Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Learning Life Lessons Through the Girl Scout Cookie Program

Nebraska's Omaha World-Herald reports that it is easy to think of the Girl Scout Cookie Program as girls simply hawking treats, but there's something more behind the annual ritual, especially this year. For the first time since 1987, the Girl Scout curriculum has been revamped and now features a stronger focus on the financial literacy and business lessons behind the cookie sales.

Scouts at each level, from the 5- and 6-year-old Daisies to the high school Ambassadors, learn about customer relations, business plans, research and development, marketing and sales analysis, all in the name of cookies. Nebraska Girl Scouts sold more than 2 million boxes of cookies last year, and 200 million were sold nationwide.

"What they don't realize as they're going through this program is that those skills are being ingrained. There will be a time when they realize, 'Oh, I learned that back when I started doing the cookie program back in kindergarten.' It happens for the younger girls more through osmosis," said Theresa Cassaday, chief communication officer for Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska.

Scouts at each level, from the 5- and 6-year-old Daisies to the high school Ambassadors, learn about customer relations, business plans, research and development, marketing and sales analysis, all in the name of cookies. Nebraska Girl Scouts sold more than 2 million boxes of cookies last year, and 200 million were sold nationwide.

In Illinois, Girl Scout Brownies from Troop 50294 are on a mission to sell 5000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. The Southwest Suburban News-Herald reports that the girls are celebrating 100 years of girls making the world a better place by using the proceeds of their cookie sale to contribute to the medical needs of families and to take a stand against world hunger.

Led by volunteers Sherese Johnson and Dionna Bickham, troop 50294 has been working towards earning their philanthropist badge for the past two months. The girls are learning the difference between wants and needs, what every person needs, how to help people who are hungry, how to help people who need clothing, how to help in times of emergency, and how to think – and act – like a philanthropist.

Two needs that the Brownies of troop 50294 are passionate about meeting are in the areas of medical care and hunger.

A portion of the proceeds from their cookie sale will be used to supplement the lodging costs for a needy family staying at Ronald McDonald House as that family supports their child undergoing medical treatment at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital. To make a difference in the fight against hunger, the girls also plan to use a portion of their cookie sale proceeds to purchase farm animals, such as goats and chickens, which will be donated to a needy family in an impoverished area of the world.