In addition to building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place, one local California chapter of the Girl Scouts is now committed to fostering girls’ interest in the largely male-dominated industry of video game design.
The partnership between these two female powerhouse organizations has been in the works for over a year and for good reason. As GSGLA Chief Executive Officer Lise Luttgens explained, “Girl Scouts has a long history of developing pioneers in the fields of science and technology, so we are excited about collaborating with Women in Games International to ignite girls’ interests in STEM-related subjects.”
In order to earn the new video game developer patch, Girl Scouts will be required not only to design games, but also to learn how to program/code for games. The tool they will use to do that is Gamestar Mechanic, a video game development tool that teaches children the principles of game design and is also used for the National STEM Video Game Challenge. Gamestar’s publisher, E-line Media has agreed to provide WIGI with a custom-tailored program to meet all of the Girl Scouts patch requirements.
For now, only Los Angeles troops, specifically fourth to sixth grade girls, typically ages 9 to 11, can participate in the WIGI patch program. But if successful, the goal is to elevate the local status of the patch to that of a nationally recognized Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) badge. In that case, it would then be in place for all Girl Scouts across the country, at additional academic levels (7th through 12th grade), to earn for their sashes.
“Our ultimate goal is to create a STEM-aligned video game badge for the Girl Scouts of the United States of America,” Amy Allison, vice president at WIGI, told GirlGamer. “Creating this badge will get young girls excited in technology and science and let them know that they, too, can have a career in the video game industry.”
As most STEM awareness raising campaigns for females seem to primarily focus on high-school and college level women, some would argue that this type of program for young girls is long overdue and cannot get underway soon enough. According to SFGate.com, “There’s a desperate shortage of talented coders today and that gap is projected to grow bigger in the years to come. Yet, women, 50 percent of the nation’s population, are being subtly and not so subtly discouraged from entering the field.”
Leave it to the industrious Girl Scouts to come up with a way to help solve this problem, while educating and empowering girls in the process.