Many of the values and lifelong skills are illustrated through the cookie program experience. Girls find their voice, suddenly able to speak to strangers and gracefully accept "no" for an answer. One of the more interesting facets of the learning experienced during the cookie program is how troops decide what to do with the cookie proceeds for the troop.
This is a great place for Girl Scouts to truly be "girl led." One of the beautiful things about girls in a troop is that they often have to negotiate with one another. Testing negotiation skills, leadership skills, and how to make group decisions enhances the girl experience. I have heard a number of anecdotal stories about how girls determine what to do with their proceeds. I have to admit I'm often entertained and surprised with what they do.
The most common use of cookie proceeds is the groups that fund their summer camp experience. We have girls that sell enough to attend camp at both Camp Scoutshire Woods and Kamp Kiwanis. I met two of those girls last week. They are excited about using the cookie program to pay for their camp experience. Those activities also build their skills. These girls were excited about what camp experiences they would have this summer.
We hear about lots of girls that go to the McWane Science Center or the Georgia Aquarium. Both hold many learning opportunities in a fun venue. For most of our girls, these are significant trips and provide an opportunity to travel and see more than their hometown. Some other things that I think are educationally valuable and interesting are the Selma to Montgomery Interpretive Centers; one is located in Selma and the other in Lowndes County. Given the buzz around the anniversary of the march and the movie "Selma," it would be a good year for this visit. I also like the Tuskegee Airmen Museum in Tuskegee, whichis en route to Auburn and/or Atlanta. Two other places of note are the Naval Air Station Pensacola; one of our Gold Award recipients is based there in flight training. They have an interesting museum with lots of hands-on activities, a bus tour, and for additional funds about four IMAX movies. A new place that I have not visited yet is the Infinity Science Center located on Stennis Air Force Base on the western edge of Mississippi on I-10. They have all sorts of interesting space exhibits. Huntsville's Space and Rocket Center is another great place for girls to visit.
I know many girls take this opportunity to visit larger zip lines than the ones we offer at camp, overnights in new and different places. I would put in a plug for Wehle Center in Bullock County. They have fantastic facilities at a reasonable cost. We also have lots of troops who use camps they don't regularly visit within GSSA. Then there are the always-fun visits to water parks, zoos, and other events and activities close to where you live. I hope your girls learn the power of being "girl led" through the cookie program.
Thank you for all you do to make that possible for them.