My dog started barking loudly when the doorbell rang. It was the Girl Scouts going door-to-door taking cookie orders. Even though we have a small “No Solicitors” sign to keep away the religious or scary people selling the latest amazing spiritual or household cleaner, the girls’ father accompanying them thought we wouldn’t mind, and I didn’t since I was once a Girl Scout. Besides, I love those Thin Mints and Samosas and it’s a treat to get them once a year.
The $760 million Girl Scout cookie program is the largest girl-led business in the country. The cookie sales support their chosen activities for the year like funding community service, leadership projects and attending summer camp.
Through the Girl Scout cookie program, which started in 1917, girls develop five essential skills: Goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics. Many successful business women today say they got their start selling Girl Scout cookies.
The Girl Scout movement was started by a woman named Juliette Gordon Low who lived in England for part of her life. She became interested in Scouting through her friend Lord Baden-Powell who had founded the Boy Scouts in England in 1907. Baden-Powell realized that the girls must have an organization of their own and formed the British Girl Guides Association in that same year. With the help of his friend Juliette, the first company of Girl Guides was formed in Scotland. When Juliette returned to her home in Savannah, Georgia in 1912, she assembled 18 girls for a local Girl Scout meeting. This year marks the 100th anniversary celebration of the Girl Scouts of the USA.
About a year before my mom died she loaned me her well worn copy of the Girl Scout handbook. She told me it was given to her by her mother when she was about 9 years old. I was expecting this 1942 edition to be outdated and old school but was surprised how progressive the Girl Scout movement was 70 years ago. The Girl Scouts were ahead of their time when it came to proper attitudes towards community service projects, cultural awareness and environmental matters.
After reading my mom’s handbook and seeing penciled notes made by her of proficiency badges earned, it makes sense where the seeds were planted for her love of nature, the environment, and giving back to the community. In my lifetime she gave many donations of all kinds, including animal rights groups, and was also a girl scout volunteer.
This spring when you buy Girl Scout cookies remember you’ll be supporting a good cause!