Mar 19, 2023 - News

Colorado Girl Scouts open first-of-its-kind facility, called DreamLab

The new Girl Scouts DreamLab in Denver's Lowry neighborhood. Photo: Courtesy of Girl Scouts of Colorado

Colorado Girl Scouts are paving a new path for other troops across the country.

Driving the news: This month, the state chapter became the first in the nation to debut a center devoted to and designed by Girl Scouts, called the DreamLab. The 4,000-square-foot facility is located in Denver's Lowry neighborhood.

  • The goal of DreamLab is to make being a Girl Scout more accessible and attract more young people to the program with features like a STEM lab, bouldering wall and indoor camping area.
  • Girl Scouts of the USA, which helped fund the project, is looking to the center as a potential nationwide model.

Why it matters: At a time when teen girls are bearing the worst of the mental health crisis, programs like this offer young women support.

What they're saying: "Girl Scouts meet in troops, and those troops often will meet in church basements, in libraries and those kinds of locations. But it's been harder to get those kinds of [spots] in a post-COVID world," Girl Scouts of Colorado president Leanna Clark tells Axios Denver.

  • "Plus, those places are sort of generic. They're not designed for and by girls — and the DreamLab is," she says.

Details: Multiple troops will be able to share the space through a reservation system, expected to launch in June.

  • The center is also planning to host family fun days on a monthly basis, as well as regular programming.

Zoom in: Clemmer Henrichs — a local 8th grader who's been in Girl Scouts since she was in Kindergarten — was one of the nearly 1,000 girls to attend the grand opening last week.

  • Henrichs said one of the most exciting things is its STEM lab, because she wants to pursue environmental engineering. She's also interested in tinkering in the podcast booth, something she's never tried before.
  • For her, Girl Scouts provides "an amazing opportunity to make friends, learn skills that you're going to use throughout the rest of your life, and just have fun in general."

What's next: The Colorado chapter wants to expand across the state "after we get six or eight months under our belt" at the Denver DreamLab, Clark says.

  • The group already owns a building in Grand Junction, she said, so that could be a prime location to pursue next.

The big picture: Two other DreamLabs are planned to debut this summer in Louisiana and New Jersey. At least five others are in the works in other parts of the country.

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