Glen Carbon – There’s the science of robotics and the science of cooking.  But, what do you get when you combine both?  You get a Girl Scout robotics team from O’Fallon entering a national baking competition sponsored by Taste of Home magazine. 

The challenge put forth by Taste of Home’s first-ever National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest was for bakers everywhere to create a delicious dessert incorporating one of Girl Scouts’ delicious cookies.  Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois’ “Oops!” FIRST TECH Challenge robotics team decided to enter and they used Girl Scouts’ newest cookie Rah-Rah Raisins as one of the main ingredients.  Rah-Rah Raisins is an oatmeal cookie plump with raisins and Greek yogurt-flavored chunks.

First, why did the Girl Scouts name their robotic team Oops?  Simple the team members say, because many of the world’s greatest inventions started with an oops…interesting and smart girls with a sense of humor as well.  The Oops robotic team is coached by Kristi Smith from O’Fallon and consists of eight middle and high school girls from O’Fallon, Granite City and Belleville.

According to Kristi, the girls tasted the Rah-Rah Raisin cookies and discussed flavors that would taste good with them.  “We decided apples would be a good starting point.  Then we talked about our favorite desserts and the girls came up with cheesecake and ice cream,” Smith said.   Then Amber, one of the team members, shared that she likes fried ice cream.  The other girls were intrigued by fried ice cream and that was the birth of the “Fried Cookie Crumble Ice Cream” recipe.  In total, the girls came up with four recipes to submit to the Taste of Home national baking contest…the Fried Cookie Crumble Ice Cream, White Chocolate Mac-RAH-demian Cookies, Do-Si-Do Peanut Butter Pie, and Caramel Apple Rah-Rah Cheesecake.

According to Smith, the girls wanted to enter the baking contest so they could incorporate their love of baking and their love of science into one activity.  One of the things the girls liked most while developing their recipes was incorporating their robot into the baking process.  They programmed their robot to drive over a plastic bag filled with Rah-Rah Raisin cookies repeatedly.   The robot sufficiently crushed the Rah-Rah Raisin cookies into crumbs and these were used in the recipes.  

How is baking and robotics similar?  “In both you need to be creative about the things you want to do or make,” said Smith.  “You need not be afraid of failure and be willing to try new things, and sometimes the strangest idea is the best solution.

Members of the Oops robotics team include: Katie Buchanan, Mackenzie Butchee, Kim Melton, Chloe Schlosser, Kailee Schlosser, Amber Smith, Leah Walton and Megan Zaiz.  When not coming up with creative and yummy recipes, the Oops robotic team has been competing in FIRST TECH Challenge competitions.  Most recently they competed in Decatur, Illinois at Decatur Hope Academy.  The team won the Motivate Award which is given to the team that exemplifies outstanding team work, team spirt and enthusiasm.  In fact, the team has won the Motivate Award at three straight competitions.

FTC is designed for students in grades 7-12 and they are responsible for designing, building and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams.

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is committed to provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) programming for its 14,000 girls throughout southern Illinois.  GSSI started out with one robotic team in 2009 and now has 35 robotic and botball teams.  Working with our dedicated volunteers, staff and girls we are trying to make FIRST and robotics known in communities throughout southern Illinois.

For more information about Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois STEM opportunities, contact Mary Buchanan at 618.307.3615.  Also, visit the Girl Scout website at to see all the fun and exciting things today’s girls are doing in Girl Scouting. 

     The mission of Girl Scouting statesGirl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.   Girl Scouts is the world's pre-eminent organization dedicated solely to girls - all girls - where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world.  In partnership with committed adults, girls develop qualities that will serve them all their lives - like strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth.

     Today’s Girl Scouts not only enjoy camping and crafts, but they also explore math and science and learn about diversity, good citizenship, leadership and teamwork.  Girl Scouting is the place where girls experience the fun, friendship and power of girls together. 

     Girl Scouting has inspired more than 50 million girls and women since its founding in 1912. 

     Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is a not-for-profit organization supported by various United Ways throughout the region.  Girl Scouts is a Proud Partner of United Way.

     For more information, please call Tricia Higgins at 618.242.5079 or Jay Strobel at 618.692.0692.

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