It’s that time of year when we’re asked to buy tagalongs, thin mints, and trefoils.
I remember the first time our neighborhood Girl Scouts showed up unannounced on our doorstep sporting their patched vests, adorable smiles and a cart full of cookie boxes. The only noticeable thing missing was a parent by their side.
Where in the world was the girls’ mother?
This week the sisters who live at the end of our cul-de-sac showed up and confidently handed me a card listing all of their offerings. They told me about their new flavors, informed me of their gluten-free option and explained that the thin mints are vegan. They also suggested I not buy the Smores ones because they’re not very tasty.
If you tell the girls that you’re watching your waist and not eating cookies right now, they are ready for your excuse. They say you can buy the cookies instead for the troops and they will ship them overseas.
Gracie and Maya bravely stop by annually to sell their Girl Scout cookies without a parent by their side.
Where is their mother and why is she not involved?
Actually, Mom is their troop leader and is exactly where she is supposed to be- encouraging and empowering her daughters from afar. In a culture of helicopter parenting, Girl Scouts allows parents to step back and let their young girls build confidence, character, and courage through their cookie selling program.
Even though my daughter isn’t a Girl Scout and I have no personal experience with the organization, I find the tradition of a sweet young girl boldly asking us to support her cause very refreshing.
In an age where children are more often seen strapped into the backseat of the minivan racing off to their organized activity rather than traipsing around the neighborhood, I welcome this change of childhood pace that Girl Scout cookie selling provides.
My neighbor Angela Kisner said she grew up nervously hiding behind her parent’s legs and was anxious about having to talk to anyone in person. When she had her daughters, she wanted to empower them to have a voice and found Girls Scouts as one arena to help her raise confident young women. Angela also encourages her troop parents to allow their girls to do all of the cookie selling by themselves.
“The biggest sellers year after year are the girls who sell themselves rather than the parent being the leading factor,” said Jennifer Roman, Arizona Cactus-Pine Council volunteer troop leader and service unit cookie manager. In my training, I also emphasize the importance of the financial and business skills education for the girls, not the actual quantity of cookies sold.”
Did you know that the Girl Scout Cookie program is the largest girl-led financial literacy program in the country?
Do you realize that by buying that $5 box of cookies you are not only receiving a familiar special treat, but you are helping a young girl gain confidence in her leadership abilities?
The Girl Scout Cookie Program: Learning by Earning program teaches five essential skills that prepare a girl for future career success.
- Goal Setting – Girls set cookie sales goals and, with their team, create a plan to reach them.
- Decision Making – Girls develop a basic business plan for cookie sales and decide as a team what to do with the money they earn: like Girl Scout activities, camp, traveling or service projects.
- Money Management – Girls develop a budget, take cookie orders, handle customers’ money, and gain valuable, practical life skills.
- People Skills – Girls learn how to talk to, listen to, and work with all kinds of people while selling cookies.
- Business Ethics – Girls are honest and responsible during every step of cookie sales.
Because these five skills are embedded throughout the Girl Scout Cookie program, cookie sellers learn in a hands-on, fun way how to set goals and meet deadlines, work well with others, understand customers, and be trustworthy and reliable.
So when you’re asked to buy tagalongs, thin mints, and trefoils from a smiling Girl Scout this month, remember that what you’re really buying is so much more than a box of cookies.