 

The scout programs are trying to keep the skill of their youth competitive for potential future jobs which are in computing and technology, as opposed to craftsmanship – as used to be the norm. The Boy Scouts has introduced its Digital Technology badge which looks like a microchip. Getting this chip requires some serious work on behalf of the boy scout. First, they will have to explain a series of questions which will demonstrate that the scout understand the development of digital technology from its inception until now. They will then have to explain how digital files, data, and the internet work – among other digital media.

 

Finally, they must complete three projects which range from useful life skills like making a budget using a spreadsheet and writing a letter, to more current tasks; these tasks range in difficulty from creating a blog or website, to taking a picture and sharing it via digital media.

 

What is more exciting is that the Girl Scouts has introduced a full STEM program with a K-12 curriculum that is meant to expose and educate girls in STEM subjects. This seems in line with Google’s initiatives to encourage more women to enter the field of computer science. This new program is in response to a study of 1000 girls, aged 8-18, and conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute (see report: http://www.girlscouts.org/content/dam/girlscouts-gsusa/forms-and-documents/about-girl-scouts/research/generation_stem_full_report.pdf). The report found that girls are already interested in STEM careers, but they need further exposure and support programs to enable them to make this interest a long term career. Hence, AT&T, Motorola, UTC, Google, Dell, NASA, and the New York Academy of Sciences are some of the partnerships that are enabling STEM programs to be incorporated in Girl Scout programs across the country.

 

Among this new program are new special badges that include a Digital Art, Science and Technology, Innovation, and Financial Literacy badges. If you have a school aged child, you can start getting them involved in these new Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts programs.

 

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