Girl Scouts will now earn badges in cybersecurity and it's totally awesome.

What's next for the Girl Scouts? Oh, you know, defeating hackers. No biggie.

Five fearless girls in New York City this March. Photo from Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

The 105-year-old, 1.8 million-scout-strong organization announced that, in addition to badges for public speaking, first aid, mechanics (and, yes, selling cookies), young scouts can now expect to earn laurels for cybersecurity as well.


The announcement is part of a team-up between the Girl Scouts and cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks. Led by an expert panel, the groups will be rolling out the first in a series of 18 different badges in September 2018.

"It is our hope that our collaboration will serve to cultivate our troops’ budding interest in cybersecurity," said Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo in a press release.

The Girl Scouts say the exact curriculum's still being decided, but the topics would build on each other and could touch on areas such as protecting privacy, combating cyberbullying, and more high-level skills like data manipulation.

Today's girls are growing up in a world where cyber smarts are just as important as street smarts.

Smartphones, smart watches, smart televisions — heck, we even have smart clothes!

"Activate jet pack... ACTIVATE JET PACK! God, these things." Photo from Michele Tantussi/Getty Images.

Combine that with social media and it's astounding how much information each of us is uploading every single day. Knowing how to keep your information safe is becoming a necessary life skill.

This is also about showing the girls how to take cybersecurity by the horns and make it work for them.

Women are seriously underrepresented in many STEM industries, including cybersecurity. One report found they made up just 11% of cybersecurity jobs. But we're going to need them. Forbes wrote that in 2016 there were over 200,000 unfilled cybersecurity roles in the United States, and there seems to be no end to the recent data leaks and security concerns.

One possible reason for this gender gap, and the gender gap in many STEM fields, might be the "broken pipeline" problem — a lack of mentors and female role models, combined with gender stereotypes, could discourage even very young girls from exploring STEM subjects.

"A woman's interest in STEM-related fields happens when she is a young girl, playing with games and toys, developing her creativity, and using her imagination," said Acevedo in an email.

By connecting with young girls and showing them that, yes, you can do this, the Girl Scouts might be able to help patch the pipeline.

Girl Scouts have already run accessible summer camps, created vaccination kits, and written legislation to stop child marriage (which, by God, if that scout didn't get a badge for that, she should have). It's cool to see them out to fix the internet as well.

Photo courtesy of Capital One
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Growing up in Virginia, Dominique Meeks Gombe idolized her family physician — a young Black woman who inspired Meeks Gombe to pursue her passion for chemistry.

While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."

Since 2019, she and her fellow Capital One associates have partnered with the Capital One Coders program and Girls For A Change to teach coding fundamentals to middle school girls.

The nonprofit's mission is aimed at empowering Black girls in Central Virginia. The organization focuses on designing, leading, funding and implementing social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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