Girl Scouts Exemplify Project Based Learning!

I’m proud to be a former Girl Scout and Founder of NPI Services, Inc., and felt so honored to be guest speaker with Mayor Jim Katapodis for the Huntington Beach Girl Scouts Silver Award Ceremony earlier this year. The highest honors for Girl Scouts are these Leadership Awards, designated Bronze, Silver, and Gold according to school level, with Silver awarded for the work and projects accomplished during middle school (grades 6-8). Preparing to address Scouts beginning their high school years, I reflected on how Girl Scouting in my younger years affected my life and interests today. I learned greater respect and caring for others such as seniors, handicapped youth, fellow campers, and for nature and wildlife; however, the close connection to my present interest and involvement in project based learning became very apparent as I learned more about these remarkable young women’s Silver Award Projects.

Projects involved volunteering for NGOs and after-school programs, producing Birthday Day parties for underprivileged kids, and uplifting concerts for the mentally ill. Scouts taught various topics from pet care to camping and cooking, requiring the creation of graphical instructions. Their activities used such workplace skills as purchasing bills of material (BOMs), public speaking, sales and marketing, fundraising, and especially, leadership and teamwork.

One special Silver Award Project was producing “Memory Books” for Alzheimer patients. Christine Chen and Rachel Eskander worked all last summer on the project, and had an immense “warm and rewarding feeling when they donated the books to the Alzheimer’s Family Services Center.” There’s nothing like the satisfaction of a project coming to fruition and the educational experience associated with touching and feeling the results. I know this to be true from my own experience here at NPI Services, and as a Peace Corps volunteer. I realize this was also true of my Girl Scout years!

These effective Girl Scout techniques are integrated into many STEM curricula and are also known as project-based learning (PBL). Another NGO that NPI supports is Science OC, which provides PBL teacher training for science educators. It’s funny how my early Girl Scout experience translated to my love of nature and solving complex engineering projects. Like many of the young Huntington Beach Girl Scouts, we learn the joy of volunteering and giving back to the community, and self-confidence to dream big and know we can accomplish great things if we work hard and respect others. May all of these young inspiring good citizens continue to live by the Girl Scout Law:

Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to be honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong,
and responsible for what I say and do,
and to respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

“Scouting rises within you and inspires you to put forth your best”
Juliette Gordon Low, (1860-1927) founder of the Girl Scouts USA 1915 Savannah, GA

P.S. Ever wonder why you got a box of cookies with your photos during cookie season – now you know!  🙂