While many look forward to this time of year to purchase their tasty Girl Scout cookies, for the girls making the sales, a box of cookies is so much more.
“When they stop by to buy cookies, they are helping girls learn so much,” said Suman Marks-Johnson, North Augusta service unit 675 cookie manager.
The activity helps members develop five main skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.
“They’re helping girls practice those skills in real life from a very young age, as young as 5,” said Marks-Johnson.
In preparation for the annual cookie sales, girls throughout the Girl Scouts of South Carolina–Mountains to Midlands Council participate in cookie rallies, said Susan Schneider, the council’s director of public relations and advocacy.
The 22-county council includes Aiken and Edgefield counties.
During the rallies, the girls go to different stations to learn more about the five skills and how it relates to the cookie sales.
Locally, within troops, cookie training is held for both parents and participating Girl Scouts. They learn about the cookies’ descriptions and names, including what they are called in Georgia, the price, how to take inventory, and about customer service.
“These girls, before they get their first job, they’ve already figured out how to be on time, how to be prepared, to come in with enough product to sell, they know customer service – they already have all of those skills,” said Marks-Johnson.
Girl Scout member Megan Trent said that she looks forward to participating in the cookie sales.
“I think it gives me a lot of leadership skills,” said the 10-year-old. “It gives you a chance to interact with customers.”
Fellow Girl Scout Taryn Marks agreed.
“It helps you prepare for what you’re going to do when you get older and teaches you how to be leader,” said the 13-year-old.
The skills they develop can also help them earn badges in financial literacy and cookie business.
Girl Scouts are also using technology in cookie sales this year, said Schneider.
A COCOmobile app has been made available for Apple mobile devices.
“The girls can set their goals, track their goal progress, take customer orders and text or e-mail customers,” said Schneider.
It’s very useful for a council that sold 1.8 million boxes of cookies last year.
The council average per participating girl is 220 boxes compared to the national average of 157 boxes per participating girl, she said.
Proceeds from the cookie sales go back to Girl Scout activities such as a community service project, camp fees or travel trips, said Schneider, adding that the girls decide how they want to spend the proceeds and that none of the money goes to nationals.
Local troops have used the proceeds for various activities, including visiting Girl Scouts’ founder Juliette Gordon Low’s birthplace in Savannah, Ga., camping and dances.