Soon after the Boy Scouts recently introduced a Game Design merit badge, the Girl Scouts of America in partnership with Women In Games International (WIGI) have presented a new patch rolling out with the Greater Los Angeles Girl Scout chapter to recognize achievement in yes, game development.
Don’t get it twisted, this isn’t a “tagalong” effort of the boys.
There are a couple of key differences between the two:
- The Girl Scouts patch isn’t nationally recognized as of yet (a characteristic reserved for badges), but there are plans to expand the roll out and get to that point in the future.
- The path to getting the Girl Scouts’ version of the gaming patch will require the girls to learn how to design and to actually program their games. (The Boy Scout badge by contrast, focuses solely on design.)
The girls will be working with a custom-tailored version of Gamestar Mechanic, a game-like learning environment that will teach them not only core game design principles, but also how to think and solve problems systematically.
With the increasingly public focus of STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) in America, this Girl Scouts patch comes as a positive sign of making sure that STEM isn’t just at the forefront of news outlets, but making tangible progress at offering the same career and learning opportunities for the young girls in the country.
As someone who initially opened up to and engaged with programming through the context of building my own games, I am so glad that these young kids (the boys and the girls) will gain the same understanding and feel the same satisfaction that I felt when programming, designing, and eventually completing my first playable video game.