Girl Scouts is committed to providing all girls with the opportunities and tools that they need to explore their passions and develop new skills in a safe and supportive environment. The Mobile Program began in 2015 to bring the Girl Scout Leadership experience, along with the necessary resources, to Girl Scout troops across North Carolina. The program now consists of two vehicles, a van nicknamed “Daisy” and an RV nicknamed “Savannah” that serve as mobile classrooms to help address troop needs by targeting rural and economically distressed areas. Thanks to generous donations from Sander Pomper, the Biogen Foundation, and the Goodnight Educational Foundation, outstanding STEM programming will continue to be delivered to Girl Scouts of all ages across North Carolina free of charge.
The funding provided by donors to the Mobile Program make it possible to serve nearly 5,000 girls across 41 counties and expand their knowledge of STEM with fun and engaging activities and badgework. The mobile classrooms are purposefully stocked with programs that may be harder for troop leaders in rural counties to find the resources to deliver along with program staff that specialize in STEM to lead activities. The retrofitted vehicles are equipped with state-of-the-art technology: mobile broadband, mounted SmarTV monitor, Sphero robots, microscopes, and more. Activities explore subjects like cybersecurity, robotics, and engineering. In addition to STEM programs, lessons in financial literacy, leadership, healthy living, and the outdoors are also offered.
In January of 2019, Sander Pomper issued a challenge for corporate and foundation partners to join him in supporting STEM activities within the Girl Scout Mobile Program, and the Biogen Foundation and the Goodnight Educational Foundation both matched his donation of $15,000. Pomper is a retired IT consultant, and his late wife Diane Pomper was a longtime Girl Scout volunteer, donor, and parent. The gift combines both Sander and Diane’s two passions, STEM and Girl Scouting, into a commitment to build the pipeline of women in STEM. “My late wife said her life was transformed by being part of the Girl Scouts. I wanted to issue this challenge to provide the opportunity for more girls to have that chance as well. By issuing the matching challenge I knew that my single donation would go further and reach more girls,” said Pomper.
According to the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), Girl Scouts are nearly twice as likely to participate in STEM activities as non-Girl Scouts, and 77% of girls say that because of Girl Scouts, they are considering a career in technology. Because interest in STEM begins early (between the ages of five and ten), Girl Scouts’ “fun with purpose” K–12 curriculum helps bridge the gender gap by ensuring that girls of every age have opportunities to participate in progressive, multi-year STEM experiences. Girl Scouts is committed to ensuring that all girls develop to their full potential and have equal access to and support in STEM education.
The Mobile Program was initially funded with support from PNC, Frank K. Webb, WakeMed, BB&T, and Margaret Pickard Sirvis. The additional donations from Pomper, the Biogen Foundation, and the Goodnight Educational Foundation will allow the program to continue to grow and meet the needs of girls.
For more information on the Mobile Program and giving to girls, visit nccoastalpines.org.