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IRVINE, Calif. (December 14, 2016) – While many Orange County kids are ramping up for the holiday festivities, local Girl Scouts have been gearing up to be future scientists, engineers, and innovators as they participate in robotics tournaments across the county. This fall Girl Scouts of Orange County launched a pilot robotics program, made possible in part through funding secured by non-profit FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).
With plans to expand next year, four pilot robotics teams were initially launched for Girl Scouts in 4th through 10th grades to participate in FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge teams (according to their grade level). The goal – to engage girls with fun, hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math skills while using their imaginations and having fun. Each season FIRST LEGO League teams (4-8th grades) research real-world problems, such as food safety, recycling, energy, and are challenged to develop a solution. Students then design, build, and program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS ® and compete on a table-top playing field. With the guidance of professional mentors, FIRST Tech Challenge teams designed, built, programmed, and operated robots to compete in head-to-head challenges in an alliance format.
For both programs, according to FIRST Founder Dean Kamen, “FIRST is MORE than Robots. The robots are a vehicle for students to learn important life skills. Kids often come in not knowing what to expect – of the program or themselves. They leave, even after the first season, with a vision, with confidence, and with a sense that they can create their own future.”
Girl Scout Cadette Genevieve Paden, age 10, of GSOC FIRST LEGO League team Helping Paws had the following to say about her experience. “I loved learning to program the robot and designing and redesigning the robot so it could successfully complete the missions. I will always treasure the friendships I formed with my teammates over the course of these months.”
To support Girl Scouts of Orange County’s pilot robotics program, FIRST secured over $3,000 in grants through its strategic partners and local sponsors. The funding will go a long way in helping to cover team registrations and supplies, such as the table-top playing fields and robot kits, which are reusable year after year.
“FIRST is excited to partner with Girl Scouts of Orange County this season. We are focused on growing FIRST programing in the OC to reach more young women and more underrepresented students. We are looking forward to the possibility of expanding this partnership next year” said Cassie McIntyre, Director of Corporate Partnerships for FIRST in Southern California.
The Girl Scouts of Orange County teams have already participated in tournaments across the county through which they developed valuable critical thinking, problem solving, and other 21st century skills that will drive their future success. Girl Scout Cadette team (6th grade) Helping Paws recently won the Core Values award at a local tournament and Girl Scout Junior/Cadette team (4-8th grades) FASTEK will compete in the SoCAL FLL Cup at Legoland on Saturday, February 11th. Helping Paws will also compete in the Cup on Sunday, February 12th. OC Girl Scout troops are also getting in on the action. Junior/Cadette team (4-8th grades) OCBC Splash recently competed in the SoCal Region FLL Championships at Legoland and won the Judges Award for Community Outreach with the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. For a list of upcoming FIRST events and tournaments near your zip code click here.
To spark your daughter’s love of STEM, join Girl Scouts today! GirlsScoutsOC.org/joinGS
About Girl Scouts of Orange County
We are the Girl Scouts of Orange County. We’re 34,000 strong— nearly 21,000 girls and 13,000 adults who believe every girl can change the world. Girl Scouts introduces girls of every age to STEM experiences that are relevant to everyday life. Launched in 2015, the Girl Scouts of Orange County STEM Consortium is OC’s first collaboration of is kind through which Girl Scouts works with leading STEM companies to bring vital STEM experiences to girls across Orange County. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join Girl Scouts, visit www.GirlScoutsOC.org.
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $30 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12;FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.firstinspires.org.