Girl Scout Cookies

1917

FIRST SALE

Girl Scouts sold their first Girl Scout Cookies

1936

NATIONWIDE SALES

Troops around the nation began selling Girl Scout cookies to raise money

1975

SAMOAS

Girl Scouts introduced Samoa cookies

2007

NO TRANS FAT

Girl Scout cookies were reformulated to be made with zero trans fat

2014

ORDER ONLINE

Online orders for Girl Scout cookies began

2015

COOKIE SALES

The Girl Scouts raised $776 million in cookie sales by the end of the year

What’s YOUR Favorite Girl Scout Cookie?*

 

Girl Scouts and Cookies

This former Girl Scout** can report that as of this writing, there are 1.9 million Girl Scouts and 800,000 adults working as volunteers. Girl Scout cookie sales are their major fundraising activity; they have been selling them since 1917. Since December 14, 2014, online sales of the cookies have been allowed. The amount raised in 2015 $776 million – that’s 194 million boxes of cookies. Sales have been declining, but for this centennial, the Girl Scouts have added two new flavors that may help boost consumption: S’mores and Toffee-tastic.

 

Where does the Money Go?

As organizations come under increased scrutiny, you might ask where the cookie sales proceeds go. The Girl Scout website reports that 100% of the money stays local to help community Scouting. The sales’ mission is to promote five skills: 1) Goal Setting; 2) Decision Making; 3) Money Management; 4) People Skills; and 5) Business Ethics.

 

Actual Cookie Experiences from a Former Girl Scout, Now Leader

As Girl Scout cookies celebrates its 100th anniversary, I reflected on my experiences selling cookies. Selling Girl Scout cookies is often a girl’s first experience as a small business entrepreneur. When I sold cookies many moons ago, it was a chance to go door-to-door, give them my sales pitch, and cross fingers that I’d sell a few boxes. That was a big challenge for a painfully shy child. I did sell some boxes, enough to have a few cases in my house when the time came to deliver them.

As a troop leader, I witnessed more ambitious entrepreneurs, particularly as their efforts grew from 12 boxes sold to Grandma as a Brownie, to 500 boxes sold in 5th grade with the help of satellite sales offices (aunts’ and uncles’ offices) complete with sales incentives (they got to pick from the prizes that my daughter earned). The logistics of selling and distributing 500 boxes was substantial, and quite the learning experience. Booth sales present different challenges.

Over the 12 years that I watched my girls grow, their sales approaches also changed over time. As Brownies bouncing about and calling for sales, people would stop and buy cookies, lured by their cute energy. At about 4th grade, the girls started noticing that they no longer had the cuteness factor going for them and they had to work harder to encourage customers to buy cookies by making eye contact and pitching a sale in the brief minute they had as someone walks by.

They learned to assert themselves in a professional manner, and developed creative approaches as well. One year they memorized a number of jokes, and told passerby that they would get a free joke if they purchased a box. Who knows if it increased sales, but it did increase smiles. Buying Girl Scout cookies does make a difference. You give girls the opportunity to experience business sales, develop skills, manage money, and have ownership of troop funds that go toward their activities during the year. So the next time a Girl Scout asks if you want to buy a box of Girl Scout cookies, say yes! Every box counts.

 

Did You Know?

  • The very first troop to sell cookies was the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee OK in 1917. There is a bronze statue commemorating the event at the Three Rivers Museum in Muskogee.
  • Due to shortages of butter, flour, and sugar during WWII, Girl Scouts sold calendars.

 

* 2016 top five flavors: 1) Thin Mints; 2) Samoas; 3) Tagalongs; 4) Do-si-dos; and 5) Trefoils

** I was officially a Brownie, a Junior, and a Cadet; I was a Senior drop-out; and for the record never sold Girl Scout cookies.

 

LINKS:

Learn the history of the Girl Scouts

View Girl Scout fashion through the years


Have a centennial suggestion? Let us know!

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WRITTEN BY: MOUTH WATERING MEDIA