Don’t you want to know s’more about Girl Scouts?

Don't you want to know s'more about Girl Scouts?

Graphic courtesy of Alex Martin

Anna Dueholm

The usual hustle and bustle of Wilson hallways sees a little extra chaos this time of year. No, we’re not referring to AP exams, finals, or graduation. It’s Girl Scout Cookie season. This Girl Scout tradition sparks energy and hunger (yes, literally and figuratively) for the cookies in school and in social groups. We all have our favorite cookies. Do-si-dos, Thin Mints, Samoas, Savannah Smiles, and many more have won their way into Americans’ hearts over the past hundred years. It’s easy to focus on just the cookie; but, the cookie selling process involves much more than just its delicious results.

Since 1917, Girl Scout Cookies have been sold by members all over the country, providing a great way to fundraise, develop entrepreneurial skills, and build friendships. “I really like the community aspect,” said sophomore Saule Aoki of her experience as a Girl Scout and salesperson.

While the process of selling the cookies themselves is simple, there are many steps before and after the cookies reach you. Scouts collect pre-orders at school and around their communities, before parents and/or scouts pick the cookies up from the Girl Scouts National Capital downtown. They pay for the cookies themselves; however they are at a very reduced price, many at just 25 cents per box. The Girl Scouts then deliver the cookies and are paid directly by you, the client! They take the money to their troop leader, and the leaders then use the money to fund different activities; specifics being determined by individual troops. Aoki sold about $1,200 worth of cookies this year, which her troop will use to pay for activities such as laser tag and rafting.

“Thin Mints are probably the most popular cookie,” Aoki remarked. “They’re vegan too!” While Aoki enjoys selling cookies, she said it is difficult at times because people keep stealing cookies from her. Earlier this year, six boxes of cookies were stolen from her bag in class.

“My favorite parts are helping the community, keeping in touch with old friends, and doing fun activities,” junior Girl Scout, Kelly Harris, said. Freshman Girl Scout, Maddie Conway echoed Harris’ emphasis on friendships. “I’ve been friends with everyone in my troop since kindergarten and we go to different schools, so it’s fun to get together,” Conway said. Harris and Conway go to New York with their troop every year, something they both noted as a highlight. Though Conway isn’t selling cookies this year, she has before, and her troop used the money raised to fund their New York trip and other camping trips throughout the year.

At younger ages, the scouts earn badges for anything from cooking and babysitting to comic book making. Once they are in high school, however, they begin to work towards the prestigious “gold award.” It’s the highest award possible for Girl Scouts, and only 5.4 percent of those eligible successfully earn it.

“I don’t know that it will be difficult, but it’ll definitely take time [to earn the award],” Conway said. In order to receive the award, scouts have to create a project that will permanently change the world, or at least their community.

In addition to their project, they must also gain community service hours, which can be transferred to school graduation requirements. Those who do achieve the award are automatically eligible for certain scholarships. “It also looks great on college applications,” Aoki added.

It’s easy to see why many focus solely on the cookie. But next time you desperately search for your Girl Scout cookie dealer, think about all that’s involved in your favorite box of cookies, and the institution as a whole.