Berges Success Story:

Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri

Get to Know the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri

Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri (GSEM) celebrated a milestone anniversary in 2018, marking 100 years of delivering the best leadership development program for girls in the region. Since its founding, GSEM has served over 1 million girls. Today, GSEM is the sixth largest of 112 Girl Scout Councils in the nation.

With a jurisdiction spanning 16,000-square-miles, including 28 counties and the city of St. Louis, GSEM serves more than 42,000 girls and 15,000 adults.

Through Girl Scouting, girls are introduced to GSEM’s three programmatic focus areas: STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), Money Management, and Health. GSEM provides girls hands-on experience building robots, programming computers, learning about nature through camping and science experiments. Programs are aligned to satisfy what girls are interested in and want to do as well as emerging community needs.

STEM Education & The Berges Family

The Berges family has long been a strong proponent of Girl Scouting, donating more than a million dollars to Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri as individuals and through the Berges Family Foundation. In 2014, the Berges Family Foundation pledged a matching grant for the build out and ongoing support of the Berges Family Girl Scout Program Center. This 6,500 square-foot space now serves as a hub for Girl Scouts with state-of-the-art equipment, demonstration kitchen, parents’ lounge, STEM lab and area for robotics competitions and simulations.

“Having a STEM-educated workforce is key to attracting great industry to this region,” Jim and Cathy Berges said. “The technical fields tend to be dominated by males. While women represent 52-percent of college graduates, only 20-percent are in technical fields. Getting more women into technical fields is one way to close the gap. We are excited to expand STEM-related opportunities for these girls.”

Berges Family Girl Scout Program Center

Opened in 2016, the Berges Family Program Center was made possible by a generous gift from the Berges Family Foundation. Now, girls of all ages have a dedicated space to participate in a variety of progressive programming in STEM, Money Management, and Health.

In 2017, more than 4,300 girls attended programs held in the Berges Family Program Center and earned more than 16,000 badges in STEM, including Inventor, Computer Expert, Website Designer, and Home Scientist.

In 2018, the Berges Family Girl Scout Program Center was used to host a scramble, a competition, and a Robotics Showcase for our FIRST® Robotics program. Girl Scouts served 55 teams, comprised of 267 girls in grades K-12, through its FIRST program which includes council-led STEM programs, Girls Learning Environment and Energy (GLEE) Club, Brownie Think Like an Engineer Journey, camp, and other national STEM programs. By 2020, the number of teams served will double to 110, thanks to the investment made by the Berges’.

In 2018, Girl Scouts who took part in the FIRST program achieved the following outcomes:

  • 81% of girls were knowledgeable about STEM careers
  • 97% of girls viewed STEM careers favorably
  • 94% of girls had confidence in their own math and science abilities
  • 88% of girls believed they could utilize the science skills they had learned to help solve a problem in the real world
  • 95% of girls increased interest in math, science and engineering
  • 97% of girls learned to work as a team to solve problems

2018 Individual Legacy Builder Award

Gifts from the Berges Family Foundation have been instrumental in delivering a more robust STEM experience to GSEM’s membership. In recognition of their generosity, the Berges Family Foundation received the 2018 Individual Legacy Builder Award at Girl Scouts’ largest annual fundraiser, Dessert First.

“We are extremely grateful to see how the Berges family’s involvement has impacted our girls and hope that their generosity will continue to inspire others to contribute to and get involved with the Eastern Missouri Girl Scout Council.” —Bonnie Barczykowski, CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri

How You Can Help

Volunteer — As a volunteer, you’ll introduce girls to new experiences and help them unleash their inner  G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to take the lead and change the world.

Donate — Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri is a non-profit organization that relies on individuals like you to sustain its programs and services. Your gift to Girl Scouting will help all girls grow into active and engaged members of their communities and develop their full leadership potential.

Shop — Our shop carries girls’ and adults’ uniforms, program publications, awards, Insignia, camping items, gifts, fun activity patches and merchandise exclusive to Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. Most merchandise is official GSUSA-licensed products. Visit our shop, 2300 Ball Drive, St. Louis, MO 63146, or shop online 24/7.