Results tagged “Cookies” from GSSA Leader Blog: The Virtual Volunteer

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Thanks to the staff at Wehle Land Conservation Center for hosting us.   Many attendees remarked to me about how beautiful the property was, even though they had done some burning recently.   The birds were abundant, and the girls seemed to have a good time, which is what it is all about.

We welcome a number of new members to Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama's board of directors.   They are Holly Adcock from Prattville, Christie Crow from Union Springs, Carrie Gray from Montgomery, Garrad Green from Mobile, Ramona Hill from Spanish Fort, and Bill Lancaster from Mobile.   We also welcome a new board chair, Janie Corlee, from Auburn.

I would like to thank the following long-time board members for their many years of service.   They include Helen Alford, who served as the board chair for two years.   Marian Loftin of Dothan was on the board from the council's inception.   Alonzetta Landrum-Sims, from Montgomery, was part of Girl Scouts of South Central Alabama's board of directors, so she has served many years. Dr. Larry Turner, from Chatom, joined the board not long after GSSA was born.    Finally, Alisa Summerville has been involved for two board terms.   All have spent hours working in the best interest of the girls on topics most troop leaders aren't interested in, including budgets, financial statements, audits, contracts, insurance, and other facets of doing business as a not-for-profit.   In addition to these wonderful folks, I would like to thank Nancy Greenwood, who has served as the board chair for the past two years.   Nancy has provided consistent, reliable and supportive leadership during her tenure.

The other business of the meeting included electing the delegates and alternates to the 2014 GSUSA National Convention in Salt Lake City.   In the near future, we will begin to share the business before that convention for member input and comments.   We distribute that input and comments to the board delegation, so they can effectively represent you.

The report passed out at the annual meeting, which is retrospective to the 2012-2013 year, is now on the website.   The reason this goes back that far is because our annual audit for that year is not complete until February, so all the information on that report is for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Each year, we also like to report to troops what their troop proceeds are for the cookie program.   We are still cleaning up some of the details, but we believe parents should be informed of how much the troop made in proceeds.   Each year, I'm asked whether troops make only 10 cents per box sold.   That is not accurate!  The amount varies because of troop bonus and service unit bonuses, but it is much more than 10 cents per box.   If you click here, you can search for your troop and the minimum your troop should have from the 2014 cookie program.

We are always happy to take questions about the annual report, financials or any other questions.   Please send them to communications@girlscoutssa.org.

The very best part of the 2014 annual meeting was awarding three Girl Scouts who earned their Gold Awards.   They are highlighted in this annual report.   We would like to congratulate them and all the girls who earned Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards this year.   These girls rock!  

liz_brent.jpgDoes it seem like they are taking over your life?  I know that's how many of us feel this time of year, but now is the time for the final push to reach our goals before the sale ends.

The #1 reason the general public has for not purchasing cookies is that no one asked them.   I was at my local Walmart this weekend, and there were no girls there selling cookies.   Last year, this particular location was a hot spot because the leaders working it told me they had done very well there, so I was puzzled to see no girls there this year.

I know most of you are working hard to reach your goals and ergo the council cookie goal for the sale, which we certainly appreciate.   The sale has been down some this year, and we are working hard as a council to meet our goals, as well.

We have been confronted almost weekly with this allegation that Girl Scouts is connected with Planned Parenthood, and this is all a conspiracy.   Well, we are NOT connected with Planned Parenthood or any similar organization, and we teach girls to be courageous girls who have confidence and character.   We don't want this vicious allegation to hurt the girls of this council.  

GSSA girls have always been top cookie program sellers compared to other councils across the nation.   We don't see any reason why this can't be the case this year.   Please let folks know this supports their local girls and the funds for the cookie program don't leave the area.

We have been working on some end of sale tips, since sometimes you might feel like you are out of gas.   Here's some good ideas.

Each year, I delight in some of the stories I hear from parents and volunteers about the cookie program.   One family decided their daughter needed to be a Girl Scout to 'change her attitude.'   Not only has it changed her attitude, her father relayed to me this Daisy is a fantastic cookie seller, and she loves it. I also have loved seeing the fun pictures posted on Facebook for the Walkabout Weekend photo contest.  Looks like the girls had a great time!

Remember, sometimes it is simply a matter of asking.   We hope that your girls meet their goals, so we can meet the council goals.   In the meantime, thank you for the wonderful work you do to teach girls the many valuable lessons from the cookie program.

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We scoured the internet for tips on selling cookies! Here's a roundup, including a link to our Pinterest boards, which covers many more.

 

Sell in underserved areas

There are areas in our council that don't have many troops -- this means lots of cookie buyers are just waiting for YOU! You don't have to be from a town to have a booth sale there. Booths are needed in Greenville, Selma, Monroeville, Tuskegee, Clio and Rehobeth. Sign up in SNAP today!

 

Sell at college dorms

What do college kids love more than anything? Sweet treats. And most college campuses are remote from choices. Show up at the dorm with Girl Scout Cookies, you'll be flooded with sales!

 

Churches and other public places

Go to church? Ask your minister if you may set up a booth in front. The parishioners may be hungry after the service and would love to have some Thin Mints for the trip home.

 

Sell to grandma, and all her friends and neighbors

Remember to wear your full uniform.  Perhaps the lady across the hall or street from Grandma used to be a troop leader and can share her favorite Girl Scout memories.

 

Offer a sample
Open one box (you'll have to pay for that one) and break cookies into small samples on a nice plate. No one can resist!

Remind customers to stock up
Ask people to buy a whole case so they have enough for the whole year.  Give away a large zip-top freezer bag with large purchases. Cookies freeze great!

Call on last year's customers
Save your order card for next year so you can return to your customers and ask them again.

Ask, ask, and ask again
When you deliver cookies, ask customers if they would like to buy more than they ordered.

Create a Gift of Caring program
Customers buy cookies that you deliver to a charity or community group. Make booth signs that tell customers about this choice. Create a drop box so customers can see the donated cookies stacking up.  Ask if they would like use their change to help purchase Gift of Caring cookies.

Upsell with "Buy 5" contest
Would your customers like to win 72 boxes of delicious cookies?  YES! They need only buy five boxes and fill out  the "Buy 5" entry form to be entered into a contest.

Bundle up the cookie goodness!
With pretty ribbon, tie up three packages to create bundles such as "Chocolate Lovers Pack" or "Classic Bundle." It's fun to give away free handmade gift cards, too.

Print out recipes and offer one free when they buy more than one package. 

Check out our Pinterest Boards for more great tips!


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What a great way to celebrate our Cookie Entrepreneurs!  We've created a special Facebook photo album for photos that you take of your girls on Walkabout Weekend, January 24-26, 2014.

Take a photo of your Girl Scout or Troop/Group as she/they go door-to door selling cookies during this year's Walkabout Weekend  and send it to us at communications@girlscoutssa.org.  

 

We will post all the photos in a special Facebook photo album for everyone to vote on by "liking"!  If you post the image on your own social media, use the hashtag #cookieboss so everyone can see the "cookiebosses" in your Troop!

Become a fan of our Facebook page to vote for your favorite photos. Simply click on the Walkabout Weekend photo album on our Facebook page to join the fun. The photo that receives the most likes will win 100 Program Credits, good for our shops, resident camp, and event registrations.

 

You can submit as many photos as you like before March 2,2014, 11:59 p.m. You and everyone else can like your favorite entries until then. The photo with the most likes will be the winner! 

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We've spent the week working on delivery schedules, packing in cookies at the cookie cupboards and pantries, and cleaning up issues with swipe devices, so clearly the cookie chaos is about to commence.

The council goal for cookies this year is 913,488 packages or boxes of cookies.   Now, that is a lot of cookies.   This amount is what we sold last year, so we know it is achievable.   Our girls are some of the most prolific cookie sellers in the nation, with our per girl average at 200 for last year.   We hope to exceed that and the number of boxes sold.   We believe we are well positioned to make that happen.

Each year at this time, we always start planning for resident camp in earnest.   One of the goals is provide some new opportunities for the girls if we achieve the council goal.   In the past, you may recall we have purchased stand up paddleboards when we made our goal.  Another year, we installed zip lines at two of the camps because we exceeded our council cookie goal.   This year, I'm in search of what would motivate girls to work hard to sell cookies.   One item on my list is to purchase more Jon boats (flat bottomed), so girls who cannot use the canoes are able to get out on the lake in a boat.   Jon boats are much more stable, hold more girls, and you row rather than paddle, ergo the famous camp song "Row, Row, Row, Your Boat."   Purchasing more stand up paddleboards is another possibility.   We are open to suggestions on this, please give us your thoughts at communications@girlscoutssa.org.

I always feel compelled to remind troop leaders and parents that ABC Bakers, our cookie baker, has some great apps that make the cookie program a learning experience for the girls from every angle.   The app for girls to use during the cookie program is called COCO.  Click here for instructions on downloading and using the app.   I believe girls not only learn while selling cookies; when they are at home they can set goals, and establish them in a visible way they can track via the app.   The cookie program presents a great opportunity for girls to learn about the work of commerce.

I hope the cookie delivery went well and your sales are looking great.

Thank you for all you do this time of year to create girls who are young entrepreneurs and business women.

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This also means that it's time for the increase in media around the between Girl Scouts and their "supposed" connection Planned Parenthood.   This is when we receive a number of calls from troop leaders, who are blind-sided by this false claim. This time of year, there is a tremendous amount of publicity about the Girl Scout cookie sale, which produces more than $700 million in sales across the United States and is the world's largest girl-led entrepreneurial project.  Some media outlets try to gain attention to their own agendas by asserting that Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood have a relationship.   Let me be clear -- we don't.

I spent 30 years in higher education, where at least twice a year I was either on television or in the newspaper about some university-related issue.   I was always stunned and amazed that my quote was chopped off, cut up, or the sound bite wasn't the part of the interview where I was making my point.   I have some first-hand experience on how the whole truth doesn't necessarily occur in our sound-bite, twitter-sized world.   I also know that not everything I read in the media, see on television, or see on a facebook or twitter feed is true so I work hard to figure out what information I believe is true in the avalanche of information that comes at me each year.

What we see is a number of organizations that use this time of maximum attention toward our organization to assert there are conspiracies, hidden relationships, and other activities going on that don't fit with the nature of Girl Scouts.   We spend lots of time responding to volunteers' and parents' questions concerning this issue.   We can only supply information about Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama.   Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama's board has met and discussed this matter. Attached is the link that spells out GSSA's policy with respect to Planned Parenthood and other sensitive issues.   We don't have a relationship with them now.   We don't plan on having any relationship with them in the future.   We believe these value-laden discussions are best handled in the family and the church.

I cannot speak for GSUSA, but my experience of many meetings and telephone conversations with other Girl Scout CEOs across the country is that there is no discussion about a relationship with Planned Parenthood.   Each year we receive calls from frustrated volunteers and parents who have experienced someone in the girls' faces talking about Planned Parenthood and Girl Scouts.   It is often someone who is unreasonable.   You have to wonder about an adult who would do that to a girl working to sell cookies.   Rather than have the upset parents and volunteers, we wanted to get ahead of this issue for this cookie sale.  

We believe we are well positioned for a great program.   We have access to many more Wal-Marts than in the past, as well as other businesses.   The cookies are on order and will be here before we know it.   We appreciate all the work and effort you put into the world's largest girl led entrepreneurial endeavor.   Please let us know if you have encounters on the issue of Planned Parenthood or irrational individuals at cookie booths, so we can pass it along to others at that location.   Every year I'm amazed by the girls who were quiet and shy before he cookie program and blossomed learning business values through one of many of her Girl Scout activities.

 

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Incentives do work!   It is the time of year where girls are receiving all their incentives from the cookie program.   We have tried to get them to the service units as early as possible, so girls have them before the end of the year.   There are bridging ceremonies, patches and badges earned, as we feel the race to the finish and the end of the school year.   Overall it's been a good year.   I've seen a lot of girls in action, speaking, participating in civic activities and having fun indoors and outdoors.

I am especially pleased today to announce that we will soon be sending funds directly to the following service units because of your hard work.   Your service unit increased its membership by 10 percent before the end of the calendar year or you increased your cookie sales by 10 percent. Remarkably, three service units achieved both. The top bonus this year totaled $1,088.44.

Congratulations to the following service units for their hard work during the 2012-2013 year!   I know these funds will be put to good use with the girls.

The service units are:

906 (membership and cookie bonus)

927 (membership and cookie bonus)

815 (membership and cookie bonus)

804 (cookie bonus)

810 (cookie bonus)

812 (cookie bonus)

814 (cookie bonus)

823 (cookie bonus)

Thanks for all you do to build girls of courage, character, and confidence that make the world a better place.


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Thanks for all your hard work!
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Important Cookie Reminders

Please remember to:

  • Read SNAP messages - they keep you up-to-date on new developments
  • Don't leave cookie money in your car, or unattended at a booth sale or work
  • Only sell ABC cookies - we aren't allowed to sell Little Brownie Bakers cookies in our council
Combating "Cookie Fatigue"
Sometimes we feel it, too! We know the "5 Skills" that girls learn from selling cookies. There are two more skills that we, as Leaders, demonstrate, and that girls learn by watching us:
Perseverance (following through) and Diplomacy (grace under difficult circumstances); when you are ready to run screaming from a busy booth sale and go home, remember: girls are watching and learning from all we do.

Bored at a Booth Sale?
It can be hard to stay focused at a booth sale when we can't run around to burn off excess energy. Here are a few suggestions: guess what your next customer will buy; ask people their favorite cookie; be an "advocate" for the cookies you need to sell; think up and try different sale pitches ("$7 for two!").
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I've been out and about during the cookie program.   If I see girls selling cookies, I make a point and going by to thank the girls.   In every instance, the girls I met were having a great time.   Some were playing with the empty boxes while waiting for customers.   Others were trying to stay warm.   I met one group that had been out in the wind for five hours -- now that takes some fortitude.    I talked to another pair on Saturday, and just while I was there, the wind took its toll, but the girls were smiling and enjoying themselves.   Most of the ones I saw in action were excellent sales people.   They approached customers with a smile, took rejection well, and made me proud that I have the privilege of working with these girls.

As an educator my questions are always the same. What are they learning from this?   Do the girls participate in the goal setting?  Do they make decisions?   Do they learn about money management?   Do they improve their people skills?   Do they learn business ethics?   Those are the objectives of the cookie program.   The ones I saw were doing an excellent job in all those areas.

I realize most of us will be grateful when the program is over, as it creates chaos for a couple of months. I always hear stories about kids who sleep with cookies, and actually, when I travel to my dorm room in Montgomery, I sleep with cookies too.

Thank you for all you do to make the cookie program a success.   Teaching the girls these skills are lessons that will stay with them for a lifetime.

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Do you get irritated while waiting in the grocery store line, and the new checker comes in, opens the lane next to you and then takes the person waiting in line behind you?   Have you ever had to fly somewhere and pay a small fortune for an outrageously expensive airline ticket, knowing the person sitting next to you probably paid one-third of what you paid.   Where is the fairness? 

 As U.S. citizens, we have learned to line up at school at an early age. When I get ice cream, I appreciate the fact that the business has a number you can pull, so you get your turn in the order you arrived.   That's fair.  Unfortunately, most Girl Scout councils fund all their operations and expenses from the once-a-year cookie program. For the 2011-2012 membership year, 68 percent of our council's income was from the cookie program, so it is upsetting to hear a parent say "we aren't participating in the cookie program. "   I understand standing at a booth sale is a pain.   I also recognize collecting on bad checks takes time and winds up being very frustrating, but I see girls building confidence, finding their voice, managing people who are rude or don't want to buy cookies, and I'm convinced this is a good endeavor.

Many councils have implemented a program service fee, since your annual membership fee goes directly to GSUSA.  I felt that wasn't good for our council.   We want girls to participate in as many programs as possible!  Going forward, we will have different levels of pricing for council programs and services for those girls who elect to not participate in the cookie program.   It isn't fair to all the girls who participate in the cookie program to pay for those who do not.   We requested participation at a minimal level, at least 24 boxes of cookies.   If you elect not to participate in the cookie program, pricing for council programs, events, and properties will reflect the actual amount it costs to produce the program or operate the property.

This year more than 5,000 girls in our 9,000 are participating in the cookie program.   What some of those girls accomplish is unbelievable.  I spoke with a girl a week ago who was already sold more than 1,000 boxes, and we still have weeks to go.   There's still time to teach your girls how to become cookie entrepreneurs.

Thanks to those who are tired of thinking about cookies for what you do to make the world a better place through creating young entrepreneurs.

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We've been hearing and seeing troops in the media getting the word out about the Girl Scout Cookie Sale -- great job! When dealing with the media there are some key talking points for Cookie Season that we want to make sure are heard. Please refer to the document Cookie Talking Points for 2013 to help you "hit the highlights" when talking to the media.
Here are some  key points:
  • Booth Sales are from February 1 to March 3 
  • National Girl Scout Cookie Day is February 8 
  • Girl Scouts develop 5 essential skills- Goal Setting, Decision Making, Money Management, People Skills and Business Ethics 
  • The public can go to www.girlscoutscookies.org or download the iPhone or Android Cookie App locator to find a booth sale near them 
  • There are 8 different flavors to buy for $3.50 each, with the Thin Mint ranking #1 nationally, beating out the Oreo.  
Please contact Director of PR and Marketing, Meghan Cochrane, at 800-239-6636 ext 2907 or at mcochrane@girlscoutssa.org any time you will be featured on TV or Radio. We love to hear about good press! 
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Share your Goals at your Booth.
Make a goal chart or use this one (11x17)
 
We Take Credit Cards table cards to print  
 
Check out a Cookie Costume at your local Council Service Center!
 
Cookie booth ideas on Pinterest
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Remember that the Booth Host Request letter (Montgomery/Mobile)  and Booth Host Permission form are your friends.
 
They spell out the expectations on both sides -- and are especially handy if, when you arrive for a booth sale, the manager that gave permission isn't on duty and forgot to tell anyone! 
 
 

 

What's Wrong with this Booth?

 

There are at least 11 things wrong with this picture.  Click here for a fun document to review with your girls.
 
Before your booth sale, remember to have your girls read and sign the Booth Etiquette Pledge.  We are guests at booths, and our girls learn valuable lessons when they are on their best behavior! 
 
Upcoming Deadlines
 
Friday, Jan 25, 6 a.m. -   Booth Sale site reservations change

(5 per day, 3 days)  

 

Fri - Sun, Jan 25-27 - Walkabout Weekend & Photo Contest  

 

Fri - Sun, Jan 25-27 - planned order in SNAP (due by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday) (https://www.abcsnap.com).
 
Monday, Jan 28, 6 a.m. - No restrictions on Booth Sale site reservations.  
 
Friday, Feb 1 - Booth Sales Begin
 
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What better way to celebrate the Girl Scout Cookie Program than with fabulous photos of our girls? 

Take a photo of your Girl Scout or Troop/Group as she/they go door-to door selling cookies during this year's Walkabout Weekend and send it to communications@girlscoutssa.org.  We will load it into a photo album on our facebook page for everyone to vote on!

Become a fan of our Facebook page to vote for your favorite photos. Simply click on the Photo Contest album at the top of our Facebook page to join the fun. Once our fans vote on their favorite photo, we will choose the winner, who will receive 100 Program Credits, good for our shops, resident camp, and event registrations.

You can submit as many photos as you like before March 3, 2013, 11:59 p.m. You and everyone else can vote for your favorite entries. The photo with the most votes will be the winner!  The winner will be announced March 15, 2013.  

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It's January, and the cookie the craziness has begun. The offices smell somewhat different than usual -- it must be Mango Crème's.   And they certainly look different, with furniture moved aside so we can shift cases from one space to another.  

I've already heard two stories of people being flagged down by others unknown to purchase cookies, one at a Waffle House.   There must be something about Waffle House as I hear a similar story to that every year.   We, of course, love to hear the fun stories about cookies, and there are usually plenty of them.   If you have a great story, please let our new director of public relations and marketing, Meghan Cochrane, know.   She can be reached at mcochrane@girlscoutssa.org or call either office and dial extension 2907.   If you need more media releases in your area, please let us know.   We put out the media kits before the holidays.   Thanks to those troop leaders, girls, and press reps that made that happen.   It is a lot of work, but it's fun.

The council's initial order was about the same as it was last year, which was disappointing because I think most volunteers found they did not get caught with cookies.   We've also heard others say they need to come to the cupboard and refill already because their initial order is sold.   We LOVE that!   You go girls!   Like you, we don't want to get caught with cookies either.   This is why we ask you to do planned orders.   We order cookies for the cupboard based on your planned orders.   We keep some additional in the cupboard, but you know what it is like to be "caught" with cookies at the end.   We also don't want to have that happen, so inventory management during the sale, albeit a pain, really does assist us in not getting "caught" with cookies.   You might think, well it's not my problem if the council gets stuck with the cookies.   That is true, but the girls pay for it, whether it is your troop or the council, so planning is a beautiful thing.   I certainly understand, though, that sometimes you can't plan.

If you need additional pick-up hours for large orders, we are always happy to accommodate you.   Last year we had the cupboards open for long spans of time.   In fact, I received complaints when folks arrived to find out college guys snoozing while waiting to fill orders.   This is what college guys do when not occupied.  We are cutting back on the number of hours, again, to save the girls money.   However, if you need additional hours or exceptions for pick-ups, please contact the cookie hotline at 800-239-6636, option 5, and we will work it out.   This should be done in advance.  We do want to sell cookies, we want to be of service to you during the cookie sale, but we also need to be fiscally conscious because all the money is the girls' money.

We do love to hear the stories about the sale.   Let us know what is going on!  Thanks for all you do to make this a successful program.

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I'm sitting in the Volunteer Center writing this while surrounded by cases of cookies.   The smell is almost overwhelming -- fresh cookies, just off the truck from the baker.   The world's largest girl-led entrepreneurial program is about to commence!

I want to run through a few reminders of issues we encounter during the cookie program.

1.    Girls must be registered as a Girl Scout for the current membership year, which started October 1, 2012, to sell cookies.   That means she and/or her parent needed to fill out the paperwork, sign the form and provide the requisite $12 annual membership fee.

2.    Girls and their parents must complete and familiarize themselves with the permission forms to sell, which also highlight the safety rules for selling.   Assuring safety is always a concern in working with girls, especially in parking lots with cash in hand during a tough economy.

3.    The best cookie program experience for the girls is one that involves using the program materials that the cookie baker has developed.   These can be accessed by going to www.abcsmartcookie.com and signing up for COCO Cookie Command.   The fun activities (materials) emphasize the five goals of the cookie program.

4.    If you are having issues or troubles with facets of the sale it is better to let us know sooner rather than later.   We will have a cookie hot line going during the sale.  The telephone number for the cookie hot line is our council phone number, 800-239-6636, option 5.

5.    ABC Bakers, our cookie baker, also has a hotline available if you are having issues using SNAP or COCO, they can be reached by 800-221-1002.

6.    We are pleased that the new cookie this year is receiving some excellent attention. I saw it this morning on ABC's Good Morning America program.   It is a mango crème cookie with Nutrifusion.   Nutrifusion means the baker actually used the mangoes and coconut in the filling more directly than in a typical sandwich cookie.   As we know, smelling is a very large part of flavor, so give it a whiff.   It is like an inexpensive trip to a tropical island without leaving the state.

7.    Every year this is when we have anonymous calls and accusations about the "conspiracy" between Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood.   Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama does not have a relationship with Planned Parenthood. We do not provide them any funds and believe these issues are best discussed within a family and church setting.   GSSA's board-approved statement on this topic can be found on this link, What GSSA Stands For.   This mythology always reaches a peak during the cookie program.

8.    Vegan is a new label on the Cookie Order Card this year.  The Thin Mints are labeled Vegan.  Lemonaids, Thanks-a-Lots and Peanut Butter Patties are Vegan, but are not labeled as such. ABC Bakers have NOT changed the anything in the cookie recipes, and these cookies always have been Vegan.

9.    This is supposed to be fun.   I've been around some tremendous leaders who have made this an incredible learning experience for the girls, and I have seen girls grow and come out of their silence during this program.   I recognize this is a tough sell to you, since you have picked up your cookies, have the always errant parent who never pays, gives you a bad check, or does something else absolutely infuriating.   We hear horror stories daily about frustrating behaviors on the part of others during this experience.   And trust me, we have to deal with most of those. 

My least favorite cookie-related issue occurred during the first two years I was here.  We had two instances of parents throwing cookie boxes at one another in front of the girls because there was a fight over who got which door at the Wal-mart cookie booth sale.   As you see, now if you are doing a booth sale, one troop takes both doors.   Please let us know if you experience troop leaders not illustrating the Girl Scout Law and Promise.   Children see us as role models.

And most important, thank you for all you do during this incredible learning experience.  Last year we sold more than $3 million in Girl Scout cookies.    The girls, with your assistance, made enough money to install zip lines, a new bath house, and a new sail loft at our properties.   That is because you shared your time, patience, diligence, and responsibility with them so they could learn to be the best entrepreneurial program for girls in the world!

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Can you smell it?    Does it remind you of summer breezes and warm summer weather?   It should! It is the scent of mango crème cookies, which remind you of an afternoon at the beach and smell like a refreshing swim in a beautiful pool with the hot sun bearing down.   There's always something new in the air this time of year -- must be the precursor of the world's largest girl entrepreneur program - the Girl Scout Cookie Program!

As I am out in the community, I'm asked, "where are the cookies?"   The answer to that this week is they are about to arrive!   The conversation after that is always interesting.    Most people note the cookie they prefer, from there they go on to explain why they like Girl Scout cookies.   Part of this conversation always goes back to how they cannot resist the girl selling the cookies.

This year GSUSA is going to do some national media advertising during the cookie sale, and they have declared February 8, 2013, is National Girl Scout Cookie Day!   We are working on our area media for that day.   Here is what GSUSA has outlined as talking points for the cookie program.

When a Girl Scout sells you cookies, she's doing more than just handing you a box.   She's creating a plan, interacting with customers, and working as part of a team.   She's building a lifetime of skills and confidence.

Selling cookies teaches goal-setting, decision-making, money-management, people skills, and business ethics - aspects essential to leadership, to success, and to life.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program empowers a girl with the strength, abilities, and drive to become an accomplished woman who benefits herself, her family, and the world.   From heads of the household to heads of state, troop leaders to world leaders, Girl Scouts touches every aspect of society.

So, when you are tired to hearing about cookies, thinking about cookies, or moving cookies, remember: this is what a girl can do to change the world.

Thanks for all you do to assist her in accomplishing those goals.

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The Cookie Sale has Begun!  Here are some upcoming deadlines:
 
Sunday, Jan 13 - planned order in SNAP due by 11:59 p.m. (https://www.abcsnap.com).
 
 Jan 14-19 - Cookie Delivery
 
Tuesday, Jan 15 - Service Unit Booth Sale List to Council
 
Cookie Booth and Sales Tips now on Pinterest!  
Pinterest is a social media site where you can see and share pictures and information from all over the web.  GSSA now has "boards" with links to great cookie booth ideas and cookie sales tips. More links will be added throughout the Cookie Sale.  Check it out! 
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I was talking to a GSUSA consultant a couple of weeks ago, and she asked what our per-girl average is for the cookie program.   When I told her, she was stunned.   She had been a Girl Scout board chair and has worked for the Girl Scouts for many years, so she knows what a girl can do.   She was stunned at how high our per-girl average is.   I explained that not only was Alabama known for some great football teams, but also our girl entrepreneurs are simply amazing, and you are, too.

As we teeter on the fiscal cliff, I expect more folks will be declining our offers of the best-tasting cookies in America.    People tend to be more cautious with their money because of the harsh and uncertain economic times, but that does not deter the girls of southern Alabama.   Our cookies remain $3.50 while other councils have moved to $4 and some even to $5.  Of course, this is less than the largest latte at Starbucks, but people do think about these purchases.  I have heard about girls who sell cookies in atypical and unusual places, whether that is at a shopping mall, community festivals, return visits through the neighborhood.   Persistence is a good thing at this time of year.

I always enjoy hearing stories about girls' adventures during the cookie program.   They range in both good and bad, mostly good though.   In some areas, we have heard that people come up to girls at booth sales to say Girl Scouts support Planned Parenthood.   We do not support Planned Parenthood, we don't give them any money, and we don't have discussions with them.   Our values at GSSA are that those types of conversations are best left for families and within a church context.   Our telephones always light up this time of year about the conspiracy with Planned Parenthood, which is an urban myth because we don't have a relationship.

Just to give you an idea how great you are.  Last year we gave our U.S. service men and women an estimated $6,000 in cookies.   Recently, in the fall product sale, we sent 63 cases, 756 cans of Honey Roasted Nuts valued at $3,780 to the troops, as well.

We know that girls learn the following from the cookie program: goal setting, decision making, business ethics, customer relations, and money management.  So in addition to gaining funds for troop goals, they are gaining skills that will serve them throughout their lives. 


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