By BRIANNA KWASNIK

Staff Writer

Girl Scouts have 42 new badges to work toward this year — nine of which are cyber-security related.

Director of Member Engagement of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Kelly McGraw said: “They’re still earned the same way all the existing badges and awards are earned. How to earn the badges are different based on grade level.”

McGraw explained working toward these badges can help girls with computer technology. She said girls can learn about cyber security and how to stay safe in the world of technology.

For example, they can learn about encrypting messages, how to make sure their devices are protected and explore real-world hacking scenarios.

There are three space science badges that will help girls to understand their place in the universe and introduce them to careers in space science.

Twelve of the badges are outdoor high adventure badges, which can be earned through exploring nature and experiencing things like backpacking, rock-climbing and tree-climbing.

Girls can earn up to 18 coding badges, which aim to teach the basics of coding. They can choose from activities like coding skills, learning about algorithms, creating memes about causes they care about, designing digital games, or developing apps for healthy habits.

McGraw said girls will work within their troops to vote on topics in which they are interested. Typically, McGraw said, badges are earned in a troop setting, with the average troop having 12 to 15 girls. There are currently 23 troops in Charlotte County, 110 in Sarasota County, and five in DeSoto County.

A total of 297 badges are available for girls in second grade through 12th. Each process of earning a badge has five steps that must be completed, and each step comes with three choices.

McGraw stressed that the new badges and the choices within the steps are to give the girls more options.

Email: Brianna.Kwasnik@yoursun.com

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