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Girls Scouts can earn new leadership badges — and they’re awesome and relevant.

Girls Scouts introduced 30 new badges to its lineup, giving girls a broad range of STEM and environmental goals to reach. According to the organization's website:

"The new programming will prepare girls to address some of society’s most pressing needs through hands-on learning in cybersecurity, environmental advocacy, mechanical engineering, robotics, computer science, and space exploration."

Girl Scouts is partnering with industry leaders, such as Raytheon, Palo Alto Networks, and NASA to help launch the new programs.


Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

That's good news for girls interested in science and technology — and great news for a society that needs more female representation in those fields.

Cybersecurity and mechanical engineering for kindergarteners? Yep.  

The new badges are split between two age groups: kindergarten to fifth grade, and sixth to 12th grade.

Badges for girls in kindergarten to fifth grade include cybersecurity and space science, introduced in age appropriate ways that encourage curiosity. Girl Scout Juniors — girls in fourth and fifth grade — can now earn badges in mechanical engineering for designing cranes, balloon-powered cars, and more as they learn about buoyancy, energy, machines, and jet propulsion.

For girls in grades sixth through 12th, badges can be earned in categories like robotics and environmental stewardship. Stewardship has been part of Girl Scouts since its founding in 1912, but the new environmental badge is designed to mobilize girls to be advocates who address problems, find solutions, and take leadership roles to protect the earth. Girls in 11th and 12th grade can earn badges in college knowledge as they prepare for the college admissions process, including navigating financial aid.

Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

Older girls also have new STEM "Journeys" they can explore.

In addition to badges, Girls Scouts added new "Journeys" to its programming for grades six-12. In a Girl Scout Journey, a girl teams up with friends to identify a problem in the community or world, brainstorm solutions, make a team plan, put it into action, and share what she's learned from the process and what she'll do next.

These "Journeys" include the "Think Like a Programmer" program, which gives girls a foundation in solving problems through computational thinking and can help prepare girls for careers in cybersecurity, computer science, and robotics, and the "Think Like an Engineer" journey lets girls engage in hands-on design projects, teaching them how engineers think through problems and create solutions.

Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

Encouraging girls in STEM fields and giving them real-world experience serves both individual girls and society at large.

Women have made big strides in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but they're still underrepresented in those fields. According to the National Science Foundation, women earn half of college degrees in the U.S., but only make up 29% of the science and engineering workforce. And that gap widens when you remove biological sciences from the equation.

For example, women make up:

  • 35.2% of chemists
  • 11.1% of physicists and astronomers
  • 33.8% of environmental engineers
  • 22.7% of chemical engineers
  • 17.5% of civil, architectural, and sanitary engineers
  • 17.1% of industrial engineers
  • 10.7% of electrical or computer hardware engineers
  • 7.9% of mechanical engineers

When fields are heavily dominated by one gender, stereotypes are reinforced, discrimination becomes easier, and we all lose out.

It's vital for girls who are interested in science and tech fields to have support and opportunity.

As Girls Scouts spokesperson Stewart Goodbody says, "Not only is it imperative that girls today are prepared to fill the STEM gap in the workforce, but we also know that girls’ passion for STEM increases when they see how it can help others and the world. Learning to use STEM to solve real-world problems is an unparalleled skill that will help Girl Scouts be the next generation of visionaries to solve countless environmental issues — as well as those in health, education, the economy, and more."

Goodbody points out that all Girl Scout programming is girl-led and designed around what girls have expressed interest in. This new programming will "push girls to be forward-thinking and equips them with skills that will help them become the innovative leaders of today and tomorrow."

Go, Girl Scouts, go.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

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