For several years, Engineers Canada and Girl Guides Canada (GGC) have been working together to spark girls’ interest in engineering. In addition to the Engineering Crest Program, which was co-developed by the organizations, GGC have been leaders in introducing girls to the exciting world of STEM activities and learning.
The engineering crest was created by Engineers Canada, in partnership with GGC, to be awarded to Guides who complete engineering-related activities under the supervision of a member of the engineering community. By participating in the program, which involves activities like exploring how vehicles work or an introduction to the concept of simple machines, girls gain a better understanding of how the world around them works.
In 2019, 4,410 Girl Guides across Canada earned Engineers Canada crests, and the program now continues to grow without any additional promotion from Engineers Canada—word of mouth through the Girl Guides network itself is driving program at this point, which is an ideal scenario given Engineers Canada’s role as a “backbone” organization.
Much of the program’s success can be attributed GGC’s larger commitment to STEM teaching. The organization has done extensive research into the pathways to STEM careers and skills for girls under 18, and has looked at how this relates to girls’ preparedness for the future of work. These foundational steps have led to the development of practical resources and programs aimed at keeping the doors open for girls interested in STEM careers.
The Engineering Crest adds to the seven “Experiment and Create” program areas that invite Guides at every age level to learn more about STEM. Engineers Canada has also co-developed activities with GGC, and the organization has started to think of and use engineering as a way to engage girls with greater themes in STEM.
Over the next year, Engineers Canada will be looking for new ways of supporting Girl Guides Canada in their STEM programming and will be reaching out to the engineering community with opportunities to help spark an interest in the next generation of engineering professionals. In the interim, you can support Girl Guides through their cookie drive. Like many organizations, COVID-19 has disrupted the Girl Guides regular programming and their largest fundraiser of the year. Fortunately, a number of local retailers across Canada have jumped in to help out. You can find the full list of organizations that are selling Girl Guides cookies on behalf of Girl Guides here.