The past month has been rather trying on the general Scouting movement in America. From the Boy Scouts losing some modicum of support from the Mormon Church to a Girl Scout leader stealing up to $15,000 worth of their organization’s cookie products, it has not been easy going. But determination is a virtue to Scouting, and the organizations have shouldered on. The Girls Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) in fact has hit upon an ingenious way to inspire some of their members to get more interested in the hallowed STEM subjects. They’ve decided to introduce a series of new scout badges that will be awarded to Girl Scouts for achievements in, of all things, cyber security.

Girls Scouts vs. hackers

With this in mind, the GSUSA has decided to make a formal collaboration with renowned enterprise security firm Palo Alto Networks to produce 18 cyber security badges aimed at Girl Scouts of the K-12 group. GSUA chief executive Sylvia Acevedo issued a statement saying the organization will encourage their members to acquire "skills to navigate the complexities and inherent challenges of the cyber realm." A part of those skills will be the means for Girl Scouts to better protect their identities while online from hostile parties like hackers.

As part and parcel of this team-up, Palo Alto Networks will then provide the Scouts with a wide range of opportunities for them to look at entering careers connected to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Most especially they hope to inspire girls to go in for cyber security, a field that is said to be growing to the point that it will need millions of workers. A report by Cyber-Security Ventures reveals that cyber security needs today is reaching a deficit of professionals in that career path numbering up to 3.5 million by the year 2021.

Encouraging tech careers for girls

This joint GSUSA-Palo Alto Networks venture is very essential because of the observed low interest in females going into information technology careers. Another study, by the Center for Cyber Security and Education, notes that the total current cyber security workforce only has 11 percent females.

Furthermore, 69 percent of women interviewed stated that their lack of knowledge in what job opportunities they have in info-tech has turned them off that career path.

All in all, the GSUSA believe that the new cyber security scout badges they have cooked up will help make STEM more enjoyable for Girl Scouts to engage in, and a sign of the organization keeping up with contemporary trends and issues. The badges are expected to become available for Scouts starting in September 2018.