For Girl Scout Cadette Jillian Ingle, 13, “being happy in life” is what she looks forward to when she grows up. That’s why her favorite part of the new Girl Scout DreamLab in Denver is the podcast equipment. Jillian plans to work in the podcast booth, where she can create her own audio show to help others.
“I would definitely be open to starting my own podcast now that I have the resources to. I think I would talk about mental and physical health and how to be happy,” she said.
The Girl Scout DreamLab is a space created for troops and non-members, where they are welcome to explore and learn. The space is equipped with a bouldering wall, STEM lab, indoor campsite, podcast booth, and gathering space—all with a purpose. It’s the first of eight that will open around the country.
“You’ll see that it represents the various pillars of girl scouting,” said Leanna Clark, CEO of Girl Scouts of Colorado. “We have STEM in the lab, outdoor represented in Camp DreamLab, life skills and entrepreneurship, all that can be experienced here.”
“It’s a space you can come in and they will provide you with the stuff you need to earn these amazing patches and badges,” Jillian said. “I never thought something like this would ever be available to me and my friends.”
Girl Scouts of the USA conducted research at a national level, talking to members, their parents, and non-members to help create this unique space.
“They showed them designs and renderings so, everything you see was informed from what girls had to say about it. One of the things I really like is the sound absorbing panels that are specially designed for the pitch of girl voices to help absorb the sound,” said Leanna.
Jillian started in the Girl Scouts as a Daisy at five years old and has since worked her way up to Cadette. This year, along with her troop she is working on earning her Silver Award, the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can, by focusing on sustainability.
“There is a Scottish festival in town that has asked Jillian and her troop to figure out how to recycle the trash from the festival,” says Leanna.
In a couple of weeks, the troops will have the ability to reserve different spaces at the DreamLab and use the resources provided to help them complete curriculums to earn patches and badges. On her Girl Scout uniform Jillian displays her many pins, badges, and patches she’s collected as a cadette.
“For example, she earned a robotics patch,” Leanna said. “So, there are steps and things to work through to earn that patch. If a troop wanted to do that they could come gather here and do it.”
“Girl Scouts has helped me with so many different things—entrepreneurship, becoming a leader and being able to express myself in ways that I wouldn’t have been able to,” said Jillian.
The DreamLab is located in the Denver Lowry neighborhood, within 10 miles of 17% of its current Colorado members. But this wasn’t the only factor that made this the perfect location.
“There are 80,000 girls that aren’t Girl Scouts within the area, so there are a lot of girls we could attract just from this area. The diversity index here is higher than the national average, meaning we’re surrounded by a lot of diverse communities, which we love. This is obviously a good place for Girl Scouts, and we also want to be a good neighbor and open to the community at large,” Leanna said.
The goal of the DreamLab is to invite girls to explore and learn about Girl Scouts and their mission. The lab will be offering weekend family fun days once a month and will also share flyers of their upcoming events with surrounding communities to invite families to join. However, the public is welcome to come by and learn more during their regular business hours.
“It’s such a welcoming inviting environment, any girl is welcome with us, and there is something for every girl,” Leanna said. “In Girl Scouts, we have hundreds of patch programs, there is something for every single girl and it’s an amazing way for them to learn, to grow, to make lifelong friendships and gain confidence.”