Monday, August 8, 2022

Don’t worry, you’ll still get your Thin Mints this year. Here’s what Girl Scouts in the area are doing for cookie season

Thanks to virtual technology, Girl Scouts can conduct sales through a new digital platform and learn entrepreneurial skills while doing it. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast)

It’s that time of the year again when Girl Scouts across the country will be advertising cookie sales. 

Cookie season starts in January and goes until March, but some troops start as early as September. 

Needless to say, expect to buy some cookies soon.

But because of the coronavirus pandemic, a Girl Scout’s selling strategy may look a little different this season.

At the very end of last cookie season, many scouts found themselves still having to make deliveries as states began to shut down in response to the pandemic, but Tracy Keller, former Girl Scout and CEO of Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast, said quarantining didn’t stop them. 

“Our girls were just ingenious last year in pivoting and shifting ever so quickly to make sure they got their product to their customer in the safest way possible,” Keller said. 

“I’m not ashamed to say I got my best leadership advice from a bunch of 10- and 12-year-olds who didn’t miss a beat,” she added.

Keller said many Girl Scouts were doing porch drop-offs and offering curbside pick-ups for orders before many retail stores started offering the same.

Other Girl Scouts also sold boxes of cookies to bring to emergency workers accompanied with thank you notes.

Girl Scouts also have had a digital platform for nearly five years with the functionality growing each year. They use the platform to boost sales, track their goals and keep in touch with customers.

The platform also works as an educational tool by teaching girls about internet safety and providing marketing and strategizing tips. 

Girl Scouts can also use the digital platform to conduct sales and finalize transactions, no matter the customer’s location. 

Keller said having this platform available to them really helped the Girl Scouts when the pandemic hit. 

“It was really timely for us last year because it made it so people felt they could get their cookies in the safest way possible,” Keller said. 

This season, Girl Scouts are looking for other ways to sell and deliver their cookies.

Keller said they are looking into using parking lots to set up drive-thru cookie booths, since many sales tend to happen in front of big box stores like Walmart and other grocery stores. 

“We’re starting now to look for businesses who might be willing to share their parking lots with us,” Keller said.

Businesses interested in working with the cookie program can visit the GSCCC website. 

But it’s not just about selling cookies. 

Many programs have either been postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic. This season’s Cookie Classic run will be held virtually, whereas the Samoa Soiree has been postponed until further notice.

GSCCC is also starting back up with outdoor programs, such as archery and canoeing. Keller said programs like hiking and camping reminded them what their core was. 

The Girl Scouts this past year also released 40 new badges pertaining to STEM and civil subjects. 

But Keller said going virtual with many of the programs and events also reduced physical boundaries. 

“The Girl Scout council in Hawaii had a virtual Minecraft-themed day camp, and a girl in Virginia could register for that who loved Minecraft,” she said. “It was really cool to see girl scouts meet other scouts from across the country.”

While many programs remain virtual at this time, Keller said they are still actively recruiting new members year round.

And for those who just can’t wait to get their hands on a box of Thin Mints, customers can download the Girl Scout Cookie Finder app to find sales and cookie booths in their area. 

Worth noting: The cookie finder will become active when GSCCC starts the cooking program in early January.

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