Senior Girl Reporter
Hands down, GenCyber is one of the most anticipated Girl Scout events of the year, not to mention the largest STEM event Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council offers. This year, over 200 girls attended and each participated in this amazing, week long program. Each day, the girls participated in a new set of cyber related activities, ranging from working with Pi’s to performing cyber security skits with IBM. Google, Facebook, Department of Homeland Security, Cisco, and IBM are just a few of the companies that participated in the spectacular event.
I was able to participate in this years GenCyber as a Cyber Leader. Each day, my group and I embarked on a new Cyber Adventure. Although I had not previously participated in GenCyber, I heard so many great things about it, and when my sister couldn’t stop talking about how much fun she had, I knew that I had to be involved in this event!
The first class we participated in was “Game of Drones,” and the girls were extremely excited to start flying drones. The students of CSUSB taught the girls the basics of flying drones and the many uses that they have. Along with this, the girls learned the dangers of drone hacking and how important it is to have a secure wifi network for the drone. Each girl got the chance to fly a drone and some even learned how to do a few tricks and flips.
The students at CSUSB also educated the girls in the basics of Pi. The super powerful, mini computers were popular among the girls. In this rotation, the girls practiced with programming their own games, practicing with hacking, all while learning the basics of the Pi system.
During the Router Runway course, the girls played a truth or dare game that taught them about the different types of websites. The girls also participated on a simulation of a router, where they partnered up to run a maze. They could only accomplish this by working together and fully understanding the concept of a router.
Outdoors, the girls went to new heights in the ropes course. Some girls walked across a tree trunk that was suspended at least 15 ft., while others were harnessed to a swing that was released mid-air. While watching the girls, I saw many that were able to overcome fears of heights by taking one step at a time and facing their fear in order to reach their goal. They had to work together to pull their friends up the swing and motivate each other – in this they learned the importance of teamwork and communication.
Another crowd favorite among the girls was the skits that they each put together with IBM and the students of CSUSB. After the girls learned the rules of hygiene, they were each assigned a rule to present in a skit. I saw everything from a catwalk to a slumber party; but the most important thing was that no matter what format the rule was presented in, the girls seemed to understand it. This was a constant goal of the classes during GenCyber, for the girls to understand the importance of being safe on the internet.
Among one of the special guest that participated in this years event, Facebook provided a challenging puzzle for the girls. At each level the girls were given a code, puzzle, or mind trick that they worked together to solve. They were also given access to the internet, so to complete certain online codes and to give them a resource when solving these puzzles. At the end, the group who completed all of the challenges earned a prize from Facebook. Facebook also gave another gift – a sundae bar!
Bank of America also had an amazing activity for the girls. The girls were split into groups, and led to five separate tables. At each table there were the following supplies; a trash can filled with miscellaneous supplies, a computer bag, along with some paper and pens for the girls to write notes. They were acting as bank robbers, who had to scour for evidence at the CEO’s desk. The girls worked together to find clues in the trash or in the bag of the CEO. When a girl found a clue, they were given a puzzle that they had to crack. At each level, they uncovered a little piece of the password. B of A even centered their password and clues around the Girl Scout Law.
At the end of every day, we gathered together in the SMSU Event Center and watched a performance by the famous Jimosh. This band is composed of two students at CSUSB who are volunteer to teach the girls; they definitely added humor and music to the world of cyber security. The girls learned many valuable lessons in teamwork, and the proper way to stay safe when using the internet. They were exposed to more technology and made friendships. GenCyber week is definitely a fun learning experience and if you haven’t attended, you should sign up next year.