11 People You Didn't Know Were Girl Scouts

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

If you participated in your local Girl Scout chapter when you were younger, you're in good company. Sixty-four percent of women in civic, corporate, and political leadership roles in the U.S. are alumnae of the American institution. In honor of Girl Scouts Day on March 12, here are some famous women that got their start as Girl Scouts.

1. Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning in Girl Scout uniform.
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Between starring in blockbuster films and going to school, Dakota Fanning found time to join the Girl Scouts. She joined into the organization in 2005 at age 11—prior to donning her Junior uniform, she had already been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role in I Am Sam (2001), making her the youngest-ever SAG nominee.

2. Michelle Obama

Barack and Michelle Obama camping with Girl Scouts.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former First Lady Michelle Obama first joined the Girl Scouts when growing up Chicago. Years later, she served as the organization's Honorary National President, a position held by every First Lady since Lou Henry Hoover. Michelle also hosted the first-ever Girl Scout campout on the White House's south lawn during the Obama presidency.

3. Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In addition to being a Hollywood legend, Debbie Reynolds was also a legend among Girl Scouts. She earned 42 badges over her scouting career and said that she wanted to live to become the world's oldest Girl Scout. Her scouting experience came in handy when she used the time-step dance moves she learned at Girl Scout camp in Singin' in the Rain (1952). When she was older, she served as the leader of her daughter Carrie Fisher's Girl Scout troop.

4. Venus Williams

Venus Williams.
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Before she was a world-famous tennis star, Venus Williams was a member of her local Girl Scout troop in Compton, California. She's still partial to Thin Mints as an adult.

5. Lucille Ball

Portrait of Lucille Ball.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The I Love Lucy star and producer grew up reciting the Girl Scout pledge with her troop near Celoron, New York.

6. Sally Ride

Sally Ride in space.
National Archives at College Park

Sally Ride's involvement with the Girl Scouts didn't end with childhood. After retiring from NASA in 1987, America's first woman in space co-founded Camp CEO, where successful adult women mentor high school-aged Girl Scouts.

7. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift posing for photos.
Rich Fury/Getty Images

Taylor Swift's childhood in Pennsylvania included being a Girl Scout. The pop star must have a soft spot for organization: In 2018, she gifted local Girl Scout troops in New Jersey and Connecticut free tickets to her tour.

8. Lisa Ling

Lisa Ling talking on stage.
Presley Ann/Getty Images for EMILY'S List

Being a Girl Scout prepared Lisa Ling for life as a journalist. "Girl Scouts had a tremendous impact on helping me to build self confidence," Ling said ahead of addressing a Girl Scout troop in Oklahoma in 2012. "It is a terrific organization for girls, and one that promotes the right things."

9. Hillary Clinton

Hilary Clinton waving.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton is another former First Lady who learned leadership and teamwork skills in the Girl Scouts. The girl who would grow up to become first female presidential nominee of a major party joined the organization while living in suburban Illinois.

10. Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart.
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Martha Stewart probably wasn't baking too many chiffon cakes as a Girl Scout, but her time with her Nutley, New Jersey, troop taught her other valuable lessons, like a "love of the outdoors, camaraderie and friendship," she told ABC News. She gave back to the organization later in life when she invited a New Jersey troop onto her show for the Girl Scouts' 100-year anniversary.

11. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Currently the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle was an all-American Girl Scout when she was younger. The Girl Scouts declared her to be first Girl Scout Princess following her royal wedding to Prince Harry in 2018.

25 Amazing Facts About the Human Body

iStock.com/kali9
iStock.com/kali9

The human body is an amazing piece of machinery—with a few weird quirks.

  1. It’s possible to brush your teeth too aggressively. Doing so can wear down enamel and make teeth sensitive to hot and cold foods.

  2. Goose bumps evolved to make our ancestors’ hair stand up, making them appear more threatening to predators.

Woman's legs with goosebumps
iStock.com/MyetEck
  1. Wisdom teeth serve no purpose. They’re left over from hundreds of thousands of years ago. As early humans’ brains grew bigger, it reduced space in the mouth, crowding out this third set of molars.

  2. Scientists aren't exactly sure why we yawn, but it may help regulate body temperature.

  3. Your fingernails don’t actually grow after you’re dead.

  4. If they were laid end to end, all of the blood vessels in the human body would encircle the Earth four times.

  5. Humans are the only animals with chins.

    An older woman's chin
    iStock.com/mhelm3011
    1. As you breathe, most of the air is going in and out of one nostril. Every few hours, the workload shifts to the other nostril.

    2. Blood makes up about 8 percent of your total body weight.

    3. The human nose can detect about 1 trillion smells.

    4. You have two kidneys, but only one is necessary to live.

    5. Belly buttons grow special hairs to catch lint.

      A woman putting her hands in a heart shape around her belly button
      iStock.com/PeopleImages
      1. The satisfying sound of cracking your knuckles comes from gas bubbles bursting in your joints.

      2. Skin is the body’s largest organ and can comprise 15 percent of a person’s total weight.

      3. Thumbs have their own pulse.

      4. Your tongue is made up of eight interwoven muscles, similar in structure to an elephant’s trunk or an octopus’s tentacle.

      5. On a genetic level, all human beings are more than 99 percent identical.

        Identical twin baby boys in striped shirts
        iStock.com/BorupFoto
        1. The foot is one of the most ticklish parts of the body.

        2. Extraocular muscles in the eye are the body’s fastest muscles. They allow both of your eyes to flick in the same direction in a single 50-millisecond movement.

        3. A surgical procedure called a selective amygdalohippocampectomy removes half of the brain’s amygdala—and with it, the patient’s sense of fear.

        4. The pineal gland, which secretes the hormone melatonin, got its name from its shape, which resembles a pine nut.

        5. Hair grows fast—about 6 inches per year. The only thing in the body that grows faster is bone marrow.

          An African-American woman drying her hair with a towel and laughing
          iStock.com/GlobalStock
          1. No one really knows what fingerprints are for, but they might help wick water away from our hands, prevent blisters, or improve touch.

          2. The heart beats more than 3 billion times in the average human lifespan.

          3. Blushing is caused by a rush of adrenaline.

8 Facts About Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein was a multi-talented children’s author, comic artist, poet, playwright, and songwriter, and above all else, a rule-breaker. From The Giving Tree to Where the Sidewalk Ends, his titles are beloved by children and adults alike. At the time they were written, though, they defied common notions about what a "children’s" story could and should be. This isn’t all that surprising, considering that the Chicago-born author, who passed away in 1999, led a pretty unconventional life. Here are eight things you might not know about him.

1. One of Shel Silverstein's first jobs was selling hot dogs in Chicago.

Shel Silverstein didn’t always want to be a writer, or even a cartoonist or songwriter. His first love was baseball. "When I was a kid—12, 14, around there—I would much rather have been a good baseball player or a hit with the girls," he once said in an interview. "But I couldn’t play ball, I couldn’t dance. Luckily, the girls didn’t want me; not much I could do about that. So I started to draw and to write.” The closest he came to his MLB dream was when he landed a stint at Chicago’s Comiskey Park, selling hot dogs to White Sox fans.

2. Silverstein never finished college.

Silverstein was expelled from one school (the University of Illinois) and dropped out of another (the School of the Art Institute of Chicago). Finally, he managed to get through three years of the English program at Chicago's Roosevelt University, but his studies came to an abrupt end when he was drafted in 1953.

3. Silverstein was a Korean War veteran.

In the 1950s, Silverstein was drafted into the U.S. armed service. While he was stationed in Korea and Japan, he also worked as a cartoonist for the military publication Stars and Stripes. It was his first big cartooning gig. "For a guy of my age and with my limited experience to suddenly have to turn out cartoons on a day-to-day deadline deadline, the job was enormous,'' Silverstein told Stars and Stripes in a 1969 interview.

4. Silverstein worked for Playboy magazine and was Part of Hugh Hefner's inner circle.

That’s right: the lovable children’s author was on Playboy’s payroll for many years. He started drawing comics for the men’s magazine in the 1950s and ended up becoming close friends with Hugh Hefner. In fact, he often spent weeks or even months at the Playboy Mansion, where he wrote some of his books. His cartoons for the magazine proved so popular that Playboy sent him around the world to find the humor in places like London, Paris, North Africa, and Moscow during the Cold War. Perhaps his most off-color assignment, though, was visiting a nudist camp in New Jersey. These drawings were compiled in the 2007 book Playboy's Silverstein Around the World, which includes a foreword from Hefner.

5. Silverstein wrote Johnny Cash's hit song "A Boy Named Sue."

Few people know that Silverstein was a songwriter, too. One of his biggest hits was the comical tale of a boy who learned how to defend himself after being relentlessly bullied for his feminine-sounding name, Sue. The song was popularized by Johnny Cash and ended up being his top-selling single, while Silverstein was awarded a Grammy for Best Country Song. You can watch Silverstein strumming the guitar and shouting the lyrics alongside Cash on The Johnny Cash Show in the video above. Silverstein also wrote a follow-up song from the dad’s point of view, The Father of a Boy Named Sue, but it didn't take off the way the original did.

6. Silverstein is in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Three years after his death, Silverstein was inducted posthumously into this exclusive society of songwriters. He wrote more than 800 songs throughout his career, some of which were quite raunchy. But his best-known songs were performed by country legends like Loretta Lynn and Waylon Jennings. “His compositions were instantly identifiable, filled with elevated wordplay and captivating, humor-filled narratives,” the Nashville Songwriters Foundation said of Silverstein's music.

7. Silverstein wrote the first children’s book to appear on The New York Times best sellerS list.

A Light in the Attic (1981) was the first children’s book to ever make it onto the prestigious New York Times Best Sellers list. It remained there for a whopping 182 weeks, breaking all of the previous records for hardcover books at that time.

8. Silverstein wasn't a fan of happy endings.

If you couldn’t already tell by The Giving Tree’s sad conclusion, Silverstein didn’t believe in giving his stories happy endings. He felt that doing so would alienate his young readers. "The child asks why I don't have this happiness thing you're telling me about, and comes to think when his joy stops that he has failed, that it won't come back,” the author said in a 1978 interview. This turned out to be a risky move, and The Giving Tree was rejected several times for being too sad or too unconventional. Fortunately, after four years of searching for a publisher, it found a home at HarperCollins (then Harper & Row) and has gone on to become one of the best-selling—and most beloved—children's books of all time.

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