Girl Scouts celebrate Computer Science Education Week Dec. 3-9
WINDHAM, NH – The Astro Llamas of Wolfeboro were a unique team at the FIRST Lego League state championship games held on Sunday, Dec. 2. Not only are they a team of girls, they are a team of Girl Scouts. The team embodies the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ attitude promoted by Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains. In their fourth year of participating in FIRST Lego League, these girls are developing a range of skills not just in the STEM fields, but also life skills and leadership skills.
The Astro Llamas took the two weeks from their qualifying tournament to the state championship to challenge themselves even more. They used their creativity to illustrate a comic about astronauts on a long mission. Assistant coach Delina Bickford is proud of her girls’ performance. They scored an 88 with their robot in the competition, the highest score they had received all season. “We were amazed at being able to receive that at States with the added pressure and stress!” she said. The team landed at 29th out of the 50 teams in state competition, but Bickford pointed to their growth in problem solving and teamwork.
“It helps me with speaking in public,” Bickford’s daughter Amelia said. She loves learning the technology, and said, “I’m what I like to call a creator. I like having a challenge.”
Just programming a small robot to accomplish certain tasks is only one small part of the competition. The team must also present a project to judges to solve a problem, along with demonstrating the core values of the program and how well they design their robot. The Astro Llamas chose the issue of depression and isolation in space, and talked to a veteran, Glen Houghtaling, about how hard it is to be away from family for an extended time, as well as trying out a virtual reality experience to see how their ideas on helping astronauts might work out. They also met with a therapist to learn about depression, and with Marty Lee, a NASA scientist at UNH to learn more about what scientists do to help NASA reach its goals.
The Girl Scout team is done with competition for this year, but the younger members will be at it again come August. Head Coach Briar Lambert said she will start up her FIRST Lego League Jr. team next month, and those girls will get some help from the Astro Llamas.
Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains encourages any girl to join or form a robotics team, and celebrates Computer Science Education Week this week, Dec. 3-9. The week is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take an interest in computer science. Anyone can try out an hour of computer coding at https://csedweek.org/. Girls interested in joining or forming a FIRST Lego League, FIRST Lego League Jr., or VEX robotics teams can email email@example.com or call 888-474-9686. Funding is available for teams through FIRST and BAE. You don’t need to know computer coding – the program teaches it as you participate.
“The funding provided by BAE Systems for Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains gives girls the opportunities to flex their leadership and teamwork muscles while exploring creative solutions to real world problems,” said Patricia Casey, Director of Advancement for GSGWM. “We are so grateful for their support.”
Girl Scouts is the BEST leadership experience for girls, providing girls with unlimited girl-led adventures and a lifetime of skills found nowhere else. Girl Scouts has long been committed to challenging stereotypes and providing girls of all ages with interactive and engaging programs that increase their interest in STEM. The Girl Scout effect is proven: in the U.S., 90 percent of female astronauts, 80 percent of female tech leaders, 75 percent of current senators, and 50 percent of female business owners are Girl Scout alumnae.
About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our innovative leadership programs help girls discover, connect, and take action as they develop strong values, a social conscience, and a deep sense of self and their potential. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.