What can a girl do? How about dethrone the Oreo as America’s favorite cookie, and replace it with the Girl Scouts thin mint?
“We beat the Oreo cookie,” said Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest team leader Rebecca Taylor with just a hint of reasonable pride. And it wasn’t just any thin mint that took the title away from the cookie giant — it was specifically the thin mints sold by Girl Scouts that have become the nation’s top cookie.
“It’s amazing,” Taylor said, especially because, as she noted, America’s favorite cookie is promoted and sold by Girl Scouts. In fact, five of the 10 most popular cookies in America are sold by Girl Scouts; aside from the thin mint, these include the caramel deLites, peanut butter patties, shortbread and peanut butter sandwich.
The Girl Scouts’ annual cookie sale began this past week and will last through March 3. This year’s slogan is “What can a girl do?” and it may be that the answer is limitless; especially when it comes to the changing times and the Girl Scouts’ remarkable ability to adapt and succeed as an organization.
Several recent changes have re-vamped the Girl Scout cookie. Aside from the thin mint’s rise to No. 1, all Girl Scouts cookie boxes have been re-designed. Also, there is a new cookie flavor — mango crème.
“It tastes a little bit like Hawaii,” Taylor said of the vanilla and coconut cookies filled with mango-flavored crème. “I’ve never been to Hawaii, but I imagine that’s what it would taste like,” she added in jest.
The way Girl Scouts sell their cookies has also recently changed. Whereas Girl Scouts once took preorders of the delicious treats, offering nothing but a stale sheet of paper for the customer to look at, they now have the cookies on-hand during the sale. This has been made possible by the Internet, which makes cookie orders and sales tracking fast and convenient.
“When you have the boxes in front of them, the customers can’t resist,” Taylor said.
Those luring cookie booths in front of local businesses, such as Walgreens and Walmart, went up Saturday. The booths usually include a table with a display of cookies, and are typically up on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The act of selling a product, not just the money it raises, helps the Girl Scouts.
“A lot of girls, they just blossom at a cookie booth,” Taylor said. “They learn great people skills. … We really want them to learn these skills (that will) help them in school, in life.”
There are several incentives a Girl Scout can earn through cookie sales. The biggest one is a trip to Disneyland, a reward that requires the sale of 3,000 boxes of cookies. Other incentives include a laptop, a jacket with her name embroidered on it, jewelry, and a variety of patches, just to name a few rewards.
The overall benefit of selling cookies is raising funds for the program itself, a benefit that helps keep the cost of being a Girl Scout low, an important factor for an organization that strives to be all-inclusive and not turn anyone down due to an inability to pay fees.
There is also the Gift of Caring option when purchasing Girl Scouts cookies. In partnership with Fort Bliss, the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest can send donated Girl Scout cookies overseas to deployed soldiers. Gift of Caring, Taylor said, is a way to support two agencies at once, Girl Scouts and the military. Through Gift of Caring, one may purchase any number of boxes of Girl Scouts cookies; however, one may not choose the flavor of the cookies. The tax-deductible donation is then mailed to Fort Bliss.
“It’s a great program,” Taylor said of Gift of Caring. “It really makes (the Girl Scouts) aware of the military. … They can understand the cookies are going to a soldier.
“I personally think that supporting our military is so important. They’re the ones who keep us free. … That’s part of our promise: serve God and country.”
For more information about the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest, including their 2013 cookie sale and how to become involved, call 622-7801 or visit their website, gsdsw.org.
Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest is a United Way agency.