Girl Scout Cadettes team up with Liberty Mutual to spur girls to consider computer fields
DOVER, NH – Leadership comes in many forms, and three Girl Scout Cadettes have earned the Girl Scout Silver Award by leading the way for other girls in the field of technology, becoming digital leaders in their own right. Ella McGough, Grace Marshall, and Gabrielle Patterson’s project, Coding with LEGIT, teamed with Liberty Mutual’s Women in Technology group for their project designed to make sure girls have the opportunity to learn about technology outside of school and consider future careers in technology.
The Girl Scout Silver Award, the highest possible honor for a Girl Scout Cadette, those in grades 6-8, requires a girl or small team of girls to spend about 50 hours to plan, share, and complete a project that makes the world a better place.
At first, the Dover High School freshmen in Girl Scout Troop 10931 wanted teach girls how to create a smartphone computer game. The idea was to teach girls that coding is not just possible but fun. McGough’s mother, April, works for Liberty Mutual, which is encouraging girls and women to go into the information technology field. The Women In Technology group has a subgroup called LEGIT, which stands for Liberty Encouraging Girls in Technology. April McGough knew she had to get the Girl Scouts involved.
Solving problems is part of the process of carrying out a project, and the girls adjusted their plan as they discovered issues.
“It did change,” said Gabby. “We couldn’t find the website tools for girls to use in a quick and easy way. Instead, we decided to make a curriculum to help girls in the technology field.” They also worked with 3D printers and other online tools.
“We made it play rock, paper, scissors,” said Ella. “As a warmup, we had them make a word search. We found a website on how to make your own word search.”
Along with that curriculum, which is available to be used in the future, they put on a workshop in September where they were able to teach girls how to program a credit-card-sized computer called a Raspberry Pi and an even tinier computer called a Microbit that plugs into the Raspberry Pi.
The small, very low-cost computer is powerful enough to do much that your standard desktop can do, and is ideal for teaching how to code programs no matter the experience of the user.
The girls attending the workshop enjoyed the experience, and the Girl Scouts hope to see it continue into the future. But it was even more of a learning experience for life in general for the trio.
“I’ve learned how to focus my time on something,” said Ella. “Some things are more important and have to come first. We only met once a month, and I had to figure out how to meet several times a week.” Just speaking to adults was a big step, she said. “We’re just 14! We’ve never told adults how to do something, what they need to do! So it helps us to talk to them, and direct them to do what we want.”
Grace agreed, and added, “I think I really learned how much I love helping and teaching people what I know. I learned a lot these past two years and I was excited to teach people.”
Gabby improved her communication and collaboration skills. “I enjoyed learning how to work with others when there’s multiple opinions on what to do next, and how to solve the problem.”
April McGough said the girls learned a lot, like working together, but also being exposed to practical business skills by planning and organizing the workshop. “They put together fun, hands-on activities,” she said. “The girls were engaged and excited. The Microbit activity was really exciting, and it gave them the opportunity to see and experience technology in a different way.”
“Our LEGIT group was established in 2015 to grow the pipeline of girls studying technology , and to keep inspiring and empowering girls to pursue STEM careers,” said Alicia Guthro, Engineering Manager, and Co-Founder and Co-Lead of LEGIT at Liberty Mutual. “The Girl Scouts silver award was a great opportunity for LEGIT volunteers to serve as project sponsors, advisors and help the girls make a meaningful difference in our community.”
As the largest leadership development organization for girls in the world, Girl Scouts supports STEM, outdoors, life skills and entrepreneurship. Girl Scouts in committed to giving girls opportunities for digital leadership as girls enter a workforce in need of tech talent, as well as the confidence and innovator skills that Girl Scouts helps girls develop.
As Silver Award Girl Scouts, Ella, Grace, and Gabby have not just changed the world for the better, they have changed it for good. The Silver Award is earned by girls who demonstrate leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. The Silver Award is the mark of the truly remarkable.
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 Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. 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.