Snapchat lenses: It seems like we use them every day. From the classic dog face lens to the more intricate face-swapping lens, there is a world of opportunities awaiting a snapchat user the second they open the app. 

While many of these lenses can be used for fun – or for scaring grandparents – who said these filters can’t be made to create awareness? In the past year, Snapchat has allowed everyday users to create lenses for individual events, such as parties, meetings, or conferences. With inspiration from her daughter and a design mastermind, two of Big’s own created a Snapchat lens to bring awareness to an issue many may not know about: Now that the Boy Scouts are the Scouts of America, should girls continue to do Girl Scouts?

Onna Cunningham, Director of Business Operations, believes they should. Cunningham is a board member with Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama (GSNCA), the Girl Scouts council that spans from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa and all the way up to Huntsville. Because her daughter joined Girl Scouts, Cunningham decided to become more involved. Her time with the board began with a board member retreat, where the members asked her to be the head of the new marketing committee they were creating. Shocked and excited, she obliged. 

Since the marketing committee was born, Cunningham has worked on creating and maintaining Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat accounts for the GSNCA and social media plans for each. 

This past year, she was invited as a delegate to the Girl Scouts National Convention in Columbus, Ohio. There, she learned all about what other troops do with their scouts and got some social media inspiration as well. The Girl Scouts of the USA has a Snapchat, and they had girls take over the account to document their time at the convention. Little did she know, this Snapchat takeover would inspire her later down the line.

Time passed and a national issue came about: The Boy Scouts of America changed their name to Scouts of America, and allowed girls to join troops. Cunningham believes this name and rule change is still confusing to many people. While many believe that girls can freely join a troop, it is actually the decision of the existing troop to allow girls to enter, and most of the girls that are joining Scouts of America are creating girl-only troops. 

“Children, whether boys or girls, benefit from having single gender environments for them to grow and to learn,” Cunningham says. “It doesn’t mean only girls schools and only girls things, but it does mean when it comes to stepping out of their comfort zones.” Wanting to spread awareness, Cunningham thought of an out-of-the-box way to bring attention back to the Girl Scouts. Teaming up with our digital developer, Dan Gavin, the two created Girl Scout masterpieces of their own. 

Cunningham and Gavin thought of two ways to engage with people: interactive Snapchat lenses and a hopeful partnership with Bitmoji. After pitching the idea to the CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, Cunningham received an email with full support of the idea. They would end up creating two Snapchat lenses to test on May 15, Girl Scout Spirit Day.

Using Lens Studio, a program created by Snapchat where users can create their own lenses, Gavin designed two lenses for the Girl Scouts to use. The first uses facial recognition to place sunglasses with Trefoil (the symbol of the Girl Scouts) lenses on the person’s face. When the user flips the camera, Girl Scout cookies float around them with the logo and hashtag.

“It really puts a play on what the world outside really loves about the girl scouts, the cookies and stuff like that,” Gavin says, “The other side is them getting to represent themselves on the National Spirit Day.”

The second Snapchat lens was created with the face paint technique on Lens Studio. This lens put the illusion of face painted trefoils on the user’s cheeks with a green glow behind them and a hashtag. The lenses were used on National Girl Scout Spirit Day by users in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Huntsville and had over 3,000 views.

While these filters only scratched the surface of their usefulness, Cunningham and Gavin have big plans for them. They hope to be able to use them in future Girl Scout rallies this coming fall. Using both geofilter locations in large metropolitan areas and lenses, their work will add to the movement to keep girls in Girl Scouts, and even motivate more girls to join.

Cunningham and Gavin are also working on a partnership with Bitmoji. They are hoping to have uniforms of all kinds for people to dress their Bitmoji avatar in. From 20’s Girl Scout to 60’s Girl Scout, they hope to have it all.

Being a parent and board member for three years, Cunningham has witnessed the transformative power of the Girl Scouts organization.

“They really are true to their word when they say that the organization is meant to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place,” Cunningham says.

All in all, Cunningham and Gavin will continue to be hard at work in the coming weeks to ensure that their designs are in tip-top shape for this coming fall. After all, the Girl Scout organization is about promoting leadership qualities, speaking up, standing out, and having something to stand for – and we think they are doing a great job of just that.

“It was super fun to do something outside of the box,” Cunningham says. “I deal with numbers and people all day and this was not either one of those things.”

Want to Talk?

Niki Lim Roden

Director of Business Development