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Kids are AMAZING. They really are. They make us smile. They remind us that the world is a continuous wonder. They show us how to be authentic. They inspire us to love generously and forgive instantly. They don’t know how to hold grudges for over 5 minutes. They are terrible at keeping secrets. And they don’t have a punch line for jokes....

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Youth and personal struggles

Sir Edmund Hillary was born in Auckland, New Zealand on 20th July 1919. Being naturally curious and intelligent he finished primary school two years early. Although his parents were proud of him, to Edmund his scholarly achievements turned into one of his biggest problems. In high school he was smaller than his peers and very shy, which often made him the object of his classmate’s pranks. His grades went down. He did not have many friends to hang out with and, therefore, took refuge in his books and daydreams about life full of adventures.
Edmund slowly regained his confidence as he learned boxing. At the age of 16 during a school trip to Mount Ruapehu, he got interested in mountain climbing. And even  though he was gangly and uncoordinated, he had something many of his contemporaries lacked – physical strength, unbendable will and surprising mental endurance.

From beekeeper to professional mountain climber

In 1939, at the age of 20, Hillary 1939 completed his first major climb, reaching the summit of Mount Ollivier, in the Southern Alps. After graduating from The University of Auckland, where he studied mathematics and science he became a beekeeper with his brother Rex. This was not his dream job, but it allowed him to climb mountains in winter, while working during the summer time.

World War II

This existence did not last long as the World War II started. At first Hillary applied to join the air force, but some days later withdrew the application, because as he said later “I was harassed by religious conscience”. Although, in 1943, following conscription on the outbreak of war in the Pacific, Hillary joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force and trained to be a navigator. He spent his free time climbing whenever he had the opportunity.
In 1945 he was sent to Fiji and to the Solomon Islands where he was badly burnt in a boat accident, after which he was repatriated to New Zealand.
He spent the next few years climbing in the Southern Alps and in 1949 traveled to Europe to conquer the Austrian and Swiss Alps.

“Knocking off” Mount Everest

In 1951 Hillary joined a New Zealand expedition heading for the Himalayas, where he got the reputation as a skilled climber. Over time he climbed 11 different peaks of over 20,000 feet in the Himalayas – each bringing him a little closer to the dream of his life – Mount Everest – the highest mountain in the world.
The opportunity presented itself in 1953 when Hillary was invited to join an expedition to the top of Mount Everest and he accepted right away. In May, the expedition reached the South Peak. Here most of the climbers were forced to turn back by exhaustion due to the high altitude. The only two people who were able to make the final assault on the summit were Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a native Nepalese climber.
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Walter Elias Disney was born on the 5th of December, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois. He spent his childhood on a farm near Marceline, Missouri. Walt started drawing at very early age and when he turned 7 he was already selling his sketches to the neighbors. Although, Walt Disney’s father worked hard to support his wife and five children, the family still had to count every penny. Walt had to start working young, selling candies and newspapers on the train that traveled between Kansas City and Chicago, Illinois. He also took some art lessons at McKinley High School in Chicago.
In 1918 Disney dropped out of high school to serve in World War I. Rejected because he was only 16 years old at the time, he still joined the Red Cross and was sent to France, where he spent a year driving ambulances. When people saw Disney’s ambulance they always followed it with a smile, because instead of the stock camouflage it was covered with Disney cartoons.
One setback after another…
After returning to the US, Disney won a scholarship to the Kansas City Art Institute. There he met one of his best friends Ub Iwwerks. Together they started their own company Laugh-O-Grams, which eventually fell bankrupt. In August 1923 with his suitcase, a few drawing materials and a twenty dollar bill, Walt Disney headed to Hollywood to meet his brother Roy O. Disney and to start anew. Ub Iwerks joined them shortly after. Soon they received an order from New York for the first “Alice Comedies”, distributed by M.J. Winkler. Business took off and Walt could afford to hire more people to join his team. On July 13, 1925, Walt married one of his first employees, Lillian Bounds and later on they would be blessed with two daughters, Diane and Sharon.
By 1927 the “Alice Comedies” started to lose their popularity and the brothers began working on a new animated character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. This series was successful, but in 1928, Walt discovered that M.J. Winkler and her husband, Charles Mintz had not only stolen the rights to the character from him, but also all of his animators, except for Ub Iwerks. The rights to the Oswald trademark, was now owned by Universal.
Birth of Mickey Mouse.
Taking the train back home and trying to take his mind of the fact that the people he had trusted and worked together with for so long had betrayed him, Walt started doodling on a piece of paper. The result of these doodles was a mouse named Mickey.
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Choosing street life over stability

Guy Laliberté was born in Quebec City, Canada, on September 2nd, 1959. His father was a Public Relation Executive for Alcan Aluminum Corporation and his mother worked as a nurse. Since early childhood Guy was interested in performing and even took lessons in folk dancing. The regular middle-class future was not for him. He dreamed about travelling all around the world and living a free life as a street performer.

At the age of 14 Guy Laliberté left home, joined a folk music group called “La Grande Gueule”, and started to earn his living by playing the accordion and harmonica on the streets of Quebec.

He love performing and telling the stories. But he even more than telling stories he enjoyed listening to other performers’ talk about their life, places they had travelled to, their dreams and adventures. He longed to see the world. And at the age of 18 his dream finally came true and he bought a ticket to Europe.

The beginning of a great adventure…

He arrived in London with grand dreams, very little money in his pocket and no place to stay. That night Laliberté fell asleep on a bench in Hyde Park, covering himself with the only coat he had. Police officers could have easily mistaken him for a bum, but this did not worry Guy even a little bit. There was so much to see and so much to learn!

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Some consider him an icon of the self-made man. Some accuse him of being a liar and a traitor. His revolutionary innovative concept, called after him “Fordism”, helped to increase the economic prosperity of the United States in the 1940s to 1960s. He was also responsible for the creation of the Ford Foundation – one of the world’s richest philanthropic organizations.

During his life he was known as a man, who in spite of his wealth continued to care for the common man. But also as a person, who was responsible for publishing nearly a hundred anti-Semitic articles in his newspaper the Dearborn Independent.

There is no single opinion of Henry Ford. One thing however that can be confidently said about him is that he was a great man, who was not afraid to dream BIG and go after his dream…

Poor Student and Poor Farmer

Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863 on a farm near Dearborn. When Ford was 12 years old his mother died during childbirth, leaving him and his 5 siblings in the care of their father. Until the age of 15 Ford attended school, even though he strongly disliked it. He never learned to spell or read well and wrote only using the simplest sentences.

His lack of interest in his studies was compensated by his fascination for machinery and mechanical objects. He repaired his first watch at the age of 13 and soon neighbors and friends started to bring him their broken watches to fix.
Since his early childhood Ford knew that farm life was not for him and as soon as he got the chance he headed to Detroit to become an apprentice. In 1882, Henry finished his apprenticeship and was qualified to work as a machinist.

This did not appeal to his father at all. He offered Ford a bargain – forty acres of timberland in exchange for the promise that he gave up machinery. Ford accepted the proposal, and used the land to build a small house, sawmill and a first-class machinist’s workshop (to the great disappointment of his dad).

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Robert Baden-PowellWho Is Robert Baden-Powell?

Although the Boy Scouts are normally considered very American, the founder was British. Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell was an extraordinary person, whose whole life can be described as an incredible adventure. Baden-Powell was a British soldier, a spy, an actor, a naturalist, a very good watercolor artist, and even a female impersonator. During his life he wrote 32 books and received honorary degrees from Edinburgh, Toronto, Montreal, Oxford, Liverpool and Cambridge Universities.

Oh, yes, he also founded the largest-youth movement ever created.

Biography

Robert Baden-Powell was born in London on February 22, 1857. He was the eighth of ten children of the Reverend Baden-Powell, a Professor at Oxford University. His father died when Robert was only three years old and the family was left not very well off. Robert was given his first lessons by his mother, but later he gained a scholarship for admittance to Charterhouse School. After school he served in British army from 1876 -1910.

A Spy Or A Writer?

Baden-Powell’s military career was interesting and outstanding from the start. In 1876, he joined the 13th Hussars in India.

In the early 1880s Baden-Powell together with his regiment were posted to South Africa, where amidst Zulu tribesmen he strengthened and honed his scouting skills. His skills were mentioned in dispatches and he was soon transferred to the British secret service. His favorite disguise was that of a mad butterfly enthusiast. He dashed, net in hand, around military forts in Germany, French Tunisia, and Algeria. At the end of each “sporting” day, Baden-Powell drew pictures of what at first glance looked like captured pets. In reality they were accurate layouts of forts with the size and location of its’ guns skillfully hidden in the sketches.

During the Boer war (1899-1900) Baden-Powell became a national hero when, with a small garrison he commandeered the defense of Mafeking. After this episode he became a Major-General at the age of only 43! During the Boer war he wrote a small manual entitled “Aids to Scouting”. Initially meant for military purposes the book reached a far wider readership than it was intended. When after 3 years Baden-Powell returned to England to his surprise he found that his book was being used by youth leaders all over the country.

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