More than 500 Girl Scouts Demonstrate Online Safety Skills with Garfield Cyber Safety Patch

First National Cyber Safety Patch Program Empowers Girl Scouts of All Ages

Clearwater, Fla. (July 20, 2017) – The Girl Scouts of West Central Florida (GSWCF) and the Center for Cyber Safety and Education just announced that over 500 Girl Scouts in the GSWCF eight-county jurisdiction and around the country have earned their cyber safety patch. The first of its kind in the country and piloted by the GSWCF last fall, the patch program uses cyber safety lessons comic books and cartoons featuring Garfield and friends. The cartoons include a new female character and mentor, Dr. Cybrina, a certified cyber security expert.

Girls from the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson, Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida, Girl Scouts of Maine and Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital have earned their cyber safety badge through the program. Available to all Girl Scout levels – Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette, Senior and Ambassador – and to any troop in the US, the patch program aims to reinforce basic cyber safety principles while fostering girls’ interest in STEM fields like cybersecurity.

Each Girl Scout level has a different set of requirements to complete, and the curriculum for each level was designed with the age of the girls in mind. For Girl Scouts Ambassadors, which are girls in the last two years of high school, the requirements include a presentation to senior citizens at a school, library or senior citizen center.

“Cyber safety is something all of our girls need to take seriously,” stated Carrie Alexander, leader of two troops and Service Unit manager for her local community from Lithia, Florida. “The Garfield cyber safety patch program is an exciting new way to get the message to our girls.”

Grace Allen, a Girl Scout since Kindergarten and now a second-year Cadette from Troop 3512 in Lithia, Florida, said, “I think [the program] is good and will help out a lot of kids. Using Garfield is really cool, fun way to learn about cyber safety.”

Reesha Riley, Daisy troop leader from Tampa, Florida, added, “The girls really didn’t know anything about being safe online, and they learned a lot. I’ve already recommended the program to another Daisy Troop.”
Clara Moll, GSWCF VP of Member Innovation, commented, “The Garfield program is so unique because it uses familiar characters that make the information easy to understand and fun to learn. At the same time, Dr. Cybrina shows the girls that this field is truly accessible to them, and the possibilities are endless.”

The program is provided by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education and offers lessons for children, parents and seniors. The Garfield materials include cartoons, comic books, posters, trading cards, and stickers and will tackle different cyber safety issues, including privacy, the dangers of posting online, online etiquette, cyberbullying, and more. The Center also offers non-Garfield resources for parents and seniors on social media, passwords, scams, online banking and basic computer protection.

Patrick Craven, Center director, said, “We are so pleased with the number of troops who have adopted the program and girls who have already earned their cyber safety badge. Our collaboration is so positive and has the potential to have a significant impact on the shortage of girls pursuing STEM careers.”
To learn more about the Girl Scouts Garfield cyber safety patch program, please contact safeandsecureonline@isc2.org or +1.727.339.6508.

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About Center for Cyber Safety and Education
The Center for Cyber Safety and Education (Center), is a non-profit charitable trust committed to making the cyber world a safer place for everyone. The Center works to ensure that people across the globe have a positive and safe experience online through their educational programs, scholarships, and research. Visit www.IAmCyberSafe.org.
About Girl Scouts of West Central Florida
Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts of West Central Florida (GSWCF) serves nearly 20,000 girls and nearly 8,500 adult members in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sumter counties. Did you know that more than 53% of all women business owners are Girl Scout alumnae? For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, visit www.gswcf.org or call 800-881-4475.

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