Selling Girl Scout Cookies teaches life skills while raising money

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

MARBLE FALLS — When Girl Scout Brownie Ambra Cangemi was asked to name her favorite Girl Scout Cookie, she didn’t hesitate.

“All of them,” she said with a big grin. “I like all of them.”

Fellow Brownie Lillie Hisey smiled and nodded as both stood between stacks of cases. Inside each case were boxes of the tasty delights. And if you haven’t realized, Girl Scout Cookie sales are in full swing. The annual event runs Jan. 15-Feb. 22. During those few weeks, you can find Girl Scouts members selling cookies in front of several area stores, at booths outside their homes, in offices and even door to door.

If you have a hankering for some Thin Mints or Samoas (Carmel deLites) but don’t know where to go, download the official Girl Scout Cookie Finder App, and it will direct you to the nearest active booth. That’s right, you can get an app for getting Girl Scout Cookies.

Jinny Cangemi packs up some of the 13,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies delivered to the Marble Falls and Johnson City areas. The annual sale is Jan. 15-Feb. 22. Cookie fans will find their favorites along with a newcomer, the Savanah Smiles, which is a lemon cookie doused in powered sugar. If you're looking for a place to purchase cookies, download the official Girl Scout Cookie Finder app that will direct you to the nearest sales point. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton
Jinny Cangemi packs up some of the 13,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies delivered to the Marble Falls and Johnson City areas. The annual sale is Jan. 15-Feb. 22. Cookie fans will find their favorites along with a newcomer, the Savanah Smiles, which is a lemon cookie doused in powered sugar. If you’re looking for a place to purchase cookies, download the official Girl Scout Cookie Finder app that will direct you to the nearest sales point. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

While the cookie sales provide the Girls Scouts organization with a major fundraising opportunity, Marble Falls-area Girl Scouts leader Susan Cangemi pointed out it’s not just about making money.

“It’s actually huge for what it does for the girls,” she said. “It teaches a lot of entrepreneurial skills, public relations skills and just good business skills.”

Whenever a box is sold, a Girl Scouts member will have been involved in some way. It could be that a Girl Scout, Brownie or Daisy Scout completed the transaction, but they are part of the sale in other ways as well. Cangemi said some of the young Daisy Scouts might not be able to sell as many without their parents’ help, so their involvement may be a simple handwritten “thank you” note.

“It could also be the girl designed and made the poster her parents hung up in their office to sell,” Cangemi said. “There’s a lot of different ways the girls can be involved.”

The Girl Scout Cookie sales are designed to develop five skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

And with the Marble Falls and Johnson City area Girl Scouts getting 13,000 boxes of cookies, it looks as if they will get plenty of practice developing those skills.

The Girl Scout Cookie sales program is almost as old as the Girl Scouts themselves. The first time a troop reportedly turned to cookies to raise money for its activities was in 1917 (just five years after Juliette Gordon Low pioneered Girl Scouting in the United States.) The Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Okla., sold cookies that members and their mothers baked in the high school cafeteria.

A 1922 article in the Girl Scouts national magazine provided a cookie recipe so Girl Scouts could bake and sell the treats. The cookie sales continued (though suspended during World War II due to shortages of ingredients) and have become an iconic part of Girl Scouts and the Girl Scouting experience.

Cangemi said the girls get excited about cookie sales. On the surface, they can earn the official cookie patch by selling 25 boxes. Many girls go on to easily eclipse that number.

“We have several girls who are 1,000-plus boxes sellers,” she said. “But each girls sets her own goals when it comes to selling cookies. It’s not just some number they decide on. We want them to be able to explain why they chose that number. It’s not just selling cookies, it’s about learning and growing as girls and young women.”

When it comes to selling the cookies, the girls can come up with their own methods and strategies. It could be setting up a booth outside their homes, going door to door (with an adult and/or other Girl Scouts member) or working a booth in front of a local store.

Cangemi said on most Saturdays and Sundays during the sales event, the Girls Scouts will probably have booths set up in front of Walmart, 2700 U.S. 281 in Marble Falls; Walgreens, 1211 U.S. 281 in Marble Falls; and the Blue Bonnet Cafe, 211 U.S. 281 in Marble Falls.

“Also if we’re here at the Girl Scout House (in Johnson Park), we’ll have a sing out front if we’re selling cookies here,” Cangemi said. “So, just stop in.”

Or, just check your Girl Scout Cookie app. It will tell you where to find your nearest Thin Mint fix.

daniel@thepicayune.com