Girl Scouts — Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) recently introduced 42 new badges for girls in grades K–12th grades that allow them to make their own choices about how they want to experience and influence the world, according to a news release.


The badges enhance the organization’s existing girl-led programming. Among the 42 new offerings are Outdoor High Adventure badges that feature two distinct activity options, letting girls choose how they want to earn each badge.


The new programming for girls in grades K–12 includes:


• 12 Outdoor High Adventure badges, designed for girls to explore nature and experience outdoor adventures like backpacking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, rock climbing, and tree climbing. These are the first Girl Scout badges that members can earn by choosing one of two self-directed paths (funded by The North Face), according to the release.


• 18 Coding for Good badges, which not only teach girls the basics of coding but also detail how every stage of the coding process provides girls with opportunities to use their skills for good, according to the release. Girls will learn about algorithms through age-appropriate, creative activities, such as coding positive memes to spread a message about a cause they care about, designing a digital game to educate people about an issue, and developing an app to promote healthy habits. Every Coding for Good badge includes a plugged-in and unplugged version, so that all girls can learn the foundations of coding, regardless of their access to technology (funded by AT&T and Dell Technologies), according to the release.


In addition to existing badge offerings, girls in grades 6–12 can now pursue:


• Nine Cybersecurity badges, through which girls learn about the inner workings of computer technology and cybersecurity and apply concepts of safety and protection to the technology they use every day. Activities range from decrypting and encrypting messages, to learning proper protection methods for devices, to exploring real-world hacking scenarios (funded by Palo Alto Networks).


• Three Space Science badges, through which girls explore topics such as the universe and their place in it, properties of light, and inspiring careers in space science (funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and led by the SETI Institute).


• Think Like a Citizen Scientist, a Girl Scout Leadership Journey during which girls participate in interactive activities to practice observation techniques; collect data; and share their findings with real-world scientists through an online network. As with all of Girl Scouts’ Leadership Journeys, girls use their newly honed skills to take action on a community issue of their choosing (funded by Johnson & Johnson and The Coca-Cola Foundation).


• To prepare girls in grades 6–12 to pursue computer science careers, Girl Scouts will launch the organization’s first Cyber Challenge events in select areas this fall. At these events Oct. 19, girls will learn crucial cybersecurity skills by completing challenges such as running traceroutes and identifying phishing schemes (funded by Raytheon).


“At Girl Scouts, we’ve committed to put 2.5 million girls through the STEM pipeline by 2025,” said Dawn Prasifka, Girl Scouts — Diamonds president and chief executive officer. “This year’s new programming and badges is just one of the ways we’re contributing to that goal.”


“Not only are we offering girls new experiences through programming and badgework, but we’re working with industry leaders in the areas that interest today’s girl the most, which we hope will give them an advantage when they become tomorrow’s leaders,” Prasifka said.


Sylvia Acevedo is chief executive officer at GSUSA.


“Girl Scouts has ignited the power and potential of girls for over a century and are committed to ensuring that today’s girls are the future of American leadership,” Acevedo said. “Girl Scouts is where girls can explore new subjects, discover their passions, learn to take smart risks, and become their best, most confident selves—whether they want to become a NASA astronaut, an entrepreneur, a rock climber, a coder, or a cybersecurity agent.”


Details: Girl Scouts – Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, girlscoutsdiamonds.org­ or 800-632-6894.