The ARRL has begun offering a new Girl Scouts “Radio and Wireless Technology” patch program that offers opportunities for participants to learn about wireless technology, including Amateur Radio. Scout leaders and Amateur Radio volunteers associated with the Greater Atlanta Girl Scout Council, and Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains developed the program to incorporate information and exploratory activities that provide a backdrop for understanding radio communication. The program will encourage Girl Scouts to take on activities in which they will gain knowledge and skills, as well as kindle an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects and careers.
“The initiative for the program came about through my conversations with hams who wanted to work with Girls Scouts as well as Boy Scouts and wanted a patch program that would introduce ham radio, as the ‘Radio’ merit badge does in the Boy Scouts,” said ARRL Education Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ. “I was introduced to a group of leaders with Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta who wanted to work in developing a new fun patch program for radio that would fit with the Girl Scout Leadership Development Program structure. This group was joined by Jill Galus, KB1SWV, of the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains in New Hampshire. We collaborated on this over the course of several years.” Galus’s father, “Skip” Youngberg, K1NKR, and a team from the Nashoba Valley Radio Club helped test drive the new patch program during “Thinking Day on the Air” this past February with Girl Scouts in Raymond, New Hampshire.
The program defines the requirements for Girl Scouts to earn the patch at the Brownie, Junior, Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador levels. Girl Scouts can learn the fundamentals of radio communication and wireless technology from broadcasting to smartphones and apply what they learn to connect people, provide safety, and explore related careers. In addition to the acquiring the fundamentals, participants can explore radio science through hands-on learning with Amateur Radio, and use radio to talk around the world and for public service. They also can learn about the role of wireless technology in everyday life and in careers.
The program supports the Girl Scout Leadership Experience by enabling participants to discover, by exploring the natural world to learn about radio communications and wireless technologies; to connect by using knowledge of wireless technology to understand its capabilities and its limitations, and by becoming an informed citizen who understands how wireless technologies are regulated and used, and to take action to make a difference in their communities by making friends through radio contacts, providing public service and emergency communication, and raising awareness of career opportunities.