While it may seem like our favorite traditions are still taking a hit from COVID-19 and its variants, there’s one we can count on this year – the return of Girl Scout cookies.
In other words, America’s favorite door-to-door sales team is back.
The 2022 Girl Scout Cookie season is ongoing and runs until March 6. Girl Scouts in southwest Louisiana are taking orders and selling their ever-irresistible cookies, with new looks this year.
The first half of Cookie Season, when Scouts take orders, runs until February 10. These orders can be placed directly with the Girl Scout using a physical order card or cookie lovers can use Digital Cookie to place orders online.
The second half of the sale starts on February 11 and ends on March 6. This is when the Girl Scouts will be set up in booths in front of local businesses. To find cookie stands in the area, visit www.gslpg.org/cookies.
A Girl Scout herself growing up, Cassandra Phillips is now director of marketing and development for Girl Scouts of Louisiana-Pines to the Gulf and says cookie season is her favorite time of year.
“As a girl, I looked forward to the cookie sale,” she said. “I absolutely loved it and remember looking forward to Christmas, of course, but cookie season started right after Christmas and it was something to look forward to once the holidays were over.”
She said her favorite part was walking around neighborhoods, making new friends and visiting old ones – something that ultimately had an effect on her self-confidence.
“Our first and foremost mission is to help girls learn skills that they will use in their lives,” Phillips said. “It’s not just cookies, it’s a whole way of learning that’s unlike anything a school learning environment could ever present.”
Phillips said the Girl Scout Cookie program emphasizes five skills — goal setting, decision making, money management, interpersonal skills and business ethics.
“These girls are setting goals for how many cookies they want to sell, how they’re going to sell them, where their booths will be, where they’re going to make those demands in the neighborhood,” Phillps said. “Then they have to make smart decisions as they go to achieve those goals.”
Phillips said the girls are entrepreneurs and it’s their cookie business.
“They need to know how much the cookies are going to be sold, how much they’re going to fundraise and then what that funding is going to pay for — their travels and community projects,” she said. “They need to know how many cookies to sell to pay for what they want to do.”
While doing this, they develop interpersonal skills by talking to community members and they learn to be honest and responsible with their cookie business and what is good for it.
Phillips said the first sale of a Girl Scout cookie was in Muskogee, Okla., in 1917.
“This is the first known cookie sale, all homemade, by a Girl Scout,” Phillips said. “Then in 1922, that’s when they finalized the cookie recipe and the business plans were shared.”
In the 1930s the Girl Scout logo started appearing on cookie tins, in the 90s cookies were sent to space, and in 2014 Digital Cookie was launched.
“It’s really an integration of the Girl Scout program and technology in terms of cookie sales,” Phillips said. “Each girl has her own unique connection to selling cookies. It’s kind of new age, but still really cool – especially in this time of COVID. It was launched many years before COVID, but has proven to be very useful last year.
There’s a new cookie this year: Adventurefuls, a brownie-inspired cookie with a crème caramel filling, chocolate drizzle and a touch of sea salt. It’s the ninth cookie to join the lineup of Thin Mints, Trefoils, Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-Si-Dos, Lemon Ups, S’mores and Toffee-tastic (which are gluten-free).
“I’m a huge Samoa fan but I know people who don’t like them because of the coconut and I have to say the Adventurefuls are kind of perfect for those people,” Phillips said. “The Adventurefuls is the essence of Samoa without that coconut.”
Phillips said it’s important to remember that the Girl Scouts are so much more than the cookie program.
“When people think of Girl Scouts, they think of cookies and crafts and camping,” Phillips said with a laugh. “While those are all things we do, Girl Scouts are so, so, so much more than those things. Our girls arrive and we give them the opportunity to meet other girls their age, to meet other girls who are interested in what they are doing.
Girls Scouts is unique, she says, because it’s for girls in an environment that isn’t influenced by anything but the girls around them.
“They’re empowered and educated about the powerful women who came before them and shown that they can do whatever they want,” Phillips said.
These powerful women all include Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey, Celene Dion, Hillary Clinton, Sally Ride, Venus Williams, Dakota Fanning, Vanessa Hudgens, Carey Fisher, Gwyneth Paltrow, Queen Latifah, Lucille Ball and Dionne Warwick.
“It’s actresses, politicians, astronauts, mathematicians, philosophers, all these amazing women from all these different time periods who were Girl Scouts,” Phillips said.
The Girl Scouts also host the Cookie for A Cause program where customers can purchase boxes of cookies and have them delivered to the military, healthcare providers, food banks, first responders and food pantries.
In 2021, nearly 65,000 packets of cookies were donated through this program – including “case-by-case” to doctors, nurses, cleaners, maintenance staff at Christus Ochsner Lake Area Hospital, “anyone who was running the hospital during COVID,” Phillips mentioned.
She said it’s an opportunity for people to support Girl Scouts even if they don’t necessarily want the cookies themselves.
To learn more about Girl Scout Cookies and the benefits they provide to local communities, visit www.gslpg.org/cookies.