Friday, September 28, 2012

Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary Exhibit at State Fair of Texas is Tech Savvy

The Dallas Morning News reports that one-hundred years have passed since Juliette Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout troop in Savannah, Georgia, and this fall, Dallas will play an instrumental role in propelling the organization into its second century. The State Fair of Texas will provide a hub of education, preservation, and empowerment by hosting the Girl Scout 100th Anniversary Experience in the Hall of State from September 28 through October 21.

Free with general admission at the fair, the tech savvy exhibit was conceived by the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas and is sponsored by Dallas-based AT&T. Uptown’s Corporate Magic designed and produced the interactive exhibit, sparing no bells or whistles for its glimmering electronic campfires, computer-generated virtual troops, and brightly designed giant cookie boxes. But, the future-focused organization has not forgotten its past. Well-aligned to the overarching Girl Scouts ethos, the exhibit melds historical artifact with digital information, emphasizing the group’s sense of resourceful independence and progressive attitude toward the role of science and technology.

To this end, visitors are encouraged to download a special Girl Scout app, compatible with both iPhone and Android. With it, they can scan QR codes found not only throughout the exhibit, but also around Fair Park. The adventure – the “Big Texpediation” – is available in both English and Spanish and can be customized for varying age-levels. It leads guests all around the fairgrounds to solve riddles, find clues, learn trivia, and connect through social media. Upon completion, participants are awarded a special patch for their courage and cleverness.

Commitment to science and technology is particularly crucial to the future of the organization. GSNETX Chief Program Officer Gwyneth Lloyd said, “Girl Scouts encourages and empowers young women to visualize themselves as tomorrow’s leaders. That’s where the careers of the future are, so we want girls to know they don’t have to sit at the back of the classroom and be shy anymore.”

On a national level, the organization has created programs like the STEM Center of Excellence which provides access to science labs and art studios. An acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, STEM activities include extracting DNA from bananas, creating their own compost, examining with microscopes, playing around with cameras, and even learning to clean up oil spills.

Declaring 2012 the “Year of the Girl,” the organization has refocused its emphasis on courage and personal ownership, with a reinvigorated push toward financial literacy, healthy living, and the environment. “In the 21st century, we want girls to finally own the language of leadership,” Lloyd said. “More than 80 percent of women small business owners are Girl Scout alumnae, and we want those numbers reflected in engineering, mathematics, and medicine.”