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Built By Girls: STEM Taking Hold With Girl Scouts

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Going to camp is a summer tradition for the Girl Scouts. But that tradition is changing thanks a new program influencing what girls are doing at camp.

The girls listen intently as a contractor known as "Uncle Buck" explains their project for the day.

"Once you start, you get a lot better," said Audrey Borba, a Girl Scout.

Instead of making necklaces and ceramics, these Girl Scouts are building a cabin for the staff.

"It's really amazing to think that counselors will be able to live in the work that I did – and when I send my kids, there will be something that I already did," Borba said.

Camp didn't always include pink hard hats and gloves, though.  The Girl Scouts wanted to figure out a way to get girls excited about things like engineering and math.

"A lot of times I'll ask girls, 'What are you interested in at school?' And they say, 'English, because I'm not good at science or math,'" said Molly McKinney, the camp's associate director.

The idea is to bring the STEM (which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program into camp to show girls it can be fun – and they might actually be good at it.

"That feeling of empowerment is what we strive for.  From cooking their own food to setting up camp for the first time, they do it and realize it doesn't have to stop there," McKinney said.

It's already influencing their future goals.  Audrey thinks she might want to be an engineer and says no matter what her career path, she always wants to be able to build something.

"It's nice to see the women involved in the grunt work of it and getting to do the hammer and saw," Borba said.

And she says she realizes this camp experience is probably unlike what her peers are doing this summer.

"You feel like you have skills other girls don't and it makes you feel like you can pretty much do anything," Borba said. "I always want to be able to build something and I think I'll get to fix things around my house."

With more initiatives out to prove that science and math can be fun, the program is continuing to grow.

"What camp does is it takes girls out of their element.  It rewrites their truth so they feel like they can do anything," McKinney said.



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