Thursday, September 30, 2010

STEM Instructor Encourages Youth to Get Involved with FIRST & Girl Scouts

P1140147My name is Randy Hoskin. I work for National Instruments and I am a member of the steering committee for the Central Texas FIRST LEGO League. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology and was founded by Dean Kamen in 1989. His goal was to make Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) as exciting for youth as sporting events were for them. This movement in STEM education has significantly grown in a little over 20 years. FIRST now touches more than 250,000 students worldwide and another 100,000 adult mentors and volunteers. That is very exciting!

Working for National Instruments (NI) has given me the chance to be a mentor to students from grades 3 - 8. It has been amazing to work with these students and see their eyes light up when they "get it." And it's not just teaching them programming and building concepts, but so much more. For instance, yesterday I did a presentation to a group of kindergarteners at my daughter's school. I talked to them about what I do for NI and that as part of the job I get to mentor students of all ages. Then I pulled out a very simple LEGO Mindstorms robot and showed them what it did. Ninety kindergarteners and four robots. They sat amazed for nearly 15 minutes. Then I asked them a simple question: So, what does the robot do? After 5 minutes, they had it all figured out. The kindergarteners observed, interacted, and reported on what they found. And they had a blast doing it. I have also helped 6th graders build a trebuchet as part of a Roman history unit, 4th graders build a recycling plant that sorts colored ping-pong balls as part of a water recycling unit, and 3rd graders learn fractions of time in order to move their robot a certain distance. It has been so interesting to see all of the projects the students have come up with in 8 years of mentoring.

Girl Scouts of Central Texas are a proud sponsor of many teams that compete in all levels of FIRST competitions. This year they have been gracious enough to host mentor trainings and our Central Texas FLL Kickoff event. Their sponsorship of these teams allows many girls who would not otherwise have an opportunity to work on STEM related activities to excel at it. The teams from the Girl Scouts are always proud of the work they have done, work so well together, and show that math and science is not just for boys anymore. So get involved and get your kids involved in FIRST and other STEM activities. You will be amazed!

-Randy Hoskin

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout!

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout!

Girl Scouts of the USA recently launched an Alumnae Online Community. A fantastic resource for all Girl Scout Alumnae - it serves as a site for Alumnae to reconnect with and to rediscover Girl Scouting. Definitely check it out!

Since 1912, Girl Scouts has been dedicated to building girls of courage, character, and confidence who make the world a better place. In two years, 3.5 million active Girl Scouts and volunteers will join some 50 million Girl Scout alumnae in celebrating the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting. This momentous occasion provides a unique opportunity for alumnae to reconnect with each other, discover what today’s Girl Scouts are doing as well as learn about our plans for the 100th Anniversary. We invite all adult Girl Scouts (18 years and older), including former Brownies, former and current volunteers, and former and current Girl Scout staff to register for the New Girl Scouts Alumnae Association; Online Alumnae Community. This is the place to reconnect with old friends, make new ones and learn about our plans for the 100th Anniversary. -GSUSA

The GSUSA Alumnae Online Community is already available for you to check out and create a profile! Individual council sites such as the Central Texas one will become available to the public Wednesday, September 29. Take advantage of this site to share pictures, connect with old friends and find out about upcoming alumnae events in your area.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Girl Scouts Celebrate 10 Years of STEM Initiative

IMG_0939Girl Scouts of Central Texas is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of our EDGE program, which aims to give girls the edge in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. More than 100 girls will be attending the celebration taking place this Saturday, September 18 at the Kodosky Program Center. This event will continue the tradition of providing girls with the tools and resources to further explore their interests in subjects like robotics, computers and new technology.

Several of our Girl Scout collaborators will be joining us to demonstrate cutting-edge science experiments throughout the day and there will be a STEM Fair for girls to participate in a variety of activities. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, local engineers, members of the community, volunteers and GSCTX staff will be in attendace as well.

GSCTX is thrilled to have reached a decade of the EDGE program and we look forward to many more years of bringing programs like this one to over 21,000 girls.

For more information on tomorrow's event, please visit this link.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Do More Today with Girl Scouts

IMG_0002September marks the beginning of many Girl Scouting recruitment rallies. At these events, girls and adults learn how to become involved with the organization. All girls, kindergarten through 12th grade, are encouraged to attend with their families. Recruitment rallies are organized by public school districts, but private school and home-school girls are welcome to participate.

Girl Scouts offers many experiences like field trips, community service projects, sports skill-building clinics, and cultural exchanges. Since 1912, Girl Scouts has helped girls build character, self-esteem, and exceptional leadership skills. Bridging important development keys such as friendship, sportsmanship, and team building, Girl Scouts is the premier leadership program for girls of all ages.

As someone who was heavily involved in Scouting in my youth, I appreciate the value of organizations like Girl Scouts. Scouting provided many opportunities for me during my time as a Scout and my time after Scouting. The leadership skills I acquired during my time as a Scout will stay with me in my future endeavors.

-Bradley Rheinboldt, Marketing Intern

Bradley is currently a sophmore at UT Austin majoring in Business.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Baylor Senior Forever Appreciative to Girl Scouts

Teton Trip 2004 077I would not be who or where I am today if I had not joined Girl Scouts in the first grade and not stuck with it through my senior year in high school. I am currently a senior at Baylor University looking forward to graduating in the spring and starting a job in the real world. Remaining an active Girl Scout for 12 years is one of the reasons why I am here - Girl Scouts teaches the value of being in a team and gives girls relevant opportunities to lead.

Troop 1086 and I achieved much in our time together because we came together as strong individuals for the group in order to plan events for younger scouts, organize campouts and plan our travels around London. Each of us used our skill sets to contribute to the common goal of the troop. My favorite troop activity was camping, so I often planned the portions and shopped for our traditional menu of spaghetti surprise and peach cobbler for dinner. Exploring Texas’s wilderness and state parks with my fellow Girl Scouts created a strong love for the outdoors that remains with me to this day.

My pursuance of leadership in student organizations at Baylor also emerged from positive experiences leading in Girl Scouts. My favorite memory of being an older Girl Scout is when our troop organized and led workshops for Brownies to earn badges. Teaching a room full of first graders how to construct a mask out of construction paper under a time constraint was out of my comfort zone and challenging. However, due to the support of my fellow troop members and leader, we were able to hold a successful workshop and the experience was just as impactful for the Brownies as it was for me.

These are just small examples of what I’ve learned from my experience as a Girl Scout. Ultimately, I enjoyed being a part of a community with values that challenge me because these qualities are still important to me today and will continue to be in the future.

- Jenny Smiley