By Sherrie Norris
Last Friday’s massive delivery of Girl Scout Cookies to the High Country was delayed a few days due to the storm that dumped several inches of snow across the regions; they are expected to arrive today, Monday, Jan. 11, with new sales strategies in place due to the COvid-19 pandemic.
That’s good news for the local Girl Scout troops and countless consumers who anticipate this annual treat this time every year.
According to Catherine Wilkinson, Northwestern Regional Cookie Cupboard Manager and Service Unit Specialist for the High Country, 1,117 cases of cookies — equal to 13,404 boxes — are finding their way to Boone for the area’s annual cookie sales, which officially begins on Saturday, Jan. 16.
Unfortunately, although not surprisingly, while those numbers might sound quite impressive, it’s a significant drop compared to last year.
“Troops are expecting that sales will be lower, as confirmed by the fact that our initial delivery order is about 56% of the 2020 delivery,” said Wilkinson.
To help compensate for expected declines in traditional booth sales, she added, in addition to regular booths, drive-thru cookie booths will be permitted in preapproved parking lots away from highways and in lots large enough to keep the girls away from traffic. Hopefully, those will be setting up soon across the High Country.
“Safety is always high priority for cookie sales,” Wilkinson added, explaining that guidelines for regular and drive-thru booths not only will follow state guidelines, but will also exceed same.
While booth sales are expected to start on Saturday, Jan. 16, exact locations are still to be determined, due to COVID restrictions.
Currently, the best way to learn more about cookie booths is to click on Find Cookies at this link: https://www.girlscoutsp2p.org/en/cookies/about-girl-scout-cookies.html.
Beyond The Cookie Booth
The time-honored community outreach known as Girl Scout cookie sales is enjoyed by countless people on many levels each year. Not only do we, as consumers, absolutely love the idea of supporting the Girl Scouts — not to mention the personal satisfaction derived by devouring those blissful treats by the box — but we are also reminded that we are helping young girls prepare for their future as successful entrepreneurs.
The cookie sales benefit the girls especially by teaching them important skills that they will carry throughout their lives — what it means to be successful, how to work as a team, utilize the proceeds for special events, trips and more.
A recent survey from the Girl Scout Research Institute indicates that 85 percent of Girl Scout “cookie entrepreneurs” learn money management by developing budgets, taking cookie orders and handling customers’ money. Eighty-three percent build business ethics; 80 percent learn goal setting; 77 percent improve decision-making; and 75 percent develop people skills.
All proceeds from the cookie program support Girl Scouting in the local community where they are sold, providing an opportunity for girls to earn money for badges, service events, recognition and the potential for scholarships. Additionally, the sales help the troops with summer camp, exploring science and math, traveling to various destinations and learning about future careers.
For example, on the home front, according to longtime troop leaders, Catherine Wilkinson, JoAnne Jenkins and Amber Mellon, for five years Troop 2738 saved the money its members earned from selling cookies to help fund a 2021 trip to Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala.. Another area troop (10807) earned money for a trip to New York City last summer, and yet another troop (10289) had its eye set on a two-week trip to Europe. But, as most trips were, these had to be postponed, much to the disappointment of the girls and their leaders who had worked so hard.
Last year’s top local cookie seller, with 2,426 packages was Hannah Ligon representing Troop 10289. “Her troop had the long- planned summer 2020 trip to Europe that had to be cancelled. Hopefully they will be able to plan it again sometime soon,” said Wilkinson.
A New Cookie Introduced for 2021
Who among us — even if we just recently made resolutions to cut down on sweets — can say “no” to the hardworking girls who put their best efforts into their signature fundraising efforts this time every year?
In addition to our favorite cookie varieties that have stood the test of time, making its debut in 2021 is Toast-Yah!, which replaces the Thanks-a-lot label. This new kid on the block is described as a delightful toast-shaped cookie full of French toast flavor, dipped in delicious icing and full of flavor in every bite, topped with the Girl Scout signature trefoil.
Returning favorites include: Thin Mints, Caramel deLights, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Peanut Butter Patties, Shortbread, S’mores, Lemonades, and the gluten- free Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies.
As one of America’s most recognized and popular fundraising efforts currently underway, pre-sales are happening now and booths will be setting up around the High Country in the coming days.
Cookie lovers can preorder from their neighborhood Girl Scouts, order online for delivery, or wait to find their little boxed treasures at cookie booths on weekends outside local businesses,
For more information on locations and times for area booths (as that information is determined) go to the cookie locator at https://www.girlscouts.org/en/cookies/all-about-cookies/How-to-Buy.html
Since 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Ga., founded the Girl Scouts, the organization has been selling cookies as a way to raise money for troop activities and build life-changing skills in its participants.
Since 2014, the direct sales approach to cookie sales has proved to be successful, in which the girls have cookies readily available when asking customers to purchase a box, instead of taking orders and returning a few weeks later with the cookies.
Things you might want to know about the Girl Scout Cookie Program:
- Currently, there are only two commercial bakers licensed by Girl Scouts of the USA to produce Girl Scout Cookies: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers.
· Girl Scouts now offer an online purchasing option for their customers through which cookies are shipped directly to them (shipping charges will apply). For those without a Girl Scout connection, consumers can email their name, phone number and address to [email protected].
- BUY 5: Any customer who purchases five packages of cookies will have his/her name entered in a drawing to win a year’s supply of their favorite Girl Scout cookies (52 packages). The Girl Scout who submits the winning entry will receive a $10 council shop gift card.
- Operation Sweet Treat provides a way to share a little bit of home with our military troops around the world. The 2021 goal is to collect 51,000 packages of Girl Scout cookies and 500 letters of encouragement to place in carepackages to ship to our brave military men and women serving in the United States, overseas and at local military units. Donations for OST may be tax- deductible, but consumers should check with their tax
- There is also a mobile cookie app available for download to smart phones (both iPhones and Androids) that allows you to find cookies near you. To downloadthis app, visit girlscoutcookies.org.
- The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the premier girl-led entrepreneurship program in the world, but it is just one part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Girl Scouts participate in varied activities throughout the year and work on many projects. The cookie program is just one of those activities. And because only registered Girl Scouts may sell Girl Scout Cookies, their market availability is normally limited to the six- to eight-week period when girls are engaged in the program through their local council.
- Girl Scouts only sell cookies produced for the current season. Therefore, if a council or troop has cookies left at the end of the sale, they are encouraged to work with local food pantries and other charitable organizations to distribute cookies as a special treat for people seeking food relief services. GSUSA works with licensed bakers to ensure that they too have an annual plan for responsibly managing leftover cookie inventory.
About Local Girl Scouts
In the High Country service unit, which includes Watauga and Avery counties, there are 16 troops comprised of 125 girls. The High Country counties of Ashe, Avery and Watauga are part of the Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont, serving nearly 12,000 girls in central and western North Carolina. With service centers and shops located in Asheville, Gastonia, Hickory and the Triad area, it is one of the 111 councils from across the nation that delivers the Girl Scout program