Resolutions have been made, and just about the time everyone is making progress with them. The sweet girls with Girl Scouts show up with colorful boxes of cookies. Who can resist a sweet Girl Scout in the name of financially furthering her experience.
This year’s cookie lineup includes Caramel DeLites, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Peanut Butter Patties, Lemonades, Thanks-A-Lot and Thin Mints. New this year are gluten-free cookies and Cranberry Citrus Crisps. The cookies are $3.50 a box and gluten-free cookies are $5 a box. Some troops will be accepting credit and debit cards this year.
“The quality still holds true,” Jamie Gerald, membership director for Richmond and Scotland counties said. Gerald said that Girl Scout cookies are not the same as competitors’ offerings.
There are two programs that are returning this year. The Buy Five program where when you buy five boxes of cookies at one time from a Girl Scout you will receive a voucher to go online and enter to win a year’s supply or the equivalent of 60 boxes of cookies. The second program, Operation Cookie Drop is where you can donate your cookies to the Armed Forces. This program has collected 607,952 boxes since 2004.
Richmond County’s sales goal is 9,360 boxes of cookies between now and Feb. 23. Last year the girls managed to sell 2,340 boxes, but there was only one troop, Troop 80 which had 12 girls selling. This year there will be six troops consisting of 83 girls vying for the coveted four hour slots at the Walmart entrances in Rockingham each weekend beginning Jan. 25 through Feb. 23.
Tanya Mabe, leader of Troop 543, plans to take her troop to Family Video and possibly even the flea market. Their troop goal is 5,000 boxes.
“We can probably do over that,” Olivia Jackson, 10, of Rockingham, said of the 5,000 goal.
New troop leader Jenny Bennett is “excited and nervous at the same time” about the cookie sale. Troop 680 is a small troop of 12, and its goal is 2,000 boxes.
Cookies are what everyone looks forward to, but it’s the money from the cookies that funds the fun all year long for the girls. After the cookie sale, the girls get together as a troop to decide how they would like to spend their money.
“They get to choose what they do with their money,” Bennett said noting that she can only suggest what they do.
It may be an overnight trip or a weekend stay at Camp Mu-sha-ni here in Richmond County. Mabe said that she wants to put part of their sale money toward archery, CPR and lifeguard certifications so that the girls will be able to swim and do archery when they go to Camp Mu-sha-ni again.
Upcoming events include World Thinking Day on Feb. 22 and National Different Colored Shoes Day on May 3, which serves as a conversation starter and to recognize and celebrate uniqueness and diversity of humanity.
Tanya Mabe, of Rockingham, decided last March to start a troop after finding out that all the troops were full. Her daughter, Olivia, had expressed interest in being a Girl Scout. Mabe started Troop 543. Mabe’s initial goal was to have 20 girls, but now she is to capacity with 30.
“I enjoy all the girls. We have a blast,” Mabe said.
Mabe must be doing something right, because Olivia wants to be like her mom when she grows up: aA Girl Scout leader and a baker.
Emily Jackson, 9, of Rockingham, is glad she’s in Girl Scouts “because it’s fun,” she gets to make new friends and go camping.
Jenny Bennett, leader of Troop 680, decided to volunteer to tag along with her 5-year-old daughter, Kaci Bennett. Bennett wants her daughter to learn the leadership skills Girl Scouts teaches.
“Everything is girl-led,” Bennett said.
The meetings and activities are for the girls to take charge and for the adults to help and assist. The cookie sale alone teaches them business and math skills.
The activities include camping, community service projects that recently included Troop 543 collecting 250 coats and distributing to the homeless in the area at a Rockingham church. They also earned their first aid badges this past summer when FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital paramedics came and showed them first aid basics and helped them build a first aid kit.
The girls “have the most fun in the summer.” Mabe said.
The only uniform requirement now is a membership pin that is included in the $15 annual dues. Sashes are optional. For more information about joining Girl Scouts, contact Jamie Gerald at 910-997-4040.