Did you know the cookie sales by an individual Girl Scout unit were by the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, in December 1917 at their local high school. Five years later, the Girl Scout magazine The American Girl suggested cookie sales as a fundraiser and provided a simple sugar cookie recipe.. Another eleven year passed and then 1933, Girl Scouts in Philadelphia organized the first commercial sale, selling homemade cookies at the windows of the Philadelphia Gas and Electric Company. In 1936, Girl Scouts of the USA began licensing commercial bakers to produce cookies, in order to increase availability and reduce lead time. The first contracted baker was Keebler-Weyl Bakery, soon joined by Southern Biscuit Company and Burry Biscuit. both later acquired by Interbake Foods in 1937. One hundred twenty five troops launched cookie sales that first year.
World War II brought about food shortages, but the “trooped” on into the 1950s when sugar cookies were joined by three new varieties: Shortbreads, Savannahs, and Thin Mints. Samoas were added in the 1970s. And in the intervening year Do-si-dos, Tagalongs and Lemon Chalet Cremes were added. I believe 2022 is the launch of “adverturefuls” – indulgent brownie-inspired cookies with caramel flavored creme and a hint of sea salt.
If you no longer see the young ladies going door-to-door or at tables set up outside the local grocery store or shopping center, that is because in 2015, Girl Scouts began to offer customers the ability to purchase cookies using an online portal through a mobile app called “Digital Cookie”. No more door-to-door young ladies in green learning entrepreneurial skills in the school of hard knocks. The times are a changing.
This post was inspired by my grand niece who is now a Daisy Girl Scout. I received a supply for our friary through her grandmother (my sister) who was kind enough to send some along. (note bene: the app now sends regular emails to see if resupply is needed.)
Hi Father George, thoroughly enjoyed this blog. I simply wanted to thank you for sharing your musings. I feel enlightened by your discussions of the gospels and really enjoy your historical pieces, but must admit that your stories about your African sojourn and Navy submariner days are my favorites. Now Girl Scout cookies – great! Thank you again. May God continue to bless you.
Today scout troops return dive less than $0.20 per box they sell.
So when you purchase five boxes of cookies from a girl scout you will pay more than $25 and her troop will receive less than a dollar. Then, as if that wasn’t tragic enough, despite the fact that she’s programs typically do not begin until January, her troop must spend that money before the end of May. All funds left in the account of an individual troop are then confiscated by the regional or National councils.
From the price one pays for the box of cookies, the “cost of good sold” reduced from the price, leaves margin. The local council can set its own pricing. The bakery receives about 30% percent of the profits; 50% percent is retained by the regional council to cover on-going scout programming costs; and about 20 percent is kept by the local troop. Again, the local council sets the pricing and can have incentive programs to direct more funds locally. My niece’s program can return as much as $0.85 per box for local troop use. One argument to be made is why not just donate the $$ to the troop. True. Part of the program is also to teach skills about life and let the young ladies experience the ups and downs of life – hopefully a sense of accomplishment!
Tommy, I was a Girl Scout leader for nearly 20 years and participated in numerous cookie drives, booth sales, and individual sales. The cookie sales are not the only fundraiser that girls and troops do, but they are quite often the first real experience that young girls have with goal-setting, “work” committment, managing money, advertising/marketing and sales management. Our girls learned basic skills and applied them to other larger fundraisers as well, some of which earned them thousands of dollars and afforded them opportunities to travel to places like Savannah, San Francisco, New York City, the Smoky Mountains, Myrtle Beach, and Disney World. They learned to plan trips, budget for travel costs, lodging, food, and activities. They gave some of their earnings each year to SHARE, a Girl Scout program that encourages scouts to share expenses of other less fortunate girls so they too can benefit from the scouting programs. When they traveled, we tried to incorporate not only tourist sites and historic landmarks but also college visits. Our troop was not a troop full of wealthy girls or leaders, but cookie sales taught them that by setting goals, working diligently, cooperating, and managing finances, they could create their own opportunities and have some amazing experiences. And they learned that life isn’t just about how much profit you make; it’s about sisterhood and supporting others, it’s about being responsible and honoring commitments, it’s about setting goals and working toward those goals, and it’s about managing your resources. So many skills and lessons learned with this little tradition.
Father, while the cookies are good, there are some great recipes on the internet that you can make with the cookies… one of my favorites uses the Do-Si-Does (peanut butter sandwich cookies) to make stir fried chicken in a peanut sauce.
Thanks for you insight and service to the scouts! God bless
I learned some very important life skills from my Girl Scout leader, not the least of which is the younger the Girl Scout the larger the cookie order
Love Girl Scout cookies