Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo says the organization's new STEM badges are "not at all" a bid to stay relevant, now that the Boy Scouts allow girls to join their programs.
"What we see is we are going to focus on keeping the 'girl' in Girl Scouts and creating programs that are relevant ... giving them skills to deal with the 21st century," Acevedo, a former rocket scientist herself, said Friday on CNBC's "Power Lunch."
In July, the Girl Scouts of the USA announced 30 new badges that focus heavily on science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM. Girls 5 years old to 18 years old can earn the badges, while learning skills in subjects like cybersecurity, environmental advocacy, mechanical engineering, robotics, computer science and space exploration.
The Girl Scouts partnered with enterprise security company Palo Alto Networks and defense contractor Raytheon to develop some of the programming surrounding the badges, but Acevedo says the group gets much of its programming inspiration by listening to the scouts.
"Last summer we introduced 23 STEM and outdoor badges ... and I can tell you those were incredibly popular, and so where we decide what badges we are going to create is by listening to the girls," Acevedo said.
"They want to learn about these topics. They see what's happening in the world around them," she added.
The announcement follows the Boy Scouts' decision in October 2017 to admit girls into every level of their scouting program, beginning in 2018. But the Girl Scouts started introducing STEM and outdoor skills badges last summer.