PENINSULA, Ohio — How do you inspire the next generation of girls to grow and lead?

The Girl Scouts admit, it’s not quite rocket science. It could be though, with Sylvia Acevedo in her role as CEO. 

The former NASA engineer, among the first women to lay eyes on Jupiter, has been a game changer for the Girl Scouts, as she says it was for her.

“I’m so grateful I was introduced to girls scouts when I was seven-years-old because it really did change my life completely,” she told 3News' Sara Shookman.

Acevedo was in town recently to celebrate new upgrades to Camp Ledgewood in Peninsula. The two strapped in for a little fun zip-lining and zipped through questions about the future of the organization founded in 1912. Girl Scouts boasts more than 59 million alumnae.

“When you're being relevant to youth in today's world it's a real challenge,” Acevedo admits. “Since 2014 when mobile phones really dropped in price point making them ubiquitous suddenly you have a lot of competition and and that really has disrupted the youth market in so many ways.”

Instead of fighting against phones in girls’ hands, Girl Scouts is empowering young women with science, technology, engineering and math.

“The world is being remade around technology. Line by line. Code by code…And girls especially need to know and learn technology, not so they are just users, but they are the inventors and creators and designers,” she said. 

Girl Scouts focus on four things: leadership skills, entrepreneurial skills, the outdoors, and STEM. 

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In three years, they’ve added more than 100 new STEM badges, like coding and cyber security. 

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“We are giving them the skills that they need to be relevant. In addition to the U.S. to be globally competitive, there is a big workforce gap in STEM and certainly for cyber and we need girls and women to fill that gap.  In Girl Scouts, we are the experts for how girls learn and lead,” said Acevedo. 

For girls in Northeast Ohio, that means science in a new test kitchen…and on the move, with fab cab units – equipped with 3-D printers. And lots of outdoor experiences too, along with the cookies, which they call an entrepreneurial experience, many of us wait all year for.

“It is no surprise that lifelong Girl Scouts have amazing life outcomes. They are leaders in the business world. They are our are leaders and community life,”said Acevedo.

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