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.