Race like a Girl Derby

Contributed by Julie Reda

My name is Julie and I have been a Girl Scout since I was in Kindergarten. When I first started Girl Scouts I never Older girl speaking to a group of younger girls seated on the floorsaw myself doing a Gold Award, which is the highest award you can receive in Girl Scouting. I first did my Bronze Award in the fourth grade, my troop and I collected animal food and donated it to a local animal shelter. We raised money to buy the food by making our own sandwiches and selling them. Later in eighth grade my best friend and I did our Silver Award together. Our program was about swim safety and how to be safe around the pool. We created a presentation and a made a video of different ways to save a distressed swimmer in the pool. This presentation was given to different Girl Scout troops and at our Girl Scout day camp we have every summer.  We also did a presentation at our elementary school for the kindergartners. As I was entering my sophomore year of high school I realized that this would be the prime time to do my Gold Award. I was not too busy applying for colleges or working a job yet. It took me awhile to come up with an idea that I was interested in but I eventually realized that I would like to hold a car derby for girls. I thought it was important for girls to know that there are not things just for boys that girls can do what boys do.

In order to start your Gold Award you first have to fill out all the paperwork. The paperwork is the hardest part of the process. You have to write down everything that you are going to do with your project, and how your project is educational. You also have to figure out a way that your project is long lasting and has an effect on the girls. After you fill out all the paperwork and submit it all it takes about six weeks for them to review it and decide if it is a good project or not. Six weeks later I received an email congratulating me on the approval of my Gold Award project.

About the time that I had received the okay to start my project I heard about the Mercedes Benz Girls Have No Limits program. At first I just saw the video and was planning on just showing that to the girls as part of my presentation, but then I saw that you could apply to get matchbox cars. When I filled out the form to get cars and a grant I did not think I would get anything. I was very excited to hear that I had been granted 120 cars and 200 dollars. Because of this money the girls’ entrance to the Derby is much cheaper, this is allowing more girls to enter who maybe could not have afforded to come if the cars had not been bought for them. With the cars that I received, each girl was given one at the presentation they attended. The girls took recycled materials such as cereal and tissue boxes, and built race tracks to race their own matchbox car.

Every girl that I worked with was so excited that they would be getting a car that looked like a famous race car driver Group of girls sitting on the floor with cereal boxes near themthat was a woman. All of their faces lit up when I pulled out the car. They were even more impressed with the video that Mercedes Benz created. As they watched the beginning of the video they looked at me and said “we can play with cars too”, “they’re wrong cars are not just for boys.” My favorite part was watching them be so excited when they saw that the winner was a woman. Another highlight of doing my presentation was the girls becoming so excited when they learned that they would have the chance to build their own car and get to race against their fellow Girl Scout friends.

The Race Like a Girl Derby will be held on June 6th, 2020. Each girl that signed up will receive a derby car kit, instructions, and requirements at the beginning of April. For the girls that have no one to cut out their car, I am holding a “Cut Out the Car” workshop day. Here the girls can come and we will help them draw a design onto the car, cut out the car, and sand the car. The day of the race the girls will come in and have their car weighed to make sure it is not too heavy and not too light. As they are waiting for the derby to start there will be stations for the girls to go around and do. We will have a coloring station, a learn about tools station, and we will also have a concession stand where they can purchase food. I hope that my project has an everlasting effect on these girls and I would like to thank National Girls Collaborative Project, Mercedes Benz, and Mattel for making my project possible. 


Julie Reda is a Girl Scout in the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania council. She is working to earn her Gold Award.


NGCP's partnership with Mercedes-Benz USA is tackling the issue of gender stereotypes and showing young girls they can aspire to be and do anything they desire. #GirlsHaveNoLimits. Via NGCP mini-grants, thousands of girls have been gifted a die-cast Matchbox replica of the Mercedes-Benz 220SE commemorating Ewy Rosqvist's historic 1962 Argentinian Grand Prix performance. Learn more about this initiative.