ST. GEORGE — The official start of the Girl Scout Cookie season has descended on St. George.
The first city cookie booth at Lin’s Fresh Market on Mall Drive began selling cookies Friday. It opened to a wildly enthusiastic crowd of onlookers who wanted to see what all the commotion was about when Girl Scouts of the United States of America Troop 71 of St. George began their three weeks of cookie sales.
Cookies can also be purchased through the organization’s online portal.
Although a fun way to raise money for troop and individual activities, such as attending Girl Scout camp and community service, there is a larger picture, said Callie Birdsall-Chambers, vice president of marketing and communications for Girl Scouts of Utah.
“This launch is the most visible time of the year. It is our Girl Scout Cookie season,” Birdsall-Chambers said.
Although the season began in January with girls knocking on doors and making sales at businesses, there are many broader lessons to be learned than strictly closing a sale, Birdsall-Chambers said.
“They learn life skills such as decision making and how to become self-sufficient,” Birdsall-Chambers said. They get a taste of what it is like to make goals, become involved in teamwork, become successful and in planning along with facing rejection. At the booths, they get told no a lot, but you would be surprised how creative they are in making the sale.”
Some studies site that with more than 70% of women-owned businesses, the owner was involved in Girl Scouts as a child.
Girl Scouts is the largest girl-led organization on the globe. It offers programs from pre-kindergarten children to 18-year-old girls.
In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low envisioned an organization that would prepare girls to meet their world with courage, confidence and character.
In the midst of the Progressive Era and at a time when women in the United States couldn’t yet vote, Low, a nearly deaf 51-year-old, sparked a worldwide movement inspiring girls to embrace their individuality, strength and intellect.
Low, affectionately known as “Daisy,” gathered 18 girls in her hometown of Savannah to share what she had learned abroad about new outdoor and educational programs for youth. With this, the Girl Scout movement was born.
The global movement in which all girls can see themselves reflected today includes more than 2.5 million girl scouts (1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults) in 92 countries and more than 50 million alums.
Today with a record number of women serving in the U.S. Congress, there are also a record number of Girl Scouts. More than 50% of the women in the U.S. House of Representatives were Girl Scouts with more than 70% of female U.S. Senators joining the alum ranks.
The recorded history of Girl Scout Cookies dates back to 1917, when a troop of Girl Scouts in Muskogee, Oklahoma, held a cookie sale in their high school cafeteria as a way to fund troop activities.
The original cookies were home-baked. As word spread, a troop in Connecticut started selling them and then a troop in Massachusetts.
The rest is history.
According to NBC News, revenue from the sales of Girl Scout Cookies has been around $700 million since 1999, based on sales of more than 200 million boxes. For each box sold, 75% of the money goes to the local council, while 25% goes to bakeries.
This year marks the Utah’s Girl Scouts 100th anniversary.
“We’ve been building girls’ courage for a century,” Birdsall-Chambers said. “This is kind of cool.”
Ashley, 10, acknowledged by many in her troop as the “cookie pro,” has been at sales for three years.
“I am really excited this year,” Ashley said. “After I sell the cookies I get to go to Girl Scout camp which is super fun.”
At Girl Scout summer camp, Ashley and other girls participate in “such fun things” like horseback riding, archery and sleeping in cabins.
Mary Shipley, the Southern Utah Girl Scout representative leading recruitment and troop support is also excited to make a difference in a young girl’s attitude about themselves and their future.
“Along with all the other skills it’s about learning how to communicate with people they have never met before,” Shipley said. “It is also about adults who are not Girl Scouts anymore (mentoring) and still participating in the program.”
Along with life skills, Shipley added, selling the cookies is just plain fun.
For Girl Scout Cookie lovers, they have until March 22 to buy their favorite.
While many love Thin Mints, this author loves Samoas, a crisp cookie with caramel, coconut with dark chocolate stripes. This year, Girl Scouts have introduced a new cookie, the Lemon-Ups: a crispy, lemon cookie baked with motivational messages inspired by Girl Scout Cookie entrepreneurs.
Coming out of Lin’s, St. George resident Samantha Rawlings said she had her heart on the new cookie.
“I love lemon anything,” Rawlings said. “Yum.”
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