What Can A Cookie Do?
Every year you see them go out in their little uniforms and their pigtails, ringing doorbells and standing outside of supermarkets. They talk about what they are trying to accomplish, they talk about their goals, they talk about what they will do with the proceeds from the sales, and then they try to close the sale – for the Girl Scout Cookie. Now, lets not kid ourselves – the cookies practically sell themselves, but the process of selling the cookies to the public teaches some valuable lifelong skills.
Goal Setting: This is the part where the girls set personal and troop goals. They talk about what they want to do that year, what activities they want to do, what people they want to help, and what they want to know more about. They determine how much its all going to cost and what the goal will be for the cookie sales. As a troop they each know how much they need to sale to meet the activity goals. As a girl, they know how much they need to sale to help the troop meet the goal. They also see what the incentives are for the girls who sale the most cookies- and there are some really neat opportunities for them if they succeed. What kind of activities? They vary every year, but check out what the AZ Council is offering.
Decision Making: You know girls – they want to do everything – but they have to make decisions based on reality. With the proceeds from the cookie sales, the girls get to decide what to spend the money on – but they cant go to a camp every weekend, and they have to all agree on if they want to try archery or cooking (or both!). The girls also have a personal responsibility to go out and make thier goal. Its up to them when they will be going door to door to sell the cookies, if they are ‘too busy’ swimming, talking on the phone, watching tv, etc its thier choice to not put the work in to complete the sales. They then have to face the consequences of not achieving thier goal, letting down thier fellow girl scouts, and not being able to do all of the things they had planned to do.
Money Management: Did you know that many people are not capable of counting back change properly? Not a Girl Scout! The girls are taught about the management of money as they perform the sales, they have to count of the boxes and how much the total is then they have to receive the money from the customer and count back the change. In my area they have gotten really good with factors of 4 – but even still getting the total can result in those ‘big’ numbers that children equate with being harder. Then there is the question on Spending it. in our troop all the activities are funded by the cookie sales. Gonna make a craft that explains the process of condensation – supplies will need to be bought. Going to go on a camping trip to learn about nature conservation – tickets will be purchased. Going to create a fundraiser to collect used coats for homeless children- advertising/posterboards/markers/fliers it all costs money. The girls create a budget and they understand that what the can do is completely attributed to the amount of cookies they sale.
People Skills: We all know those children – the ones that grab onto thier parents leg, wont look anyone in the eye, and speak so softly you cant hear them. We know the other types too – the ones that are constantly moving, cant keep on topic, and are so noisy it seems like they have been lit on fire. Selling cookies helps girls come out of thier shells and it helps teach the active ones that they need to tone it down some to get people to listen to them. The girls learn to talk to people about what thier plans ar to do with the money they raise, they learn the skill of telling someone about a product and why they like it themselves. It teaches them to find the things that are important to the customer and use that knowledge to close the sale. My daughter pitched the CEO of our company by telling him how much he had bought the previous year and let him know that she was trying to increase her sales by 20%. He did it – not because he wanted the cookies, but because she came to him with the facts and showed business acumen on what would be impressive to him.
Business Ethics: Girls learn the value of being ethical in thier cookie selling. There are many girls scouts and it seems like in neighborhoods where there is one there are probably many. This makes it difficult to go door to door to sale. People say that someone already came by, or they already bought from someone at work. My daughter smiles at them brightly and thanks them for supporting the girl scouts. Some of the girls in our troop live directly on the same street – they will go out together to sell, and they split the sales between them. Cookie booths are scheduled, The girls learn the importance of being on time, and the girls they learn the value of being considerate to the next troop by breaking down the booth in time for the next troop can start.
Philanthropy: This is one of the most important things that I think the girls learn. There are always people who dont want to buy the cookies(oh those hips!) but they want to donate to the girls. Prior to the sale starting, the girls determine what they are going to do with the donated cookie boxes. All the money that they collect as donations are used to buy a box of cookies – then the cookies are donated to an organization that distributes them. Popular choices are the Local Food banks, Sending them to Soldiers who are deployed, and Children’s hospitals. The girls get to see the impact that the donations make and gain the personal satisfaction of helping others. Our troop also does a yearly project to help an organization in need. We use some of the proceeds from the cookie sales to fund the activity. So every year our troop is contributing to two philanthropic activities.
So the next time you see that little girl pulling her wagon around full of cookies – stop and talk to her, support her in her ability to learn the skills that she will be able to use for the rest of her life.