February 2014 Archives

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We have been working during the cookie program on summer camp planning and are making some changes as a result of the camper comments and suggestions made at the end of last summer.  In order to ensure every girl can experience what camp has to offer, there was a need to dramatically cut the number of programs offered.  This suggestion was heard repeatedly last year from both camps.   For example, not everyone got to run the zip lines or ride the banana boat, so this year we will be certain if the boat that tows the banana boat is working, everyone that wants to ride the banana boat will.

Focus will be continued on Girl Scout badge work in every program offered but we are going with a few broad themes so camp planning is less complex.  As a parent it will be easier to select a camp.   Don't worry, there will be plenty of new and fun things to do!  We are offering a distinct, skill-building badge program for each age based on each week's theme.  The theme for the first week of Scoutshire Woods and the first week of Kamp Kiwanis will be "Kamp Katniss", based on the popular movie The Hunger Games, which focuses on outdoor skills, adventure games and archery.   The second week of Scoutshire Woods is "Pioneer Girl" which goes nicely with building traditional camp skills.  For the last week of Kamp Kiwanis, we have "Experimental Explorers", a week full of scientific exploration and experimentation.   And as always at Camp Scoutshire Woods, we will offering the horse program.

This year our council is adding a very convenient and exciting day camp option.   As we discuss camp with parents, many don't want their girl away from home at night or camp competes with soccer and softball.   In an effort to provide a great camp experience there will be day camp options at Camp Scoutshire Woods and Kamp Kiwanis.   Planning with transportation companies to transport girls to both properties daily is in the works.   Campers need to be dropped off at the Mobile Service Center between 7-8 a.m. and will return between 5-6 p.m. for the Camp Scoutshire Woods session.   The same will be the case for Kamp Kiwanis, as we are working on transportation from the Montgomery Service Center. If there is sufficient interest from Auburn then a location will be determined. The day camp option will be $250 per week or 785 boxes of cookies with a cash deposit of $50 to attend.

Since day campers will be on the property, rather than turtle time after lunch, we are working to bring in local experts on a variety of topics.   Hopefully, there will be some herps come to camp during that time, as well as some raptors and other great fun, learning experiences.

Still in the planning stages, is a great opportunity for an older girls' camp at the Wehle Conservation Center.   This will be a resident camp that we can take full advantage of the resources available there.  In addition to the wonderful resources, they also have an air-conditioned dormitory.   The plan is to work with those older girls interested in this opportunity to shape the program they desire with a focus on leadership skills.

Sailing camp is still part of the mix and we are in the process of setting the dates.   There has been interest in sailing 1 camp and sailing 2 camp, but we will need enough girls to make that work, otherwise we will continue with the mixed skill levels.

If you have questions or a specific interest in summer resident camps or day camps, please contact Amy Farrar, at afarrar@girlscoutssa.org

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!

caramel-sash.jpgHere's a roundup of all the fun contests going on during the 2014 Cookie Sale Program:

Contest for Customers    

Buy 5: Customers who buy five boxes of cookies can fill out an entry form for a random drawing to win SIX CASES of COOKIES .  The troop who sold to the lucky winner also wins a $50 GSSA shop gift card!

Contests for Troops 
NEW!  Collect the Most Buy 5 Slips: The troop that turns in the most "Buy 5" entry forms (based on per girl average, so it's fair to all troops, large or small) will receive a $50 GSSA shop gift card!

 

Walkabout Weekend: There is still time (until March 2) to encourage your friends and family to "like" your photo in our Facebook Walkabout Weekend photo album.  The photo with the most "likes" will win 100 Program Credits for the troop.

 

Contests for Girls
Top Cookie Sellers: Top Seller wins choice of iPad or 400 Program Credits. The 2nd and 3rd top seller and top-selling family (more than 2,200 packages) wins choice of Kindle Fire or 200 Program Credits.
 
NEW! Top Regional Sellers: We have divided up the council into five regions with roughly the same number of girls.  The top seller from each region will win a choice of a Kindle Fire or 200 Program Credits (winners of the above contest are excluded from this one).
 
100+ Boxes: For every 100 boxes of cookies sold, your name will be entered into a drawing for a Kindle Fire!  There is no limit on number of times you can enter (e.g., sell 600 boxes, and you get 6 entries; sell 1,000 boxes, you get 10 entries).
 
Of course, in addition to these contests, there are all the fun recognitions that girls can earn! (Applicable to troops that choose recognitions.)
 
Contest for Councils     
COCO: That's right -- Councils compete amongst themselves, too!  The council with the highest average of girls who sell even ONE box of cookies using the COCO smart phone app will win a cash prize.  Our CEO has designated this prize (if we win) to purchasing jon boats for our camps.  So if the council wins, the girls win!   

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