For much of the country, Girl Scout cookie season is in full swing. And if you haven’t had a scout stop by your door, you’ve likely seen them staffing booths at many of your local stores. This year I agreed to serve as my daughter’s Girl Scout troop cookie Mom. I have absolutely no interest in total sales, increasing sales, pushing my own girl to sell, or anything along those lines. My daughter is smitten with Girl Scouts, more committed than ever before. At an age when many girls might drop out due to conflicting interests and limited time, she’s all in. So when the previous cookie manager stepped down, I volunteered to support my girl. It also didn’t help that at some point I let the cat out of the bag that my Mom was cookie mom one year. Beyond busted, it was my turn to volunteer.
Now that I’m on the other side of the how the Girl Scout cookie crumbles, I’m learning a lot about how challenging it can be to overcome negative opinions about the management of the Girl Scout organization at both a national and local level along with LOTS of criticism about how cookie money is distributed. There is also plenty of dialogue about how girls should be educated about what’s wrong with Girl Scouts so they can make educated decisions about joining and specifically about participating in the cookie sale.
So why do I support Girl Scouts and in particular, the Girl Scout cookie sale, when there are business practices being challenged within the organization at all levels? It’s simple. My girl ADORES Girl Scouts! In her eyes, being a Girl Scout is a true honor, something extra special that requires her to do her best as she learns new things. She has rock star leaders that expose her troop to science and technology, campouts and field trips for fun and learning alike, and all the while teach them life lessons. She has opportunities to experience the accomplishment of achieving goals and is beyond motivated by earning badges as her reward, covering most every inch of her vest. She wouldn’t miss a meeting or the chance to attend her favorite local summer day camps for all the tea in China. She is begging to go to sleep away Girl Scout camp this summer and truly believes every word of the Girl Scout Promise and Girl Scout Law. And then there is the sisterhood aspect. You see my girl doesn’t have a sister but instead two brothers. Read the last line of the Girl Scout Law. Why in the world would I mess with my girl believing in being the good that comes with sisterhood?
This is not my season to take on a largely volunteer based and historically sound organization, locally or nationally, that has well known flaws. It’s not my time to jump on the “Girl Scouts can do better” bandwagon, (even if I firmly believe the same) that is most visible during the cookie sale. And this year the issue is only magnified because in an effort to go digital with Girl Scout cookie sales, there is a limited online ordering opportunity that, to be honest, has outrageous shipping fees attached to it. So hardly anyone is using it and still just shipping any out of town orders via other methods. Its flawed. It needs to be fixed. But selling online in spite of this flaw is at least a step in the right direction.
It’s not my place to take a political stand that requires my girl to refuse to sell Girl Scout cookies or even refuses to allow her to be a Girl Scout at all. Because its not HER time to be used as an example. Its not HER time to take an ethical stand. She’s a child. She loves Girl Scouts. And she loves selling Girl Scout cookies. Some girls dread it and others simply don’t have time or the interest in selling ~ which by the way is totally fine, Not every scout in every troop sells ~ its true ~ and they aren’t shunned or kicked out because they don’t. My girl happens to think selling girl scout cookies is the bomb. Why? Because she likes that she’s running her own business, setting goals, making a marketing plan, trying new things to find new customers who don’t have a cookie source to increase her sales, and managing the money that is all part of the process. She likes that she automatically has a component of her business based on giving, thanks to what our council calls Operation Cookie Drop. It’s a cookie donation program for North Carolina based troops and their families on bases here and overseas. She likes that when she sells Girl Scout cookies, she’s an entrepreneur just like me.
Ponder that. My girl likes selling Girl Scout Cookies because she feels like she’s a real entrepreneur, just like her mom.
Why on God’s green earth would I mess with that in the name of a bigger fish to fry than this season of my life, or her sweet heart, can handle? But…there ARE things I am willing to do.
I am willing to volunteer to help create change. The more parents who volunteer and are willing to work to IMPROVE the system the more likely there will be change. In this case I volunteered to be the cookie Mom so her troop leaders don’t have to do it for a 4th year in a row. This lets them focus on delivering great programming during their biweekly meetings while for about three months I manage the cookie sale process with their sage advice whenever its needed.
I am willing to encourage my girl that the sky is the limit, to embrace her ideas and make solid plans to achieve her goals.
I am willing to give her my attention and my time when she needs it to support her Girl Scout activities. Things like cookie staffing cookie booths or doing a neighborhood walkabout that require an adult’s presence.
I am willing to love on my girl while she loves being a Girl Scout.
None of this is any different than how I’d support her in training for the county wide First in Fitness speed rope competition she has been chosen for, getting ready for softball season, practicing and competing in summer swim league, rehearsing her lines for the school play next month, or practicing the piano for her recital. These are all things she loves and I’ll be there to support her where I am needed no matter what. And I’m good with her growing up a bit more every day and needing less than more of my help as she tackles her world. That’s how the cookie crumbles.
Yes of course I believe the Girl Scouts can and should do better. I believe there are really brilliant people within the organization and all kinds of bright minds more than willing to work with the Girl Scouts to make positive changes for a rock solid business model. I believe that volunteer organizations have seasons where they thrive and others where they falter and its about riding the wave and not jumping off in when the water gets murky. If you believe in what an organization stands for, then its about rolling up your sleeves to help where you can best serve.
So the next time you see a Girl Scout, from the very youngest kindergarten aged Daisy just happy to be with her little friends to the high school senior Girl Scout Ambassador who is working on her final achievement, the Gold Star Award (and eligible for plenty of scholarship money because of it), think twice about saying “No thanks.” Because those cookies that seem so overpriced sold by an organization that many find beyond flawed truly do stand for SO much more to those young women asking for your support. If you don’t want to buy cookies, then donate money to the programs that support our military troops. Its up to you. Then consider getting involved so that YOU can be part of making positive change. Even Girl Scouts need a village and as a parent and past Girl Scout myself, I’m really glad to be part of it today.
What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie?
Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!