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Cookies instill sweet skills
Submitted by Glenn Gullickson on Wed, 02/08/2017 - 12:00am
Annual Girl Scouts project teaches salesmanship, goal setting
Those Thin Mints and Tagalongs are more than just a cookie for a Girl Scout.
The annual cookie sale started Jan. 23 and continues through March 5 for a project that involves organization, goal setting, salesmanship, money management and even dealing with rejection.
“It’s really important to the girls,” said Ivonne Campos, who has been a leader of a Girl Scout troop in Avondale for 11 years. “I see the girls grow from the beginning as they become more confident.”
This year’s sale marks the 100th anniversary of the first known sale of cookies by Girl Scouts.
Campos leads a troop of eight girls ages 10 to 13, including her daughter, Amarissa Frias, 11, who sold 2,000 boxes of cookies last year, which was enough to earn her a trip to summer camp.
“I worked really hard. I asked everyone I knew,” Amarissa said.
Preparing for the annual cookie sale starts with setting goals for the troop and each girl, Campos said.
Training involves role-playing exercises where the girls learn how to sell and make change, Campos said.
Amarissa said the simple and direct approach works best for her. “I just say, ‘Do you want to buy some Girl Scout cookies?’” she said.
The girls also learn to accept that some people aren’t buying, as well as tips for staying safe when selling door to door, Campos said.
Permission needs to be obtained to set up tables outside stores, where most of the cookies are sold, she said.
Zurie Gutierrez, 10, also a member of Campos’ troop, is selling cookies for the fourth year, with a goal of moving 500 boxes.
“It’s fun and we get to meet different people,” she said.
Each troop gets a portion of the proceeds from the sales, with the girls deciding how it will be spent for activities and programs, Campos said.
Last year, Campos said her troop spent some of its money for care packages to be sent to active-duty servicemen and donated funds to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Money is also allocated to purchase craft projects the girls do during holiday visits to a local assisted living facility, Campos said.
Other money goes to the Girl Scout organization for things such as camping trips and supplies.
Campos said Thin Mints are the biggest sellers, but this year, people will have a new choice with the addition of Girl Scout S’mores.
The graham sandwich cookie with a chocolate and marshmallow filling is inspired by the campfire treat and features an embossed image of one of the five Girls’ Choice Outdoor badges.
Other cookies on sale are Samoas, Tagalongs, Treoils, Do-si-dos and Savannah Smiles.
Campos noted the price of cookies increased this year by $1 to $5 a box, and S’mores and gluten-free Toffee-tastics are $6 a box.
But Campos said she doesn’t think the price increase will affect sales much.
“Everyone loves the Girl Scout cookies,” she said.
About 20,000 Girl Scouts will sell cookies in central and northern Arizona, but if you can’t find the cookies, well, there’s an app for that. The Cookie Finder app is available at girlscoutcookies.org or from Google Play or the Apple store.
Glenn Gullickson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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