The Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas announce a new solar-powered pavilion and solar education program. The project will help power the camp’s cabins, pool, and other facilities and provide hands-on activities for learning about how solar energy works.
Just days after hearing about Boy Scouts in Texas going solar, we got the news that the Girl Scouts are also adopting solar.
The Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas today unveiled its first solar education program in conjunction with a new solar-powered pavilion at Camp Bayview. The project was funded by a $35,000 donation from the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club.
As the first Girl Scout troop in South Texas to introduce hands-on activities for learning about how solar energy works, the Girls Scouts of Greater South Texas are going beyond generating clean energy. They are also at the forefront of educating young girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and giving them the tools to build brighter futures for themselves. This is especially critical at a time when there’s been a lot of concern about how to get more women into STEM. Through the program, scouts from ages 5-17 can earn a “Solar Champion” patch.
The 7.5 kW solar array is comprised of 30 panels and covers 600 square feet on the top of the structure. It will help power the camp’s cabins, pool, and other facilities, while also providing shade for outdoor learning programs. A solar array of this size can generate an estimated 11,100 kilowatt-hours of pollution-free energy and avoid an estimated 13,100 pounds of CO2 each year – equivalent to avoiding the emissions from driving 14,700 miles.
To personalize the solar education program, the Sun Club worked with Girl Scout staff to design the Solar Energy Patch Program, which is part of the Girl Scouts’ STEM initiative as well as Green Mountain Energy’s first such collaboration with Scouting. The program ranges from observing experiments on how plants use solar energy to building a solar-powered oven, depending on scouts’ ages.
“We are so excited to be working with the Sun Club to not only save the council money that can be put into use for more programming, but to be able to offer education on Solar Energy to our Girl Scouts,” said Danielle Altenburg, director of fund development for the Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas. “Girl Scouts is about teaching the girls relevant topics that apply to today, and solar energy is a hot topic that we can teach the girls in a fun and exciting way.”
The Sun Club is a unique program that allows Green Mountain Energy Company and its employees, customers, and supporters — including those in the Rio Grande Valley — to donate solar power to nonprofits like The Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas.
“Incorporating solar energy into the operations and activities at Camp Bayview reduces electricity costs for this non-profit organization while bringing new learning experiences to scouts pursuing the Solar Champion patch,” said Tony Napolillo, Sun Club Program Manager, Green Mountain Energy Company. “As renewable energy becomes an increasingly important resource to help us power our homes and businesses, it’s more important now than ever that our future leaders – students across the country – understand both the impact and necessity of cleaner energy sources.”