STEM On-the-Go Van Unveiled by Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains unveiled the council’s new STEM On-The-Go van on Oct. 19 at the G.I.R.L. Expo — an initiative begun more than a year ago as a way to bring state-of-the-art technical education to girls across New Hampshire and Vermont.

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is one of the four pillars of the Girl Scout Experience, along with the outdoors, entrepreneurship and life skills. Research shows that girls are keenly interested in STEM and excel at it, but they often don’t pursue their interests, starting as early as elementary school.

Girl Scouting introduces girls of every age to different aspects of the STEM fields, and this mobile classroom will ensure that the more 10,000 girls the local council serves will have access to STEM and leadership programs no matter where they live or their socioeconomic status.

This vehicle will have mobile broadband, a SmarTV monitor, Surface computer tablets, microscopes, a 3D printer, solar panels and more. Council employee Sarah Hoffschwelle will take the Girl Scout programming to girls around the two states, providing on-site delivery of the STEM programs and activities that are focused on the needs and interests of girls, ensuring consistent, high quality Girl Scout programming.

This summer, Girl Scouts released 42 new badges for girls to earn, including nine Cybersecurity badges, three Space Science badges, and 18 Coding for Good badges. They join other badges like Home Scientist, Mechanical Engineering, Robotics, Website Designer and Digital Movie Maker.

For the past year, Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains has been working to raise $150,000 to buy and outfit the van, as well as provide the marketing, outreach, staffing and operational costs of the program. The STEM On-the-Go van will be on the road during the full program year and can be requested and reserved by Girl Scout troops or communities. It will also be a feature at day and resident camps throughout the year, giving camp staff the opportunity to enhance outdoor programs with unique STEM activities.

Access to quality STEM programs is crucial. Girl Scouts are hungry for female empowerment programming, and this vehicle enables the council to deliver quality programming to the 80 percent of membership living in rural and hard-to-access areas. Girls interested in the sciences will now be able to see a future for themselves in those fields, opening up their career choices.

“We are so excited to get the STEM On-the-Go van out to our Girl Scout communities,” said Patricia Mellor, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains. “It was so rewarding to see our volunteers lining up to reserve the van and its many programs for their troops and communities. We are so thankful to the many supporters who made this important work possible.”

The Girl Scout council continues to seek funding to finalize the outfitting of the van including “wish list” equipment and program supplies, some of which will need regular replenishing. To support this effort, contact Customer Care at 888-474-9686.