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They're each famous for different reasons. But as kids, these women wore the same uniform.

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Girl Scouts

When was the last time a Girl Scout inspired you to follow your dreams?

If your answer involves dreaming of Girl Scout cookies, then I don't blame you — getting your hands on those Thin Mints can be a real motivator.

But what you may not realize is that Girl Scouts have influenced the world in much bigger ways that don't involve their awesome cookies. In fact, some Girl Scouts have changed the course of history.


We're talking astronauts, political leaders, activists, and more. Girl Scouts of the USA reports that an incredible 64% of today's American women leaders were once Girl Scouts.

Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

This organization helps girls understand what they're capable of by giving them badges for accomplishments in areas such as entrepreneurship, citizenship, and STEM. The girls practice an incredible range of skills, from running a business to creating art to tackling cybersecurity.

And if their roster of prominent former scouts is any indication, every Girl Scout is capable of greatness. Here's a look at seven of them.

1. Lucille Ball created her own space in an industry that hadn't yet made space for her.

When a Girl Scout named Elizabeth dressed up as Lucille Ball in 2017, she wasn't just wearing a costume.Ball was a former Girl Scout, and Elizabeth was portraying her spirit and determination in a Girl Scout photo shoot celebrating Women's History Month.

Lucille Ball cracked people up with her wacky physical comedy, her expressive face, and her "I Love Lucy"character's knack for getting into hilariously troublesome situations. And while audiences laughed, Ball was making history.

She became one of the first female comic leads on television and often defied traditional gender stereotypes in her role. "I Love Lucy"was also a massive hit, ranking as the #1 show in the country for four of its six seasons.

Off-screen, Ball was also a trailblazer. She and Desi Arnaz co-owned the production studio Desilu Productions until she bought out his shares and ran it on her own. That made her the first woman to run a major television studio. And the hits that came later on her lot, like "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Star Trek," and "Mission: Impossible," show that she did a fantastic job.

2. Tammy Duckworth changed what it means to be a United States senator.

In this digital age, nearly all of our senators are on Twitter, and if you follow Tammy Duckworth's account, you might have seen messages like this one: "Thanks, @girlscouts, for teaching me leadership skills I use in the Senate everyday."

Duckworth still has her Girl Scout uniform and sash, which carries an impressive number of badges. The skills she learned to earn those badges no doubt helped her become the incredible trailblazer she is today.

In fact, Duckworth just can't stop making history. She served as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot in Iraq, where she lost her legs in a 2004 grenade attack. In 2012, she became the first woman with a disability elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first member of Congress born in Thailand.

[rebelmouse-image 19533990 dam="1" original_size="1024x1279" caption="Image via U.S. Senate Photographic Studio/Renee Bouchard/Wikimedia Commons." expand=1]Image via U.S. Senate Photographic Studio/Renee Bouchard/Wikimedia Commons.

And in 2016, she was elected to her current position, making her the second ever Asian-American woman senator.

Then Duckworth did something that the Founding Fathers probably never saw coming. In April 2018, she became the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office. At just 10 days old, baby Maile followed in her mom's footsteps by making history of her own as the first newborn to grace the Senate floor.

3. Katie Couric broke into the boys' club of nightly news anchors.

When the Girl Scouts reached their 100th anniversary in 2012, news anchor Katie Couric went all out to celebrate them. She wrote about the organization on her ABC blog, interviewed Girl Scouts on her show, and even donned a vintage Girl Scout uniform for the occasion.

"Girl Scouts taught me some of the basic and essential principles and values that I still hold dear today, like being truthful, helpful, and independent," she said in 2012.

Couric has demonstrated these values throughout her career as a journalist by bringing attention to important issues, including colon cancer and gun violence. She's also held top anchor positions at all of the three major television networks: ABC, NBC, and CBS.

Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

Breaking into the news industry's boys' club took some time, but she never gave up. She started at the ABC News bureau in 1979 and eventually became the host of the CBS Evening News in 2006, making her the first solo woman anchor among the "big three" weekday nightly news broadcasts, according to Reuters.

Now, as a Television Hall of Famer and a New York Timesbestselling author, Couric continues to use her platform to show girls that it's possible to overcome the obstacles they face.

4. Susan Collins has set the second longest consecutive voting streak in the Senate.

Growing up in Caribou, Maine, now-Sen. Susan Collins had some great role models: Both her parents served as the mayors of her hometown. Not only that, but she was also a Girl Scout with some amazing troop leaders who inspired her to always persevere toward her goals. "[Girl Scouts] helps to build strong women," Collins told a young scout who interviewed her in 2014.

In 1994, when Collins ran for governor, she became the first woman to become a nominee for a major party in Maine. Then, in 1996, Collins was elected to the Senate, and she has kept her seat ever since.

[rebelmouse-image 19533992 dam="1" original_size="600x624" caption="Image via U.S. Senate Photographic Studio/Wikimedia Commons." expand=1]Image via U.S. Senate Photographic Studio/Wikimedia Commons.

Collins is now the most senior Republican woman in the Senate. She has spent her time focusing on causes including Alzheimer's research, diabetes research, and support for small businesses. In fact, Collins has had a say in every single one of the more than 6,600 decisions that the Senate has voted on since 1996 because she has never missed a vote. In 2015, she even broke her ankle running in heels to make sure she cast a vote.

Collins is also proud to be one of 73% of women senators who were once Girl Scouts. "That to me just proves that Girl Scouts learn leadership ability, have confidence in themselves, and learn to work together as a team," she said.

5. Dolores Huerta gave us the rallying cry we need to make the world a better place.

When civil rights icon Dolores Huerta steps up to a microphone, you'd never guess that she was once a shy child. However, in a 2009 interview, Huerta credited Girl Scouts for helping her come out of her shell and learn to speak in public.

"In Girl Scouts, I learned how to be strong, to believe in myself, and to be open to new ideas," Huerta wrote to young girls.

Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

It's no wonder she ended up coining the rallying cry "Sí se puede" — Spanish for "Yes, we can." Her work as a community organizer began in the 1960s and became a blueprint for how many activists mobilize today.

Through her advocacy for women's rights, workers' rights, and immigrant rights, Huerta influenced labor laws that we still have today. She co-founded the United Farm Workers, a labor union for farmworkers in the United States, with Cesar Chavez.

Huerta is often hailed as an inspiration for activist movements and has received a number of major awards including the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was a Girl Scout from the ages of 8 to 18. At the age of 83, she was still continuing her community organizing work as president of the Dolores Huerta foundation.

6. Susan Wojcicki has carved out much-needed space for women and girls in tech.

Susan Wojcicki was only 11 years old when she started her first business: She went door to door selling homemade "spice ropes" made with braided yarn.

Since then, Wojcicki has proved herself as a go-getter in the world of business. For example, you may have heard of a "little" company known as Google — which started with co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in her garage in 1998. And as the company's first marketing manager, she became known as the most important person in advertising.

Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

Wojcicki eventually became the CEO of YouTube, the second most popular website in the world — just behind its parent company, Google.

She uses her influential position to help other women and girls get into tech by collaborating with the Girl Scouts of the USA, an organization she was once a proud member of herself. She mentors Girl Scouts who are working to earn their cybersecurity badges, and she also leads Google's Made with Code, an initiative to inspire girls to get involved with tech activities like coding and 3D printing.

7. Queen Latifah is leaving her mark on every corner of the entertainment world.

Name a major award for entertainers, and Queen Latifah probably has a win or a nomination for it.

She first made her mark on the entertainment world as a rapper, releasing her first hip-hop album in 1989 at the age of 19 and kicking off her success as an MC. This is especially remarkable considering how much men have dominated the hip-hop scene. And now, she's also known for her work on television and in movies, including the 1990s hit sitcom "Living Single," the 1996 film "Set It Off,"and more recently, the massively successful 2017 film "Girls Trip."

Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

Throughout her career, she has earned a Grammy Award, a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and an Academy Award nomination. But before she released that very first album, Queen Latifah was a Girl Scout and earning badges for her sash.

Today Latifah clearly appreciates Girl Scouts for helping start off on the right foot. She narrated this video to celebrate the Girl Scouts tradition of "Preparing girls for a lifetime of leadership."

These actresses, musicians, scientists, and politicians all have one thing in common.

Posted by Upworthy on Thursday, July 26, 2018

Perhaps the next time a woman in comedy makes you laugh or a piece of digital technology leaves you in awe, you'll think of the Girl Scouts.

Being a Girl Scout helped these women develop their leadership skills, confidence, and ambitious attitudes. In order to earn Girl Scout badges, they had to prove themselves capable of helping people. And they've certainly done so in their careers by inspiring countless other women to forge their own paths across a wide range of industries, including sports, science, philanthropy, and business.

What's more, they all uphold the Girl Scouts value of making the world a better place.

Keep their stories in mind the next time you see a Girl Scout — you might be looking at one of our future leaders.

Pop Culture

Airbnb host finds unexpected benefits from not charging guests a cleaning fee

Host Rachel Boice went for a more "honest" approach with her listings—and saw major perks because of it.

@rachelrboice/TikTok

Many frustrated Airbnb customers have complained that the separate cleaning fee is a nuisance.

Airbnb defines its notorious cleaning fee as a “one-time charge” set by the host that helps them arrange anything from carpet shampoo to replenishing supplies to hiring an outside cleaning service—all in the name of ensuring guests have a “clean and tidy space.”

But as many frustrated Airbnb customers will tell you, this feature is viewed as more of a nuisance than a convenience. According to NerdWallet, the general price for a cleaning fee is around $75, but can vary greatly between listings, with some units having cleaning fees that are higher than the nightly rate (all while sometimes still being asked to do certain chores before checking out). And often none of these fees show up in the total price until right before the booking confirmation, leaving many travelers feeling confused and taken advantage of.

However, some hosts are opting to build cleaning fees into the overall price of their listings, mimicking the strategy of traditional hotels.

Rachel Boice runs two Airbnb properties in Georgia with her husband Parker—one being this fancy glass plane tiny house (seen below) that promises a perfect glamping experience.

@rachelrboice Welcome to The Tiny Glass House 🤎 #airbnbfinds #exploregeorgia #travelbucketlist #tinyhouse #glampingnotcamping #atlantageorgia #fyp ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim

Like most Airbnb hosts, the Boice’s listing showed a nightly rate and separate cleaning fee. According to her interview with Insider, the original prices broke down to $89 nightly, and $40 for the cleaning fee.

But after noticing the negative response the separate fee got from potential customers, Rachel told Insider that she began charging a nightly rate that included the cleaning fee, totaling to $129 a night.

It’s a marketing strategy that more and more hosts are attempting in order to generate more bookings (people do love feeling like they’re getting a great deal) but Boice argued that the trend will also become more mainstream since the current Airbnb model “doesn’t feel honest.”

"We stay in Airbnbs a lot. I pretty much always pay a cleaning fee," Boice told Insider. "You're like: 'Why am I paying all of this money? This should just be built in for the cost.'"

Since combining costs, Rachel began noticing another unexpected perk beyond customer satisfaction: guests actually left her property cleaner than before they were charged a cleaning fee. Her hypothesis was that they assumed she would be handling the cleaning herself.

"I guess they're thinking, 'I'm not paying someone to clean this, so I'll leave it clean,'" she said.

This discovery echoes a similar anecdote given by another Airbnb host, who told NerdWallet guests who knew they were paying a cleaning fee would “sometimes leave the place looking like it’s been lived in and uncleaned for months.” So, it appears to be that being more transparent and lumping all fees into one overall price makes for a happier (and more considerate) customer.

These days, it’s hard to not be embittered by deceptive junk fees, which can seem to appear anywhere without warning—surprise overdraft charges, surcharges on credit cards, the never convenience “convenience charge” when purchasing event tickets. Junk fees are so rampant that certain measures are being taken to try to eliminate them outright in favor of more honest business approaches.

Speaking of a more honest approach—as of December 2022, AirBnb began updating its app and website so that guests can see a full price breakdown that shows a nightly rate, a cleaning fee, Airbnb service fee, discounts, and taxes before confirming their booking.

Guests can also activate a toggle function before searching for a destination, so that full prices will appear in search results—avoiding unwanted financial surprises.


This article originally appeared on 11.08.23

National Autistic Society/Youtube

"Diverted" educational video shared through the Too Much Information Campaign.

Everyone who lives with autism experiences it somewhat differently. You'll often hear physicians and advocates refer to the spectrum that exists for those who are autistic, pointing to a wide range of symptoms and skills.

But one thing many autistic people experience is sensory processing issues.


For autistic people, processing the world around them when it comes to sight, smell, or touch can be challenging, as their senses are often over- or under-sensitive. Certain situations — like meandering through a congested mall or enduring the nonstop blasting of police sirens — can quickly become unbearable.

This reality is brought to life in a new video by the U.K.'s National Autistic Society (NAS).

The eye-opening PSA takes viewers into the mind of a autistic woman as she thinks about struggling to stay composed in a crowded, noisy train.

It's worth a watch:

The PSA hit especially close to home for 22-year-old actress and star of the video Saskia Lupin, who is autistic herself. "Overall I feel confused," she said, of abrupt changes to her routine. "Like I can't do anything and all sense of rationality is lost."

She's not alone.

According to a study cited in NAS' press release, 75% of autistic people say unexpected changes make them feel socially isolated. What's more, 67% reported seeing or hearing negative reactions from the public when they try to calm themselves down in such situations — from eyerolls and stares to unwelcome, hurtful comments.

The new PSA aims to improve that last figure in particular.

It's part of the organization's Too Much Information campaign — an initiative to build empathy and understanding in allistic (i.e., not autistic) people for those on the spectrum.

Autism Awareness Day, campaign, World Autism Awareness Week

Campaign by National Autistic Society created to share the autistic experience to the world.

Photo from Pixabay

"It isn't that the public sets out to be judgmental towards autistic people," Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS, said in a statement in 2016. It's just that, often, the public doesn't "see" the autism.

"They see a 'strange' man pacing back and forth in a shopping center," Lever explained, "or a 'naughty' girl having a tantrum on a bus, and don't know how to respond."

Well, now we do.

Instead of staring, rolling your eyes, or thinking judgmental thoughts about the young person's parents, remember: You have no idea what that stranger on the train is going through.

“We can't make the trains run on time," said Lever. But even the simplest, smallest things — like remembering not to stare and giving a person some space and compassion if they need it — can make a big difference.


This article originally appeared on 03.28.18

Pop Culture

A brave fan asks Patrick Stewart a question he doesn't usually get and is given a beautiful answer

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through.

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through. However, how he answered this vulnerable and brave fan's question is one of the most eloquent, passionate responses about domestic violence I've ever seen.



WARNING: At 2:40, he's going to break your heart a little.

You can read more about Heather Skye's hug with Captain Picard at her blog.


This article originally appeared on 06.26.13.


How to clear a stuffy nose instantly.

With cold season upon us, there's no better time to learn a couple of awesome and easy tricks that will clear up the dreaded and annoying stuffy nose.

Prevention magazine created a short video showing two easy ways to get you breathing free again no matter how stuffed up you might be.


Both tricks take less than two minutes and are certainly worth trying out when it feels like that runny nose might never go away.


Watch the YouTube video below:

This article first appeared on 9.8.17.

Family

Heartwarming comics break down complex parenting issues with ease

Lunarbaboon comics tackle huge, important subjects with an effective, lighthearted touch that you can't help but smile at.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Writing comics helped a father struggling with anxiety and depression.

Christopher Grady, a father and teacher from Toronto, was struggling with anxiety and depression. That's when he started drawing.

He describes his early cartoons and illustrations as a journal where he'd chronicle everyday moments from his life as a husband, elementary school teacher, and father to two kids.

"I needed a positive place to focus all my thoughts and found that when I was making comics I felt a little bit better," he says.

He began putting a few of his comics online, not expecting much of a response. But he quickly learned that people were connecting with his work in a deep way.


The comics series called Lunarbaboon was born, and the response to the first few was so powerful that Grady was inspired do more with his comics than just document his own experience.

"I began getting messages from many people about how they connected to the comics and it gave them hope and strength as they went through their own dark times," he says.

"When they look back…they probably won't remember what was said…or where you were when you said it. They may not remember any details of your time together. But they will remember that you were there…and that's what matters most."

"Usually the circle of people we can support, help, influence is limited to our families, friends, coworkers, random stranger at the bus stop, but with my comic I suddenly found my circle of power was much much larger," Grady explains. "I guess I decided to use this power for good."

Grady continued to draw, making a point to infuse the panels with his own special brand of positivity.

"Kids are always watching adults and they look to the adults as role models," he says. "I try to show (my kids and students) that even with all my flaws and weaknesses I am still a good person and I can still make a positive change in the world."

Lunarbaboon comics tackle huge, important subjects with an effective, lighthearted touch that you can't help but smile at.

Check out Grady's take on teaching his son about consent. (All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission.)

consent, relationship advice, father son advice, family

A comic about listening and respecting your partner.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Here's one about parents being supportive of a gay son or daughter.

sexual orientation, parenting gay children, positive messages, gender orientation

Parents being supportive of their gay son.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

On raising girls in a patriarchal world.

adulting, education, medical field, dreams

Comic encourages girls to chase all their dreams.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

And here's a sweet one about appreciating the heck out of his wife.

motherhood, moms, childbirth, family

Mom one ups dad easily.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Big topics. Important issues. Grady tackles them with humility and ease.

As Lunarbaboon has continued to grow, Grady says the messages of support he gets have become increasingly powerful.

He certainly doesn't claim to have all the answers to all the complexities of parenting, but he does say that "people like knowing they aren't alone in life's daily struggles. Most people who contact me just want to say thank you for putting something positive into the world."

Grady doesn't expect his Lunarbaboon comics to fix rape culture or end bigotry. He just hopes his message of love, inclusion, and positivity continues to spread.

inclusion, gender roles, social anxiety, happy

Teaching children to accept what might be different.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

"My hope is that for the short time people read it they smile and feel good," he says. "Then I hope they take that good feeling and smile into the world and make it slightly brighter."

You can check out even more of Grady's awesome work over on his website or in his newly published book.


This article was originally published on 11.30.17