Good news for fans of Thin Mints, Trefoils, and Caramel deLites: Cookie season is officially here. Eden Prairie Girl Scouts are hoping the community will help support them in their sales efforts over the next six weeks.
Although selling cookies is the main goal, Girl Scouts benefit in many ways from actively engaging with the community, said Jody Ward-Rannow, a service unit manager for Eden Prairie Girl Scouts whose two daughters are in local troops.
“We’re trying to teach girls leadership skills and to be confident,” she said. “We need our community to help us do that, so please engage with us if you see us and give the girls opportunities to practice those skills.”
Cookie sales are a chance to practice making eye contact, initiating conversations, and pitching a sale. “Regardless of whether you buy cookies, that opportunity to have an interaction is a blessing, and we are grateful for each one,” she said.
Hearing “no” also helps the girls learn resilience, Ward-Rannow said: “Someone didn’t want cookies today? That has nothing to do with you. Shake it off, and ask the next person.”
Ward-Rannow’s daughter Emily Rannow, 12, agreed. “Girl Scouts helps you build social skills,” Emily said. “It teaches you how to handle rejection.”
Cookie sales also teach girls how to set goals, create business plans, and manage their time as they decide how many cookies they will try to sell. “There are so many business skills that go into planning how you’re going to reach those goals,” Ward-Rannow said.
By selling cookies, girls also have the potential to earn prizes and half-off coupons for Girl Scout summer camps. “For some families that’s a huge deal,” Ward-Rannow said. “They might not be able to send their kid to an overnight summer camp but they get this coupon and they can.”
The girls also have the opportunity to experience philanthropy by donating cookies. Charlotte Wieser, 12, said, “Our troop has been very committed to giving back. We have given many boxes of cookies to PROP, Ronald McDonald House, and all of the teachers at school.”
Troop leaders and Scouts see personal growth
Amy Kornis is the service unit cookie manager for Eden Prairie’s 30-plus Girl Scout troops, as well as leader and cookie manager for her daughter’s second grade and fourth grade troops. She said she has seen tremendous progression as the girls advance through the program.
“I have girls who, when they first started selling cookies as kindergartners and first graders, were only comfortable with helping their cookie booth partner get the bag for the customer,” she said. “They wouldn’t talk to the customer, wouldn’t approach people, and weren’t comfortable handling money or doing the math.
“Now, as second and fourth graders, I’m seeing those same girls politely approaching adults, asking if they would be interested in cookies, taking a sale from greeting a customer all the way to thanking them for their purchase or just their acknowledgement, even if they choose not to support.”
Avery Lair, 12, who is in her sixth year of being a Girl Scout, said she sees these positive changes in herself. “I’ve learned to speak up when talking to strangers,” she said. “I’ve also learned not to get sad when things aren’t going well.”
Dana Lair, her mom, added that one time when Avery’s door-to-door cookies sales efforts were not working, “She started to get upset and wanted to give up. We took a deep breath, and decided to change where we were selling and give it one more try. She didn’t give up and went on to sell 50 boxes. It was definitely a learning moment.”
Michelle Wieser is a mom of a Girl Scout as well as business school dean at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. “It has been so rewarding to see these girls develop business skills while they have grown their confidence,” she said, adding that the girls learn about marketing, sales, budgets, and entrepreneurship.
“Learning to set goals, track sales, manage inventory, and sell a product have all been invaluable to the girls. Even simple things such as adding up the cost of packages and making change are important skills for younger girls to develop,” she said.
“The Girl Scout Cookie program really goes beyond what our ‘customers’ see and enjoy as they tear into their favorite box of cookies.”
How to buy Girl Scout cookies
Eden Prairie Girl Scouts will sell cookies at booths in or outside of Cub Foods, Wal-Mart, and Eden Prairie Center for the next several weekends until March 26, plus making door-to-door neighborhood sales. Cookies are $5 a box.
Varieties available this year include traditional favorites like Peanut Butter Patties, Thin Mints, Trefoils, Lemonades, and Caramel deLites. Shoppers will also be able to purchase Adventurefuls, a brownie caramel sea salt cookie that was new last year, and Toast-Yay! cookies, a French-toast-inspired iced cookie introduced two years ago.
There is a brand new cookie this year called the Raspberry Rally, but it’s only available online and is already sold out until March 4.
There is also a new recipe for an allergen-free vegan Caramel Chocolate Chip cookie. “The cookie is gluten free, egg free, dairy free, and is made in a nut-free facility,” Kornis said, adding that there are a number of vegan cookie options, as well as cookies that are certified kosher and halal.
“I love a cookie that’s allergy friendly,” Kornis said. “It impacts families everywhere, so it’s nice to see we’ve got cookies to fit as many of the dietary restrictions as possible.”
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