Congratulations, Girl Scout Robotics Teams!

Girl Scouts who participated in our robotics program are reaching new heights! 

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) proudly sponsored 12 FIRST Robotics teams this season in partnership with Motorola Foundation Solutions. There were eight FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Challenge teams (for students in grades 4-8), three FLL Explore teams (for students in grades 2-4), and one FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team (for students in grades 7-12). 

All age groups learned about this season’s STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) theme, which focused on power and energy. 

Volunteer coaches created a comprehensive STEAM curriculum that taught the basics of building a moving robot or model. Teams programmed the robot or model with Spike Prime Essential, Spike Prime, or Java programming languages.

Teams also shared a poster, skit, song, play, or engineering presentation to show how much they learned this season with judges who determined awards and advancements.

Some of the notable accomplishments of this season’s teams are:

  • FLL Challenge team, The Unstoppable Robogirls, from Troop 25237, was a seventh-grade FLL Challenge team that advanced to the Illinois State FLL Challenge Championship at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with their highest robot run score of 245 points. They won the Core Values Trophy at their regional competition in December 2023 with 110 points for their highest robot run.

FLL Challenge team, Saucedo, from Troop 24520, won the Robot Performance Trophy with 200 points for their highest robot run at their regional tournament. This was the rookie year for Saucedo.

FLL Challenge team, Rad Rovers, from various troops based at Oakton Community College, won the Engineering Excellence Trophy with 280 points for their highest robot run at their regional tournament. This was the rookie year for Rad Rovers.

  • FLL Challenge team, Warriors, from Troop 55557, scored 165 points for their highest robot run at their regional tournament. The Warriors have advanced to the FLL Challenge state championship in past years.
  • FLL Challenge team, Electric Golden Girls, from Troop 75733, scored 130 points for their highest robot run at their regional tournament. This was the rookie year for Electric Golden Girls. 

FLL Challenge team, Hot Potatoes, from Troop 25778, scored 140 points for their highest robot run at the regional tournament. This was the rookie year for Hot Potatoes.

FLL Challenge team, Space Monkeys (Juliettes based in Wheaton), scored 210 points for their highest robot run at the regional tournament. 

  • FLL Challenge team, LEGO Chicago, from Troop 21397, returned to FLL Robotics after being inactive for two years during COVID-19.

FLL Explore team, Saucedo, from Troop 24520, presented at an exhibition in Chicago.

FLL Explore team, The Cookie Crunchers, from Troop 47305, presented at an exhibition in Chicago. They also presented at an exhibition at the FIRST Robotics World Festival in Houston and were chosen for the Core Value Award. And they presented their robotics model at their Girl Scouts service unit meeting.

FLL Explore team, The Unstoppable Robogirls Junior, from Troop 47305, presented at an exhibition in Chicago. They also presented an exhibition at the FIRST Robotics World Festival in Houston and were chosen for the Best Poster Award.

  • The FTC team, Newton Busters, from Troops 41302 and 40423, won the Illinois State Championship robot matches. To win the state championship, the team faced other robotics teams in five elimination matches, two semi-final alliance matches, and two final alliance matches. Elimination matches randomly select two teams to compete against two other teams. Alliance matches are self-selected alliances of three teams competing against three other teams. Throughout the season, the team competed in three league tournaments, one league championship, and one state championship. At the league championship hosted at the Grainger Headquarters in Lake Forest, with 600 people in attendance, the team won the FIRST Inspire Award and the Innovate Trophy. At the state championship held at Elgin Community College with 38 teams who advanced to the state championship, they won the 2022-2023 Illinois State Championship Tournament Winning Alliance Trophy and the 2022-2023 Illinois State Championship Tournament Control Trophy. One of the coaches, a 16-year Girl Scout leader, won the 2023 Power Play Chicago Suburban Northeast Volunteer of the Year Trophy.

Congratulations to all teams for your incredible accomplishments! 

More information about FIRST Robotics can be found on the National website ( or the Illinois website (

Girl Scout Team Places at World LEGO Robotics Championship

Girl Scout Team Places at World LEGO Robotics Championship

Girl Scouts are pioneers when it comes to innovation, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Newton Busters, a team from Wilmette, Illinois, earned 10th place at the FIRST LEGO League World Championships earlier this year in St. Louis.

“Getting to the world championships was really cool,” said Yara Goldina, a 16-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador. “There were a lot of teams and they were all pretty advanced, so it was really interesting to see all of the different robots and strategies. It was also our first time getting to far in FTC and because we’re only a second-year team, I thought it was really cool that we go through to the last level and performed pretty well.”

Teammate Simone Wall, a 17-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador, agreed.

“I really enjoyed my experience. The days were long and tiring, but in a good way,” she shared. “It was interesting to see all of the creative solutions people came up with and to talk to them about their design and how they came up with it. It was also fun to meet teams from others countries – some of them spent almost 24 hours traveling just to make it to St. Louis.”


The four-day event featured more than 15,000 students from 33 countries. In preparation for the competition, the Newtown Busters team performed driving tests for their robot and held meetings to practice their presentation.

“We focused a lot on testing robot components this year to improve them,” said Athena Zheng. “We mainly tested our robot for any imperfections in our programs, as well as revised some mechanisms of our robot to make it more efficient.”

Simone was also happy to see her design come to life.

“With Newton Busters, I was able to learn a lot more about programming, hardware design and fabrication,” she said. “It was exciting to see a design I drew out on paper become a real thing that actually worked.”

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) has sponsored more than 500 girls on teams in LEGO Robotics programming throughout the last seven years. This year, Girl Scouts LEGO Robotics program sponsored 27 teams at various levels of FIRST Robotics for a total of 140 girls.

“We’re committed to encouraging girls to embrace their imaginations and develop the creative problem-solving skills that will empower them to tackle 21st-century challenges in their communities, classrooms, careers and beyond,” said Candice Schaefer, director of program for GSGCNWI.

2017_05_01 Girl Scouts Collage FTC Velocity Vortex World Championship

The Girl Scouts LEGO Robotics program is made possible through generous funding from Exelon and additional funding from Motorola Solutions Foundation.

“What we love about the LEGO Robotics program is that it helps gets young girls interested in STEM in a really fun and creative way,” said Steve Solomon, vice president, Exelon Corporation in Chicago. “We fund programs like this one to get more young women interested STEM and thinking about careers in the energy industry. Not only does it teach them skills to build the robots, but this program teaches problem-solving, critical-thinking and team-building skills which they can use throughout their lives.”

Gloria Fountain, a Girl Scout troop leader and Newton Busters coach, couldn’t agree more.

“Girl Scouts helps our girls recognize their potential so that when they go into a male-dominated industry, they feel empowered,” she said. “At the end of the day, I’m so amazed by their journey,” said Gloria Fountain. “They start with nothing and create innovative solutions. People marvel at their presentations and it’s so amazing.”

In addition to the LEGO Robotics program, ComEd, an Exelon company, also hosts an annual Icebox Derby competition for young women.

“Girl Scouts has provided me multiple opportunities to learn about STEM,” said Athena, who has also participated in ComEd’s Icebox Derby. “In FTC, I have learned how to innovate new solutions to problems; write programs for testing; analyze date results from our test programs; create complex algorithms to complete tasks and much more.”

Newton Buster teammate and fellow Icebox Derby competitor Jasmine Wu has also enjoyed learning more about STEM through Girl Scouts.

“Girl Scouts helped me develop my love for STEM by creating and sponsoring so many programs,” Jasmine, a 16-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador, said. “In the summer of 2014, I took part in the Icebox Derby. We built a car from a fridge and raced it. My interest in STEM was furthered when we won and traveled to the national flight academy the next year.”

“Girl Scouts helped our team stay together so that we could afford to participate in FTC and les us continue to build robots and compete,” said Yara, who plans to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. “They encourage us to keep going and work hard to learn more.”

And the encouragement doesn’t stop there. Several of the girls have mentored younger Girl Scouts who’ve expressed an interest in STEM.

“I have been mentoring Girl Scout [First LEGO League] teams since fifth grade and find it so rewarding since all the girls gain so much from the experience,” said Samantha Fountain, a 15-year-old Girl Scout Senior. “Girl Scouts is the perfect place to find STEM activities to try and see if you have a passion for it.”

To learn more about the Girl Scout LEGO Robotics program, click here.