Saturday, January 16, 2016

10 Tips & Tricks for Conquering Your First Cookie Season As a Troop Leader

Being a first-time troop leader can be incredibly rewarding. On the one hand, you're responsible for this wonderful group of girls who you are helping to become strong young ladies of courage, confidence, and character. But that’s just part of the equation.

Add your very first cookie season to the mix, and the words of the late, great David Bowie (with Queen) come to mind: “Under Pressure.”

But don't fret! We asked our experienced troop leaders for their best cookie season tips, and we’re bringing you our favorites. Read on to ensure your girls—and YOU—enjoy the ride!

  1. Stay organized. Use receipts, create logs for financial information, make copies, and keep track of those IOUs. —Jen W. & Leah Q.
  2. Keep your girls and their parents informed. Provide detailed schedules, tell them exactly what you need from them, and let them know how they can help. The more they know, the easier it'll be for you. —Meagan W.
  3. You'll be shocked at how many cookies your girls will sell, but don't go overboard when you place your first order. You can always order more if needed. Connect with a fellow leader about which cookies are popular in your area so you can gauge a better estimate. —Rachel D.
  4. We encourage you to use online tools like Pinterest for booth inspiration. 
  5. Get your girls excited about cookie sales! Set up fun activities at meetings, guide them in setting realistic goals, and celebrate with them as they progress along the way. —Michelle M.
  6. Limit the number of girls at booth sales. Sometimes more isn’t merrier, especially if girls are younger and distractions are more common. If you can, partner your younger girls with older Girl Scouts to help guide the sales. —Jennifer L.
  7. Set a fun goal with your troop. Ask them what they want to do with their cookie proceeds: go on a special outing? Donate the money to a charity? The options are endless and it will give them something to look forward to. —Stacy R.
  8. Practice makes perfect! Set up a fake booth at a troop meeting, have the girls practice their sales pitches, and remind them about the 5 Skills. —Nicole P.
  9. Even young girls can lead their peers in a discussion about how they are making progress toward their team goal. Let girls lead and they will take ownership and grow their skills!
  10. Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for help—you’re not alone in this adventure so reach out to parents, other troop leaders, and anyone else at your council. One extra for good luck: keep calm and lead on! —Rebekah

Got a great tip to contribute? Let us know on Facebook—we'd love to hear!