This is the time of year when you can usually find a Girl Scout cookie table outside of every major store, inviting shoppers to take care of their cravings for Thin Mints, Samoas and tons of other yummy baked snacks.
But according to local Girl Scouting leaders, since the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, it’s been harder for local scouts to find businesses willing to let them set up a table.
Because of this, Girl Scout troops like Dawson County’s Troop 10618 have been finding creative ways to raise money while helping you get your cookie fix.
Troop Leader Kellie Carter said that when last year’s pandemic hit and everything shut down, she and the Girl Scouts in her group ended up with too many cookies they were unable to sell. So going into this year’s cookie season, the troop was understandably apprehensive.
“Last year we got stuck with cookies at the end; normally we have extra time to sell them and then COVID hit, so it just didn’t happen,” Carter said. “We did manage to get out of our debt last year, but this year we were really scared to try it — so we’ve been doing a lot of virtual booths, door delivery, no contact, however we have to do it.”
Carter said that this year, many of the local stores and businesses that usually allow Girl Scouts to set up tables have strictly limited the Girl Scouts’ cookie sales. So Carter and her co-leader Lauren have had to get creative with social media posts, virtual cookie sales, door-to-door delivery and doing all they can to help the scouts sell their cookies while still keeping the girls and customers safe.
“Some of the stores either aren’t allowing anything, or they’re allowing very few or being very strict, so it’s gonna be a different season,” Carter said. “We just want the girls to have some normalcy, so we’re all just really trying to think outside the box this year.”
But the troop’s leaders aren’t the only ones getting creative with how to raise money for the Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts Faith, Capriana, Eva and Addie, who range in age from 6 to 9 years old, have come up with their own ways to bring in more customers.
The latest of their ideas is the “cookie gnome”; little figures modeled after the ever-popular garden gnome.
“Our girls actually made little cookie gnomes we’re getting ready to sell,” Carter said. “They sat there and made them by hand, and we’re starting to get the word out for those which will be a little extra money coming in — that’s 100 % proceeds.”
The girls have handmade each gnome to represent each of the eight cookit types they sell. They will sell the gnomes for $10 a piece.
“The gnomes have their little beards and they have whatever special cookie you like, so if you like the Thin Mints the best you get a little Thin Mint on it,” Carter said. “We just thought that everybody likes handmade stuff so we’ve been doing really good with that — and that’s been really good because that’s one hundred percent all going to any special things we’re doing with the girls.”
According to Carter, the money raised by the scouts is incredibly important because it goes to support the girls themselves, as well as any projects or experiences they participate in. In a year unlike any other, Carter said that so far they have been overwhelmed by the community’s support.
“We have to pay for everything with the girls, the badges and everything, so we have to do what we can and we rely on cookie season, so it’s hard when we can’t do that,” Carter said. “But we’ve had such a really good outpour from the community which has been really really nice, because we were worried this year.”
Every cookie order is a help to the troop, and Carter said that she has taught the girls to always let the customers know how thankful they are for their support.
“We always send thank-you’s out to our customers; just because, for me, I just feel like that’s important and I would want that as a customer,” Carter said. “So we always thank our customers in a very special way with a personal message from the girls — this is really to teach them how to be customer-service oriented and how to run a business the right way.”
According to Carter, who was once a Girl Scout herself, the opportunity to participate in Girl Scouts is a valuable one so the community support means the world to her and her scouts.
“I was a Girl Scout and I just think it’s so important; I love being able to do this with my daughter now,” Carter said. “And everyone has just been so sweet contacting me and ordering — it’s challenging but we’re doing it.”
To order Girl Scout cookies or a handmade cookie gnome from Troop 10618, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Kellie Carter at (561) 584-0192.