Girl Scouts of the USA and FIRST Partnership Introduces Girls to Robotics

New partnership engages girls in STEM activities through competition


April 17, 2008

Girl Scouts of the USA
Michelle Tompkins
Phone: (212) 852-5074

Atlanta, Ga.— Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announced today a partnership with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) hoping to encourage more girls into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers, and gender equity in our global society.

The partnership, announced at the FIRST World Championship, being held April 17-19 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, is designed to foster opportunities for girls to explore STEM careers by providing hands-on experience in the designing building, and programming of robots while applying the concept of 'gracious professionalism' during competition. Gracious professionalism, the ethos of FIRST in accordance with the Girl Scout Promise and Law, is defined as a way of performing that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community where fierce competition and mutual gain can be simultaneously achieved.

"In this ever-increasing technologically-focused global society, it is essential for us to give our girls the tools they need to thrive." said Norma Barquet, Executive Vice President, Girl Scouts of the USA. "We are thrilled to bring FIRST to Girl Scouts everywhere."

In addition to piloting a national robotics program, GSUSA and FIRST are in the process of establishing FIRST team mentorship programs where established girl teams will help support rookie teams, thus increasing the number of all-girl teams participating in robotics initiatives through FIRST. There are close to 100 Girl Scout FIRST LEGO® programs around the country to date. Two high-school level Girl Scout teams are competing in Atlanta this weekend.

"We're very excited to partner with the Girl Scouts of the USA to help young girls discover the excitement and rewards of education and careers in science and technology." said Paul Gudonis, FIRST President. "Our partnership helps us provide many more young women with the opportunity to experience FIRST."

Inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, initiating formal robotics competitions in 1992. The Manchester, N.H. - based non-profit, designs accessible, innovative programs which build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Through corporate sponsorship and volunteerism from companies like Johnson and Johnson and Motorola, FIRST organizes several competitions inspiring K-12 youth into STEM education and career exploration: FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) for high-school students, the FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) for children 9-14 years old, and the Junior FIRST LEGO® League (JFLL) for 6- to 9-year-olds. To learn more about FIRST, visit www.usfirst.org.

About Girl Scouts
Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with 3.6 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouting is the leading authority on girls' healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girls Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts, call (800) GSUSA 4 U (800-478-7248) or visit www.girlscouts.org.