Girl Scouts is going high-tech with new S.T.E.M. badges

Can tailor activities that suit each member

Christy Crotwell’s little girl had been so involved in Boy Scouts with her brother that she announced when she got big she wanted to sell cookies like her brother sold popcorn.

By age 5, Emilie was doing it.

Now that she’s an eighth-grader, Emilie has already been a top cookie seller at least twice in St. Charles Parish. The last time she was a top seller, she sold 1,100 boxes of cookies, but her sales overall remain strong.

“She’s a little shy about selling in a booth, but she will stand in a cookie booth all day long,” Crotwell mused.More than just a business story, this is a love story.

Girl Scouts provides her mother an avenue of doing things with her, and she’s doing it for the other girls in Troop 20023 in Luling going on her ninth year as their leader.

“I think it just gives us an opportunity to be together and so things that most mothers and daughters don’t do together like camping,” she said. “I actually was the first Girl Scout Lego League in the parish.”

Crotwell was amazed how the girls excelled in electronics.

“It was like they were born knowing electronics,” she said.Girl Scouts has evolved with the times, providing numerous options for members to plan their activities, which are available in just about any area of interest. United Way of St. Charles also helps fund the program in the parish.

Girl Scouts recently introduced new STEM badges for achievements in science and engineering.

“It will help them become productive members of society,” Crotwell said of why she considers the program a good one for girls. “It builds character and teaches them responsibility. My girls, at this point, are planning a trip to Washington, D.C., this year and they have been a part of the entire budgeting process.”

Crotwell’s daughter isn’t into robotics, but there are so many programs now that she can choose from that she’s trying them and can decide at her own pace. Girl Scouts provides a safe environment to search out those options.

Scouts is emphasizing STEM and the outdoors to encourage girls to explore, said Jacqueline Alexander, CEO of Louisiana East Girl Scouts.

“Children need to find their voice in a comfortable space,” Alexander said. “When you’re old enough to make that space to move you can make that move anywhere in your space. It is a road of security, a place for them to grow, be nurtured and supported in whatever route they want to take in life.”

Marny Stein of Destrehan, a Scout leader with Junior Troop 21115 with fourth-graders, proudly counted 11 girls in her troop.

“It’s a great opportunity for girls to see all kinds of things as a group,” Stein said. “They express their own energy and enthusiasm in ways they’d regularly not do. They’re engaged in cultural and civic activities, and they’re able to participate in science and health initiatives.”

Stein said it’s that adventurous spirit in the girls who love to walk across the Luling bridge for the Bridge Run, and it helps keep them focused on fitness year round.

As to Girl Scouts’ influence in these girls’ lives, Alexander quoted its founder Juliette Low: “I realize that each year it has changed and grown until I know that, a decade from now, what I might say of it would seem like an echo of what has been instead of what is.”

 

About Anna Thibodeaux 1948 Articles
Managing Editor

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