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Girl Scouts enjoy educational slumber party at IMS

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — Thousands of Girl Scouts enjoyed an educational slumber party Saturday night at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Hands-on activities hosted by more than 70 community partners gave the girls an opportunity to focus on healthy living and STEM-related topics.

The fun, judgment-free environment “empowered” budding science, technology, engineering and math students, and gave them a taste of career options in fields previously dominated by men, troop leaders said.

“It’s getting the message out there that Girl Scouts is so much more than the cookies, camping and crafts,” explained Deana Potterf, a Girl Scouts of Central Indiana spokesperson. “They don’t have boys looking over their shoulders here. They don’t have to be worried about being embarrassed like they might be in a typical school setting.”

More than 3,000 girls participated in activities including code breaking, robotics, programming, building race cars, building mock jet engines, observing a pair of pig lungs and creating a “tornado in a box” with chemical reactions.

Several elementary school students said the slumber party helped them identify potential career goals; one 9-year-old announced plans to become a veterinarian, while a 10-year-old weather aficionado at the tornado station said she might consider meteorology. Another Girl Scout, however, said speaking with WISH-TV was the highlight of her day and enthusiastically shared plans to pursue a non-STEM career in front of the camera.

“That’s what she loves,” her mother said, laughing. “These girls can do anything they choose to do.”