A first-of-its-kind Girl Scouts Dream Lab is set to open in Lowry in March and will offer girls opportunities to complete science projects, perform on stage, produce podcasts, simulate camping, and much more. The 4,000-square-foot center is located in the new Boulevard One development along Quebec Avenue.
Girl Scouts of Colorado CEO Leanna Clark says the Dream Lab was designed by girls scouts for girl scouts and will fill a need that became apparent in recent years. “It’s become more challenging in the post-Covid world to find spaces for troops to meet. This will be a place where troops can gather, they can meet other girl scouts, and they can gain skills that might be hard to get elsewhere.”
The Lowry site was chosen because the neighborhood has a higher-than-average diversity index. The lab is located within 10 miles of 17 percent of its existing members and affords access to another 80,000 girls in the area. “It lets us reach our current members as well as girls who haven’t been exposed to scouting so we can bring them into the fold.”
Clark hopes that the lab will help tackle another problem that was created by the pandemic: waning membership. Before the pandemic, there were 20,000 girl scouts in Colorado. Now there are 16,000. “We declined during the pandemic because—like everybody—we couldn’t meet in person. But we’re starting to climb back up,” says Clark.
Meredith Genova Nicolaescu leads a troop of girls who attend the Denver Language School. She’s thrilled about the new center. “We really struggle to find meeting space. We normally meet outside in Crestmoor Park, so having access to the Dream Lab will be wonderful.” She thinks the center will help energize leaders and scouts alike. “I think it will foster more connections across troops in the Denver Metro area. It will also be wonderful for girls of different ages to interact,” says Nicolaescu. “In order to earn awards, older troops need to teach younger troops, so this will more easily enable that kind of mentoring.”
Nicolaescu’s scouts are also excited. Her 9-year old daughter Mila is looking forward to using the podcast station. “I want to podcast my thoughts and what I think about the world and my school.” Nine-year- old Aurelia Erickson also wants to make a podcast. “I want to interview people about animals and science.” Eight-year-old Anabel Williams says she’s looking forward to the social aspect of the Dream Lab. “I want to meet new friends and have experiences I maybe couldn’t have had before.”
The Lowry Dream Lab is a pilot project that the Girl Scouts plan to replicate across the state and throughout the nation. Construction was funded by a portion of the revenues from the sale of Magic Sky Ranch near Red Feather Lakes. The space is designed around the four pillars of scouting: STEM, outdoor experiences, life skills, and entrepreneurship. It is decorated with bright colors and vibrant images of girls. Even the ceiling tiles were designed to be more acoustic for the higher pitch of girls’ voices.
Clark hopes the Dream Lab will increase awareness about Girl Scouts, but also serve as a community hub for the neighborhood. The Dream Lab will be available for groups to rent, and she also plans to hold a monthly special event on the second Sunday for all ages and genders. “Maybe in December we’d build gingerbread houses or in November we’d do something around gratitude.”
One other benefit of the Dream Lab is that it holds office space where staff can work. “We’re excited about working in a space where you’re exposed to the mission every day as the girls come in and out,” says Clark. “It’s going to be inspirational for all of us and it will give us a place to bring donors. People will see up close what Girls Scouts is all about. We do sell cookies, but that’s not all we do.”
An official grand opening celebration will be held on March 12 from 10:30am–1pm and the public is encouraged to attend. For more information visit www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org.