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Girl Scout Design Challenge (GSDC) is a mentorship program for 6th-12th grade Girl Scouts that pairs them with female design professionals to learn about the fields of architecture, graphic design, urban planning, landscape architecture, and interior design. The goal is to help Girl Scouts learn about these professional fields and spark their interest in pursuing a career in one of these areas.

GSDC will consist of 4 teams, each made up of around eight Cadette, Senior, and/or Ambassador Girl Scouts and 3-4 mentors. Registration is now open and will close on December 16, or when the program is full.

Teams will be asked to design a new space that could theoretically be built at Camp Tongawood. The site on camp and design challenge will be different than last year. At the end of the program the teams will present their project concept and design to a jury panel during Kansas City Design Week. All participants will be involved in development of the project and in delivering the presentation. NEW THIS YEAR : By participating in this program, girls will earn and receive their STEM Career Exploration Badge.

To help prepare girls for the presentation component, the Coterie Theatre will be offering a Public Speaking workshop for all participants. This is a required component of the program (unless you participated in GSDC 2022), and all girls will receive the Public Speaking badge.

This is a rigorous program designed for Girl Scouts interested in exploring these professional fields. This program will require multiple meetings involving all team members. Girl Scouts will have at least one meeting per month to attend as well as some work to do at home in between. Please check with your Girl Scout and talk through the information and time commitment before registering.

Registration is now open. Spots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. See registration information below. Please review our frequently asked questions for more information.

Important Dates:

Girl Scout Design Challenge Kick-Off
Sat Jan 7, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Camp Tongawood

Girl Scout participants and caregivers meet their fellow team members and professional volunteers and team meeting dates are finalized.

Public Speaking with The Coterie Theatre
Tuesday, January 24, 6-8pm

Final Presentation
Tue April 18, 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is AIA Kansas City? The American Institute of Architects is the largest and most influential professional association for architects, interns and those directly involved in the practice of architecture. The Kansas City Chapter has been in continuous operation since 1890 and represents over 1100 members within the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. AIA Kansas City supports its members by providing high quality programming, services, and communications, advances the value of the architecture profession, and improves the quality of the built environment.

Women in Design, a committee of AIA Kansas City, is a community of women involved in architecture and the design professions who have come together for mentorship, support, and advocacy. We provide opportunities for working with our community to educate, enhance, explore, and celebrate the historic and present contributions of women in our professions.

Is this a troop activity or an individual Girl Scout activity? This program has been created for individual Girl Scouts who have an interest in design and/or architecture. If there is more than one Girl Scout in a troop with that interest, we hope they register, but this is specific to interest, not troops.

When will the meetings take place for my Girl Scout’s team? Team meetings will take place on weeknight evenings and/or weekends. Each team will set their own schedule. Girl Scouts and their families will be asked to provide their schedule availability during registration. Girl Scout staff will work to place Girl Scouts on teams that align with schedule availability.

How often will the teams meet? Teams will meet approximately 1-2 times a month. Smaller team meetings may also happen depending on the course your team is taking and the tasks that need to be completed.

Where will meetings take place? Meetings may take place in multiple locations throughout the Kansas City metro area. Meeting locations are the sole discretion of the mentors and will not be adjusted.

Will the girls have work to do outside the meetings? Yes. Every girl will be responsible for this project and will have tasks to complete at home in between meetings. It could be researching ideas on the computer, or it could be putting a simple model together or doing some sketches/idea collages. Additionally, all girls new to GSDC will be expected to attend a Public Speaking badge workshop presented by the Coterie Theatre. This is to prepare girls for the final presentation they will give before a panel of jurors.

What should my Girl Scout expect out of this program? She will be challenged and will gain important life skills. This program will take patience, working with a group, sacrificing personal ideas for another’s, thinking in different ways and learning to trust in a process. Architects and designers will be the first to tell you it’s a lot of hard work to design and build a project and the reward is at the end when it all comes together. Listed below are some of what girls may experience in their team.

  • Communication: Presenting an idea, supporting/defending an idea, critiquing an idea – challenging the expert (mentor)
  • Collaboration: Compromise, “not winning”, relationship-building
  • Innovation: Explore new ideas (design), learn from mistakes (re-design), concept to realization

What should parents expect during this program?

  • They should expect to talk to their Girl Scout about the meetings and the homework. Girls may need help talking through their ideas and putting their ideas on paper. Parents can encourage that work and know that the Mentors are a phone call/email away for help and guidance.
  • They should expect to have to adjust their schedule to accommodate the 1-2 meetings per month.
  • They should expect that meetings will not necessarily be convenient to their home and/or work location.

What are the required dates?

  • Kickoff: January 7, 9am-12pm at Camp Tongawood
  • Public Speaking Badge Workshop: January 24, 6-8pm at Crown Center
  • Presentation and Celebration: April 18, 5:30-8pm, location TBD


How to Register:                                             

  • Before registering, please read the FAQs.
  • This program has been created for individual Girl Scouts who have an interest in design and/or architecture. Parents/caregivers should complete the registration form, not troop leaders.
  • All girls participating in this activity must be registered Girl Scout members.
  • REGISTER ONLINE NOW. Please fill out the registration form on a computer; it will not work correctly on a phone. The registration deadline is December 16.

Cost Per Girl: $35

A confirmation receipt will be provided at the end of the online registration process. The Community Partner team will email additional details prior to the January 7th Girl Scouts Design Challenge Kick-Off.

Please reach out if you have any questions.

Questions? Email communitypartners@gsksmo.org

Badge Connections: Cadette Badge: Public Speaking, Cadette Badge: STEM Career Exploration, Senior Badge: STEM Career Exploration, Ambassador Badge: STEM Career Exploration

Outcomes: Develops a strong sense of self, Displays positive values, Seeks challenges and learns from setbacks, Forms and maintains healthy relationships, Learns to identify and solve problems in her community
Learn more about the 5 Girl Scout outcomes.