Local Girl Scouts celebrate 100 years of cookie sales

DELAWARE – Girl Scouts across the nation announced the start of the 2017 cookie season, which marks the 100th year of the first known sale of cookies by Girl Scouts.

A century ago, girls started participating in what would evolve into the largest entrepreneurial training program for girls in the world: the Girl Scout Cookie Program®. Through the program, girls learn the essential skills they need to become effective leaders, manage finances, gain self-sufficiency, and develop confidence in handling money.

To commemorate this banner year for the organization and celebrate how the cookie program powers amazing experiences for Girl Scouts year-round, the highly anticipated Girl Scout S’mores™ cookies will be available, joining classics like Thin Mints® and Trefoils®/Shortbread.

Girl Scouts from the local council, Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, will begin taking orders for Girl Scout cookies by going door-to-door starting Saturday, Jan. 7. The 2017 cookie season marks the 100th year of the first known sale of cookies by Girl Scouts.

This year, local Girl Scouts will offer eight cookie varieties – Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Trefoils, Do-si-dos, Savannah Smiles, gluten-free Toffee-tastic and the new S’mores.  Girl Scout Cookies are $4.00 per box with the exception of Toffee-tastics and S’mores at $5.00 per box.

Cookie booth sales begin on Friday, Feb. 17 at local businesses throughout the Delmarva Peninsula. Girls also take donations of Girl Scout cookies for Operation Taste of Home and local community groups.  Operation Taste of Home cookies are donated to our Armed Forces and local agencies, such as food banks and pantries, blood banks, cancer centers and youth programs.

Milk and Cookie Breaks can offer local businesses and organizations a new and unique way to support local girl scouts, as well. By purchasing boxes of cookies in advance, a uniformed Girl Scout or troop can deliver the cookies to employees or volunteers as a Milk and Cookie Break. To arrange this experience with Girl Scouts in the Frederica, Felton, Harrington or Milford areas, please e-mail gscbsu11@gmail.com.

Individuals interested in purchasing cookies or donating to Operation Taste of Home can call the Cookie Hotline at 1-800-YUM-YUM2. To locate a cookie booth sale in your area go to www.GSCB.org.

But the Girl Scouts Cookie Program is about more than just great tasting cookies.

By participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, girls learn five skills that last into adulthood including goal setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

Every girl is encouraged to set and work toward achieving both a team and personal goal.  It also raises funds to support troop and council activities. The benefits of the cookie program have been hailed by many of today’s businesswomen, who cite selling Girl Scout Cookies was their first step toward successful careers, according to Denise Eberspeaker of the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay.

All of the proceeds from a local council’s cookie activities remain in the area where the cookies are sold. This revenue is used to benefit girls; some of it directly by remaining in the Girl Scout troop treasuries and some of it indirectly by funding council-led programs for Girl Scouts.

Each year, more than 9,000 Girl Scouts from the Delmarva Peninsula participate in the cookie program, selling over one million boxes of cookies to the community.

Nationwide, nearly 1 million Girl Scouts participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, generating nearly $800 million in cookie sales during the average season. With over 50 million households purchasing cookies every season, the irresistible treats can be found nationwide and will hold a beloved place in Americana for years to come, continuing to help girls take the lead and, ultimately, change the world.

History of the Girl Scout Cookie Program

The sale of cookies by Girl Scouts had humble beginnings, born as a way for troops to finance activities. The first known sale of cookies by Girl Scouts occurred in 1917, when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them in their high school cafeteria as a service project.

As the Girl Scout Cookie Program developed and evolved, it not only became a vehicle for teaching essential skills, but it also enabled collaboration and integration, as early as the 1950s, among girls and troops of diverse backgrounds as they worked together toward common goals.

“I am so thrilled that, as an organization, we’ve reached such an important milestone—celebrating 100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies,” said Sylvia Acevedo, interim CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA.

“The Girl Scout Cookie Program has long been the engine that powers Girl Scouts on every level. Cookie earnings fund local council programming for girls and allow girls to do incredible things of their own choosing—from civic-engagement projects to educational travel opportunities, and beyond. Each box of delicious Girl Scout Cookies® —and the entrepreneurial skills gained by participating in the Girl Scout Cookie program—helps girls fulfill their dreams, follow their passions, take the lead in their lives and communities, and change the world.”

Girl Scout Cookies not only help Girl Scouts earn money for fun, educational activities and community projects, but also play a huge role in guiding girls to discover their inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ as they learn essential life skills that will stay with them forever.

Starting from the momentous, first known sale, Girl Scout Cookies have gone on to become an indelible part of American pop culture and history—and have enjoyed support from some equally iconic figures and notables.

Babe Ruth promoted the Million Cookie Drive during the 1924 World Series. Former First Lady Lou Henry Hoover inspired the first organized national sale of Girl Scout Cookies in 1933 as a way to cope with the effects of the Great Depression. And when the popularity of Girl Scout Cookies soared higher than expected in 1936, commercial cookie bakers were called in to assist in making the sweet treats.

Last year, the audience at the 88th Academy Awards ceremony was eating out of Girl Scouts’ hands, with film stars clamoring to buy and munch on cookies during the telecast.

Not even cataclysmic world events have dimmed the popularity of Girl Scout Cookies or the resolve of tenacious and resourceful girls.

During World War II, there was a global shortage of cooking ingredients like eggs, milk, and sugar—and Girl Scouts, too, were faced with imposed war rationing. Girl Scouts sold calendars with images of them engaged in wartime service activities instead of cookies, and supported the war effort through humanitarian actions like running farm-aid projects, planting victory gardens, and sponsoring defense institutes that taught women’s survival skills and techniques for comforting children during air raids. When postwar prosperity flourished across the country, Girl Scouts employed clever new sales tactics to their advantage. By going door-to-door and setting up booths in shopping malls, the girls were able to reach customers in innovative ways, as well as sell a brand new cookie—the now iconic Thin Mints, which first were produced in 1939 as “Cooky-Mints.”

As the organization entered the latter half of the 20th century, Girl Scout Cookies continued to power once-in-a-lifetime experiences for girls. Whether they used their cookie earnings to attend the Apollo 12 launch at Cape Kennedy, Florida, or to microfinance their big ideas to get to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, cookie earnings have transported as well as transformed girls.

With the emergence of the Internet and rise of ecommerce, girls were eager to harness the power of technology to expand their communication channels. In December 2014, Girl Scouts responded by launching a scalable electronic addition called the Digital Cookie™ platform.

The new online expansion of the Girl Scout Cookie Program provided a platform for girls to market and sell cookies to customers online and via mobile devices. Digital Cookie made its official debut at the annual 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES)—where Girl Scouts was one of the first youth-serving organizations to present and one of, if not the first, to provide a booth run entirely by girls. Girl Scouts is thrilled to announce that Dell and Visa Checkout will continue their support of the platform, which continues to grow across the nation.

To find cookie varieties available locally or learn more about the history of Girl Scout cookies and the Girl Scout Cookie Program, visit www.girlscoutcookies.org. To join or volunteer, visit www.girlscouts.org/join and www.girlscouts.org/volunteer.

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