By Sam Gildersleeve
Volunteering for this year’s Girl Scout badge workshop was a lot more exciting and impacting than I had initially expected it to be. It was my first experience with doing it so I admit to being a little nervous as for what to expect, how many girls there were going to be, and whether or not I would be able to encourage their interests in the engineering field. I also wanted it to be a special event for them as young girls because many girls are not confident in their abilities to prove their strengths in invention, and analytical and logical thought in a field dominated by males. Going into this program, I knew that I would be part of a small group in charge of an electrical engineering station.
Though I’m not studying electrical engineering, I knew enough about the subject matter to be able to conduct the demonstrations of lighting a light bulb with some copper wires and batteries to teach the girls about the different electrical circuits, electrical charges, and power sources. What I didn’t expect was for these girls to also be able to teach me a few things. First of all, these girls were extraordinarily bright and were naturally inclined to applying themselves with hands-on activities and experiments. Second of all, they were able to teach me how to better focus my attention on their needs and speak to them like young adults instead of young children. I have three younger siblings and have babysat for countless children so I knew I would love the interaction with girl scouts, especially being a girl scout years ago myself.
Making my way around the room
to each group of “buddies” allowed me insight into each separate group dynamic,
how they worked together, their thought processes, strengths, and weaknesses.
Making a personal connection with each of the girls helped show me how to
better my techniques on teaching the subject to them and also made a positive
difference for these girls. I could tell by the end of their day that not only
were they excited to be able to earn a badge for their strides in the
engineering fields but also that they were positively affected by the real women
role-models from SWE that they were able to connect with and learn from. I’m
very grateful I was able to participate in this workshop and teach and learn
from the girls who will hopefully one day be as ambitious and hard-working as I
saw that day.