By Catherine Clements
The best thing that comes from the sale of Girl Scout Cookies is opportunity.
In this day and age, it seems impossible to do anything without money. Without a budget, a troop cannot pursue the adventures that create the Girl Scout experience. That’s why the sale of Girl Scout cookies is so important. Girls are empowered by selling cookies. It enables them to set goals and reach them. Instead of limiting their dreams because of funds, they can create their own new reality with the money raised.
Donna Dickinson, a Girl Scout Ambassador troop leader in Central Westmoreland, leads two girls, Megan, 16, and Rebecca, 17. These girls are a living example of the power of Girl Scout Cookies. Dickinson recognizes the important skills that emerge from selling cookies.
“The girls learn leadership, teams skills, communication with the public, [and how to step] out of their comfort zone,” Dickinson said.
Each year the girls set a goal on where and what they want to do with their money. Dickinson points out that, “If you want something bad enough it can happen.” Their next step to reach their goal is to figure out how many boxes of cookies they need to sell to get there. Dickinson advises, “This is the amount that you need to sell, so start taking orders.”
This year, the girls are tossing around different ideas about potential sites for travel. “They have already gone to Savannah, [the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts] which they paid 100% from their treasury,” Dickinson said. This will be the last year for both Megan and Rebecca so they want to do something special. A trip to Tennessee, Massachusetts, or New York is being considered. The girls are particularly interested in New York because it is home to the Girl Scout National Headquarters. “They would like to tour the national headquarters of an organization that they have been a part of for 13 years,” said Dickinson. Also on their trip they are interested in attending a show, staying in Times Square, and exploring the different areas of New York.
This year is especially difficult for Megan and Rebecca to raise funds. Previously, their troop was comprised of five girls who all sold hundreds of cookies, but this year they are down to just two. Dickinson points out the girls realize “that whatever they decide it will be expensive.” To help reach their fundraising goal, they offered Christmas Around the World, a program that explored the Christmas traditions of other cultures. Their event was comprised of seven different stations and even featured crafts and cookie baking.
Though the girls are excited about what they can do with their cookie money, they do not forget to give back. Last year, the girls collected money at their booth sales to send cookies to soldiers overseas. They have “sent 350 boxes to U.S. Military troops and personalized each one,” Dickinson said. The generals and majors extended their gratitude to Dickinson’s troop upon receiving their kind gift.
There is most definitely power behind the sale of Girl Scout cookies everywhere. Cookies enable us to not only help ourselves, but more importantly help others. Megan and Rebecca will certainly be working hard this cookie season to reach their goal.
Catherine Clements is a 2013 graduate from Ligonier High School. A Girl Scout through twelfth grade, Catherine was honored at the 2013 Awards of Distinction in Johnstown for being named a Prudential Spirit of Community Award finalist. She is currently a freshman at Duquesne University where she is majoring in public relations and advertising.