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Girl Scouts Rockin’ with Robots

Dakota Horizon brings coding program to region

Jen Brodal/MDN Brian Veitz, right, talks to new Girl Scouts, Kanyin Koleman, left, Hazel Froseth, Ramona Kikos and Helen Kikos, at the Dakota Horizon’s Girl Scout ‘”Botley’” event on Tuesday evening at the YMCA.

Even though the Minot Dakota Horizon office of the Girl Scouts has closed in Minot, Brian and Carrie Veitz of Minot are helping to ensure the organization stays active in the area.

The couple volunteers and hosts Girl Scout Dakota Horizon recruitment events within the region from Devils Lake to Williston, expanding to areas such as Washburn, Wilton and New Town. Carrie Veitz said she drives to area schools, churches and libraries, utilizing the spaces offered for Dakota Horizons events. Having done the traveling before the office in Minot closed, she said, she makes it work depending on what is going on in the program.

On Tuesday, Brian and Carrie Veitz brought “Botley,” a new robot STEM program, to Minot to teach Girl Scouts how to code and run robots in three mini-sessions.

“The program is made for kindergarten through fifth grade and basically shows the girls, even at a young age, technological things geared to their age group and, hopefully, cultivate an interest,” Brian Veitz said.

The couple began the course by instructing the girls on programming or coding the directions the robot would travel, using placing mats and arrows on a table. They preprogrammed a remote control with the complete set of directions for the robot, then activated the robot to follow the route with a push of a button.

The “Botleys” came in several in cases, and after initial instructions, the girls broke into pairs and worked together coding and running their own Botley. Brian Veitz said the robots came with various accessories that helped to create obstacle courses for the girls to set up for the robots.

“Usually, we like to see 10 girls participate in the Dakota Horizons events, but never know what the turn out will be,” he said.

The next sessions of Rockin’ with Robots, Dakota Horizons Girl Scouts, will be at the Minot Family YMCA, located at 3515 16th St. SW, Feb. 6 and 23 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. These events are free and open to all girls in kindergarten through fifth grade. For more information visit gsdakotahorizons.org.

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