Girl Scouts learn skills through sale of sweet treats

Sue Guinn Legg • Jan 19, 2014 at 2:42 PM

The girls of the local Southern Appalachian Council of Girl Scouts have launched their annual cookie sale and are once again out spreading sweetness as they learn to do business.

While the taste and quality of Girl Scout cookies is widely acclaimed, lesser known is what good the cookies do for girls.

Council CEO Booth Kammann said while Girl Scout cookies are a special treat people look forward to each year, there’s more to the cookies than that.

“Every box of cookies a girl sells is an investment in her future, and that’s the real takeaway from the sale,” Kammann said. “The girls are learning critical skills that they will take with them as they endeavor into life.”

While the money Scouts earn is used for educational activities, trips and service projects in their own communities, the girls’ interaction with their buyers rewards them with a hands-on education in goal setting, decision making, money management, business ethics and the art of communicating with people.

For the first time this year, a new mission has also been added to the sale. Dubbed “Operation: Appreciation,” it’s an opportunity for people who want to help the Scouts but prefer not to indulge in cookies to pay a kindness to U.S. armed forces.

In the Appalachian Council, which covers East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Northern Georgia, the Girl Scouts’ goal is to sell 20,000 boxes of cookies for direct donation to members of the U.S. military in appreciation for their service.

Charlotte Gates, with the Girl Scouts’ Johnson City Service Center store, said some troops will be introducing the opportunity to treat the troops to a box of cookies as they gather their orders now through Feb. 10. Others will be putting out collection jars for “Operation: Appreciation” at their shopping center booth sales to be held Feb. 28-March 23.

Either way, Gates said, “We let the customer dictate what they would like to do”: donate now, donate when Scouts deliver their cookies or drop a donation in an “Operation: Appreciation” collection jar.

Also new this year in the Southern Appalachian Council area, the cost of cookies has finally gone up. Gates said the council held its price at $3.50 a box as long as possible before adopting the increase to $4 implemented by surrounding councils several years ago.

“It was the rise in the cost of making cookies,” she said. “What the girls earn is money for their troops, trips and programs. But it is a business and you still have to pay the baker.”

This year’s cookie order forms include eight varieties of the Girls Scouts’ all-time best sellers, including Do-Si-Dos, the Scouts’ classic crunchy peanut butter sandwich; Samoas, the caramel, coconut and dark chocolate covered wonder also known as Caramel deLites; Trefoils, the shortbread sweetie fashioned in the shape of the Girl Scout emblem; Tagalongs, the chocolate-covered peanut butter patty; and Thin Mints, the crunchy chocolate mint-covered wafer few can resist.

Rounding out the year’s selection in the local council area are the Scouts’ own Dulce de Leche milk caramel chip cookies; Savannah Smiles, tangy sweet lemon cookies coated in confectioners’ sugar; and Thank U Berry Munch cranberry and white fudge-chip cookies.

For information about the cookies, the sale and the Southern Appalachian Council, visit www.girlscoutcsa.org or call the council office at 800-474-1912.

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