Tsaile, AZ

Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council and APS Foundation bringing expanded STEM Programming to the Navajo Nation

Elaina Verhoff

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Girl Scouts – Arizona Cactus-Pine Council

The STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math are the foundation for the country’s fastest-growing occupations, yet women and girls are underrepresented across all levels of the STEM pipeline. Girl Scouts – Arizona Cactus-Pine Council is working to close that gap through STEM programming on the Navajo Nation designed to spark girls’ interest so they can become part of this expanding sector. Thanks to a $35,000 grant from the APS Foundation, 250 girls on the Navajo Nation will experience STEM learning opportunities during the school year through Girl Scouts. Programs will include a three-day summer camp this June at Diné College in Tsaile, AZ that will serve more than 70 girls.

Christina Spicer, Interim Co-CEO of GSACPC shares, “We are deeply grateful to the APS Foundation for being a long-standing supporter of Arizona girls. We are honored that they continue to invest in girls throughout our jurisdiction.”

Girl Scouts – Arizona Cactus-Pine Council provides experiential STEM opportunities for girls who are part of the Navajo community through culturally relevant programming and delivery models that meet their specific needs. Girls are encouraged to ask questions about the world, problem-solve, and use natural creativity through play and experimentation while fostering their internal qualities such as self-confidence, self-esteem, and a strong work ethic.

Throughout the school year, girls will have opportunities to earn badges in cybersecurity, environmental advocacy, mechanical engineering, robotics, computer science, and space exploration. The outdoor STEM camp at Diné College in June, also supported by Navajo Transitional Energy Company, will offer additional opportunities to get hands-on with science, technology, engineering, and math.

Each year, the APS Foundation, which has focused its support on STEM education since 2012, partners with organizations like Girl Scouts to fund programs that inspire the next generation of leaders.

“Studies show hands-on STEM learning truly ignites a passion for continued STEM education,” says APS Foundation Executive Director Tina Marie Tentori. “When you bring STEM to life through fun, interactive activities such as mountain biking, archery, and astronomy at summer camp, it adds a whole new dimension of learning. It’s exciting to see young minds turned onto careers in the sciences as a result of this type of programming.”

“Over the last two years Girl Scouts had to pause some programs to protect the health and safety of our members, especially those on the Navajo Nation as the community endured the unimaginable. Not surprisingly, the program we get asked about most is our STEM Camp. Girls and families are anxiously awaiting its return this summer,” says Mary Mitchell, Interim Co-CEO of GSACPC. “We’re excited to offer not only a small glimpse of normalcy for girls but also provide them an important opportunity to increase their STEM confidence and inspire them to pursue STEM in their futures.”

In partnership with 6,000 adult volunteers, GSACPC serves over 11,000 girls grades K-12 in more than 90 communities across central and northern Arizona. Since 1936, GSACPC has helped girls develop leadership skills and tools for success in a rapidly changing environment. We know that given the opportunity, every girl can become a leader, act confidently on her values, and connect with her community. For more information, visit www.girlscoutsaz.org, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Instagram.

Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit girlscouts.org.

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Elaina Verhoff is a public relations professional and freelance writer in Phoenix, AZ.

Phoenix, AZ
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