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Rockville Centre Girl Scouts share STEM knowledge

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Rockville Centre Girl Scout Troop No. 856 met for the first time since quarantine at the Village Green to complete their “Take Action” project, which they’d began in early 2020.

The South Side Middle School eighth graders assembled materials for “STEM Cabin Kits,” which are bags filled with materials that will help children learn science, technology, math and engineering skills through a fun activity. The take-home kits will be distributed through the Rockville Centre Public Library.

“The kits are expected to be a huge hit now that children can no longer gather at the library for STEM type classes,” said Jennifer Santos, a co-troop leader with Carrie Alfano, who both have daughters in the troop.

The STEM kit project was part of the troop’s “Think Like An Engineer Journey,” Santos said, which the girls began in fall 2019. She said the girls completed several different projects that enhanced their critical problem solving and analytical skills. The journey ends with a “Take Action” project, which must make a lasting impact on the community. After this journey, which included a visit to the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research, they “wanted to find a way to let others experience these same opportunities,” Santos explained.

So they reached out to Jennifer Marino, head of the Rockville Centre Public Library’s youth services department, to see how they could carry out the “Take Action” project and spread their passion for STEM. Marino then suggested they create the kits to have children in the community take home and use.

On Sept. 11, the troop met outdoors to put 25 kits together. The kit comes with instructions and materials for kids to make a wind and water resistant cabin out of cardboard and paper. In the coming weeks, the troop will make another 25 kits that will challenge children to make a boat that floats from only the materials provided.

“Finding ways to meet and complete meaningful activities with the girls has been challenging,” Santos said. “During the pandemic, the girls individually created cards for their very own essential worker, troop leader Carrie Alfano, who is a nurse.

“Creating the cards was a wonderful experience,” she continued, “but we missed collaborating and working together to create something. We are so proud of the girls coming together to create these kits that fill a real need in our community to provide a bright light for kids during a difficult time.”