It’s cookie season. For some people that means extra pounds to work off later in the year. For others, it is a time to prepare their gracious “no thank you” speeches for when they have to walk past yet another Girl Scout cookie booth outside a store front.
I was a Girl Scout leader for a number of years. My husband referred to my troop as my all female para-military organization. Yes, I ran my troop with discipline and organization, but I like to think I taught them a few things as well.
As a Girl Scout myself growing up, I thought of cookie sales as a way to raise money so we could do something fun. It was simply a fundraiser. It wasn’t until I became a leader and saw the transformation cookie sales made on the girls that I began to truly appreciate everything scouting can be.
My girls could count to 100 by increments of $3.50 and make change from a twenty or fifty without blinking an eye. I saw their confidence grow as they looked customers in the eye and answered questions about their product. We always practice courtesy and respect, and the girls learned how to take a “no thank you” graciously and wish people a good day as they passed by. Over the years, their preparation for cookie season and goal setting grew. They planned their routes and knew which houses were the most lucrative. They set short term goals, like how many houses per night they would need to visit in order to reach their long-term goal of selling a thousand boxes.
I realized that cookie selling was about so much more than a fundraiser for the troop. Lifelong lessons were being instilled. Young ladies were preparing for the future. They were spreading their wings and learning skills and behaviors that will help them all their lives.
Although my daughters are grown, I still love working with the Girl Scouts. The scouts have badges they earn by completing certain steps. No longer is it all about sewing and homemaking. Now the girls are exploring career options, science and technology, and outdoor skills. The list of interests can be endless. Each age group has a related badge with age-appropriate tasks to complete. Blue Dragon Publishing helps girls earn badges having to do with stories, books, writing, designing, and publishing. The next Senior and Ambassador Workshop will be April 13, 2019 in Williamsburg.
I encourage other companies and individuals to give back where they can. It’s our job to help shape the future. The Girl Scouts is a great place to start!