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Monday, September 19, 2016

Giving Sylvia A. - Tour of the Edge

Today, I got to give the Interim CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA a tour of our councils Tech Lab.  The lab and program have been called "The Edge" since it started in 1999.

Welcome to “The Edge” lab.  In 1999, Girl Scouts Lone Star Council met with a group of older girls and asked them WHY they wanted to learn about computers.  One of the girls responded that it would give them “the edge” in school and in life.  From that day forward “The Edge” was the name of our technology programs and computer lab.

I am excited to have been a part of the FLL team here for 2 years, a Samsung STEM participant and IBM Watson camp participant. 

When our first computer lab opened in 2000 we were lucky to have Dell, Microsoft and National Instruments as early partners.  Quickly we had Intel.  We offered programs to all the girls in our council including the Girls Beyond Bars troops and the outreach program troops. The growth of the program was supported by IBM when we launched the Edge Express – our first “on demand” programs where we would go out to troops meeting locations, set up a small network and teach girls and leaders how to build websites and make digital scrapbooks.

By 2001 we had introduced over 600 girls to lego robotics thru the Expanding Your Horizons events, dad and me robotics day and more.  This meant continued support from the Kodoskys and National Instruments as we expanded our robotics programs to First Lego League teams and as FIRST grew so did our opportunities for girls. 

Currently, “The Edge-Austin”-one of our 5 lab locations, is also home to the world qualifying Lady Cans, FRC team, 1 of 2 in our council and we went from 2 First Lego League teams to sponsoring 7 this year.   

Our volunteers and staff have offered various national pilot programs and first experiences keeping Girl Scouts on “The Edge”.  Including Intels Fair Play, Techbridge, Dells Video Game Designer, Google Made with Code and local programs including Samsung STEM challenge, Coder Girls, Daisy STEM patch series and our Outdoor STEM journey.

The homeschool STEM club is starting its 4th year.  We have explored green building, engineering, aviation, scratch, CAD and 3D printing.  This semester was inspired by you – we are exploring Rocket Science and rocketry.

Graduates of “The Edge” have gone on to be graphic designers,  robot builders for NASA and NASA engineers.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Juliette Circle - Sharing my story

When Marianne asked if I was available tonight to talk – I asked what does she want me to talk about.  The response was a great Girl Scout experience.  I anticipate my best memory being next summer when Girl Scouts of Central Texas girls spend 2 weeks with Girl Guides in Cyprus. Seriously I thought.  I could talk to you for hours.  And then, I thought I could tell you about my Silver Award project – again this could be for hours.  And thanks to the Girl Scout toastmasters club – I really could talk to you for hours.

I am going to try and make it not an hour – but instead tell you why being a Girl Scout in Middle and High School is the best time to be a Girl Scout.  And I should know – I am a 4th generation Girl Scout/Girl Guide.  You could say I bleed green. 

My older sister and mom have told me since I was a Daisy that the real fun doesn’t start until middle school.  I wasn’t sure I believed them because I was having so much fun as a Daisy, Brownie and Junior.  I got to do special events, parades, commercials, camping, service projects, plant trees, build robots, earn badges, learn to cook and go to camp.  What else could be better than a week a GS camp?

 Traveling! I head about older girl travel opportunities called destinatons.  I already traveled with my family a lot and didn’t really think I needed to participate.  But, my sister went to Ireland, Iceland, Virgin Islands, and Ghana.  My mom went on 6, including Iceland.  Other troop members when to scottland, italy, costa rica.  With such a large troop we always got to hear the stories of what the older girls did. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough. 

Last year, the 14 Cadettes in my troop decided that we would start with a trip to Houston and a NASA overnight.  We did it.  As soon as we got in the van to head back to Austin – we started talking about where did we want to go next and when. Our troop planned, earned money thru cookie sales and went to Savannah Georgia this summer.  Now, I had already been there once – but, it was so much fun going with my GS sisters.  For three of them it was their first time away from parents, 2 their first time on a plane and 6 of us their first time to Savannah.  I really think the best part for us was knowing that we earned the money ourselves to get there.  For some of us selling 1000 boxes wasn’t a challenge – however, 5 of our troop worked with their sisters and for the first time sold 1000 boxes 3x the amount previous years. 

And next summer, I am working towards the trip to Cyprus, Greece. (So if you need some cookies I can hook you up).  Older girls get to decide where, when and how they do what they do.  As our leaders allow us more decision making opportunities, we start to take ownership of the process.  We are developing into Girls with Courage, Confidence and Character.

I still did Girl Scout  “camp” this summer – it was so cool.  An entire week at IBM with Watson!  Every day we were challenged and we accepted it.  Girl Scouts and STEM go hand and hand as far as I am concerned.  I am part of the homeschool STEM club – this semester we are heading to Outer Space (Rockets, Mars and more), I spent the last 2 years on the council lego robotics team – Galaxy Girls, participated in coder girl programs, Microsoft classes and Samsungs STEM challenge the first year.

 I am sure that all of you are familiar with Girl Scout cookies. I LOVE to sell Girl Scout cookies – it is my business and I take it very seriously for 8-9 weeks.  I work hard so that I can play hard.  When I think back to the PSA I did as a brownie with Lolis “What can a cookie do” – I realize that it does so much more than I ever thought.  It allows our troop to cook dinner for first responders and bake treats on 9/11.   We can participate in International Peace Day, Veterans Day flag ceremonies, community parades, go camping, go to the zoo, visit national parks, earn badges – lots of badges.  And, it gives all 62 of us an opportunity to make new friends.

Because One is Silver and the Others Gold