SARATOGA SPRINGS – GLOBALFOUNDRIES got the ball rolling last year when they reached out to the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York (GSNENY) with an idea to partner on a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) program. GLOBALGirls was a first-ever camp partnership with The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF).
Daniella Nordin, the director of marketing for the GSNENY provided insight into how the collaboration got started.
“At Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York, we are committed to increasing girls’ involvement in STEM fields and ensuring that every girl has opportunities to explore and build potential career paths in these important fields. With our facilities and GLOBALFOUNDRIES engineers’, the partnership made perfect sense. Research shows that girls don’t choose STEM fields because they associate the work with labs and computers only. We wanted to be sure they got hands-on experience in a girl-focused environment.”
All Girl Scout members were invited to participate in the camp. Northeastern New York serves 15 counties and has about 10,000 members. Most of the girls who attended that camp were from the Capital Region community, mainly Schenectady and Galway. Three girls were recruited through Trinity Alliance in Albany and also participated in the camp. The girls ranged from 5th to 8th grade. More than 20 girls enjoyed a two week summer camp that provided a safe space for the girls to explore their potential in career fields that may not seem open to them. Camp activities were traditional and included swimming, hiking, arts and crafts, and cook-outs, among other activities.
Gwendolyn L. Bluemich, education and workforce developer at GLOBALFOUNDRIES said that they worked hard to blend the traditional Girl Scouts activities and to continue to instill the Girl Scouts values while also including the element of engineering and STEM itself.
“One of the reasons that girls go into the healthcare field is because they can see the impact that they make. So we wanted to really connect those dots and as it happens, GSENY is a big supporter of Union College’s EDGE program, which is educating girls in engineering. Which is targeted more toward high school where as we’re targeted more toward middle school.”
The EDGE Program provided a place of inspiration for Bluemich and her team to get started and move forward.
“EDGE is such a fantastic program and I thought to myself, ‘what can we do to make a similar impact at a lower grade level?”
The girls participated in a visit to TRF and learned about the mission of the program as well as seeing first hand the needs of the horses and staff at the stable. TRF is an organization that was founded in 1983 and focuses on saving Thoroughbred horses that can no longer compete at racetracks. They rehabilitate and retrain able horses and give them the chance at a second career.
“From there, the girls’ were challenged to create a tool or prototype to address a specific TRF challenge.”
After breaking into four teams, the girls followed the six step engineering design process they had learned about on day two in their engineering workshop and with a budget of $30, each team successfully created a different project that tackled a problem at TRF.
The “Robinhoods” built a manning trap for horse flies using items already available to them. A wooden box, a basketball they painted black to attract the flies, a water bottle, and a fixture they rigged with brooms attached so that the horses could easily and safely scratch themselves on a post.
The “Horse Fixers” built a rolling ladder using wood, pipes, and ropes to make it easier for the TRF staff to transport 50 lb bags of horse feed.
The “Scientists” created an insect repellant spray, a horse blanket using one of their own Girl Scouts blankets attaching straps and clips to make it easier to utilize blankets while maintaining sturdiness.
Team “JAKKEA” also created a horse blanket but using a rope and a unique knotting technique to safely secure the blanket and a wooden post with bristles for horses to scratch themselves with.
All teams were successful and innovative with their solutions and presented them on the final day to the staff of each organization and to their families.
“Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York is thrilled with the outcome of the first year of the GLOBALGirls program! Since it’s our first year, we weren’t sure what to expect, but it has been a great experience from beginning to end. We are already looking forward to planning next year! There will be another event like this in the future,” Nordin summed up.
“This framework is so easy to replicate and all you need are a few passionate volunteers and somebody to drive the programming at the different sites. We are looking to expand this program. It was so successful that I have already received several inquiries. We’d like to use this GLOBALGirls program as a launching pad to expand it to other sights within the United States,” Bluemich concluded excitedly.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - A new baseball team comprised of Saratoga Springs firefighters and police officers, as well as other area professionals from Troy Fire, Airport Fire, New York State Corrections, and Malta Ridge Fire Company has formed with the intention of donating all proceeds to a different charity each game. Speaking with Chris Stewart, a firefighter in the Saratoga Springs Fire Department and creator of the team, said the idea came about after the past few seasons playing on a slow pitch softball team with a few other people in the department. They thought it would be nice to form a baseball team that would play other departments. This is the only fire and police baseball team in the Capital District.
“Ultimately, “ Stewart explained, “we want to become as organized as teams like NYPD. We are putting together an administrative staff to help build a solid foundation to grow this team.”
After only two practices, Stewart could already feel the chemistry between the team.
“We joke around with each other, we have our baseball superstitions that you hear about, and overall we have a fun time playing the game.”
It wasn’t difficult for Stewart to pull together a roster, everyone involved loves baseball but most of all, wants to play and raise money for good causes. Their first game is planned for August 19 against Hudson Valley in Saratoga Springs at East Side Rec and they are slated for a 7:00 p.m. start time. The Hudson Valley Guns N Hoses team consists of police department and fire department personnel from the Poughkeepsie and Kingston area. The proceeds from this game is going specifically toward the New York State Police PBA Signal 30 Fund to be given to the family of Trooper Joel Davis. Trooper Davis was shot in the chest after responding to a call on the evening of Sunday July 8. He succumbed to his wounds shortly after.
“Our goal is for every home game we have is to play for a different first responder or local charity. We all want to play and raise money for good causes.”
While they only have one game scheduled so far, Saratoga Horses Baseball Club is looking to play roughly six to seven games a year in Saratoga Springs and in other locations. They are in the process of scheduling a game for September against the New York State Baseball Team to be played in Saratoga Springs. They are also speaking with Toronto Police Department Baseball Team about scheduling a game and have contacted several other teams across the northeast to schedule games against.
Stewart has his hands full, he helps schedule and coordinate and he will also primarily play the catcher’s position on the team but will also be spending time in the outfield.
“We have been practicing for two weeks and have our first scrimmage against a Saratoga MSBL team with a few more practices after that. Ultimately, our goal is to become an organization that continues to play for years to come.”