Everyone loves the ooey-gooey caramel-coconut goodness of Samoas and peanut butter deliciousness that is the Do-si-do, but Girl Scout cookies do much more than satisfy that hankering for something sweet.
From organizational skills to product knowledge, Girl Scouts are learning the ins and outs of financial literacy, says Catherine Fowlkes, regional executive for Rutherford County.
“They learn how to follow through with their goals, they learn people skills and business ethics and money management -- it’s basic, all around financial literacy,” she said.
For some girls, selling cookies provides a chance to be outgoing and conversational.
“It helps girls get out in the community and talk to people and (helps) them be more out going and have that courage and confidence,” Fowlkes continued. “I think that whole bond you have with being in a group does help build confidence and build courage and teaches you how to be an individual and have a voice.”
These are characteristics and lessons that girls can take with them throughout their adolescence and teenage years and into their professional careers.
“A lot of business women cite selling Girl Scout cookies as one of their first work experiences, in a way, and have used it in interviews as an example of learning good sales techniques and learning how to market and how to manage an account, for lack of better way to put it,” explained Susan Chapman, Girl Scouts spokeswoman.
“Obviously it is age progressive, but as they learn something new, and as they grow older and keep participating in cookie sales, they continue to learn.”
Even through rejection and “No, thank yous,” Girl Scouts learn to keep asking and keep buiding their contacts to get more “Yeses,” which further builds their confidence, Chapman says.
Cookie sales also teach young girls about setting budgets and achieving goals.
“A good portion of the money goes back to the troops, and we encourage girls to make a plans for what they want to do with that money,” Chapman said, adding that plans are made before cookies are sold.
“Our goal is that parents aren’t funding this, our goal is that the girls are learning to fund it themselves.”
Girl Scouts also learn about each of the cookies and are provided recipes using the cookies to pass onto customers. By arming the girls with product knowledge, they can effectively answer most questions about cookie flavors and major ingredients.
“It gives girls a sense of success that all of it comes together,” Chapman concluded. “They build their confidence, they learn to set goals, they achieve their goals, and when you wrap all that up into a nice little package, it’s a great sense of success.”
Loyal cookie lovers who have already placed orders should be receiving their boxes this week, and Girl Scout Troops will continue booth sales until March 4.