Breckenridge Texan

It’s Thin Mints time: Local Girl Scouts selling cookies now through March 7

It’s Thin Mints time: Local Girl Scouts selling cookies now through March 7
January 21
12:18 2021

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

It’s that time of year again – the season of Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties and all of the other Girl Scout Cookies beloved by so many.

Although the continuing COVID-19 pandemic has changed some of their selling techniques, Breckenridge’s Girl Scout Troop 8356 is taking part in the annual fundraiser. Cookie sales started last week and will continue through March 7.

This year’s lineup of Girl Scout Cookies includes the perennial favorites, Thin Mints, Caramel Delights, Peanut Butter Patties, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Shortbreads and Lemonades. This will be the last year for the Girl Scout S’mores cookie, which will be retired after this season and a new flavor will be introduced next year, said Kim Fuller, the troop’s leader.

“We also have a new French Toast inspired cookie this season called the Toast-Yay!” Fuller said. “It’s dipped in delicious icing and has a cinnamon/ginger flavor in every bite. We’d love to hear everyone’s feedback on this new flavor offered this season.”

There is also the Gluten Free Caramel Chocolate Chip cookie for those with gluten concerns.

(See the image at the end of this article for more information on the cookies.)

The cookies cost $5 per box, except for the gluten-free Caramel Chocolate Chip cookies, which cost $6 per box. Additionally, the gluten-free cookies have a limited availability, so when the troop sells out of those cookies, they will not be able to order more this season.

All of the proceeds from the cookie sale go to the local troop, the regional service unit and the Texas Oklahoma Plains Girl Scout Council. “The girls get incentives. The troop gets funds to use on projects, field trips, supplies, badges and learning opportunities. The Service Unit gets funds to provide needs for the troop. The council gets funding to provide program opportunities to the troops and girls,” Fuller said. “The camps get funds to maintain the grounds and expand them and offer discounted and often free credits to girls that sell cookies. None of the funds go to GSUSA. GSUSA earns their funds from membership dues, and Girl Scout marketing products that you see inside those big box stores. So shop local with Breckenridge Girl Scout Troop 8356!”

Fuller said she wants to remind everyone that, like with all fundraisers, you are not just buying a box of cookies. “You are investing in a girl’s goals, projects, experiences and their future,” she said. “You are helping them build and operate their very own personal cookie business. You are investing in skills that will benefit them in all they do in the future.”

How to Buy Cookies

Although the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation requires that Girl Scouts take some extra precautions when selling cookies, the local troop will still be taking orders over the phone and via social media and email. They’re also trying to set up some booth sales, providing special accommodations to help keep everyone safe from the virus.

Cookie booths will all have hand sanitizers on site, and the girls and parents will be wearing face coverings. Additionally, the girls will try to stay on opposite ends of the table and will try to limit handling cookie boxes as much as possible, letting the customers take their own cookies after purchasing, Fuller said.

“Due to concerns, several of our girls will not be participating in cookie booth sales but have opted for individual sales so they can do porch drop off and social distance when delivering cookies,” she said. “In addition, the girls are required to follow these COVID-19 precautions that they’ve never had to do before: No open food or drink may be at any booth. Cookie sampling is not allowed. If providing pens for check writing, wipe pen with sanitizing wipes after each use. Utilize clear bins to transfer cookies to customer when possible.”

Girl Scouts are allowed to sell cookies on their own or their parents’ social media accounts but not on public social media accounts like Facebook Marketplace or the Buy/Sell/Trade Sites, Fuller said. However, troop leaders can advertise on the Buy/Sell/Trade Sites that cookies will be available at a certain location at a certain time, as long as the girls’ faces and names are not advertised.

“Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains has always been proactive when it comes to safety and social media,” Fuller said. “The safety of the girls is priority to all of us, and we work hard to try to limit names of girls and any personal information about them on uncontrolled social media platforms. Each girl has the ability to promote on their own/parents private social media accounts their Girl Scout Cookie Link.

“We have a program called ABC Smart Cookies, and girls nationwide have access to create electronic emails and notices that can go out to their friends’ and families’ private email and text numbers, keeping them informed about where they will be, what their goals are and allow them to take orders and make payment online through the ABC Smart Cookie system,” she continued. “Those cookies ordered online go directly to the girl’s account. Each girl has her own specific account and can upload photos and personalized notes to those on her list of contacts. The girls are encouraged this year to fully share and utilize those links to help with COVID-19 social distancing concerns.”

Additionally, the local troop can take credit cards and process them through the Clover Go app. The fees associated with those credit card processing companies are absorbed by the Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains council, and the girls are encouraged to learn and use Clover Go to increase their cookie sales, Fuller said.

As in past years, each girl has individual goals and the troop has a troop goal. Each girl and her family will decide the best way for her to sell cookies this year, Fuller said.

“Some girls will be selling at the limited booths that we are trying to secure; other girls will sell on social media accounts, and still others will just sell to friends and family,” she explained. “The girls will use the ABC Smart Cookies app as much as possible, and our Troop Facebook page will promote the locations of any cookie booths that the girls have. If people do not have a girl contact or cannot get out to a cookie booth, they can leave a note on our Troop Facebook page or contact me directly, and I can arrange for one of the girls to deliver cookies to their homes or work locations.”

If you order cookies through a Girl Scout’s ABC Smart Cookie link, you can have cookies mailed directly to your door with no contact at all; payment is made through the site. Those ordering from Breckenridge Girl Scouts can get reduced shipping charges because the council has agreed to cover about half of the shipping costs. Shipping on most orders will be about half the real cost, so you can get cookies shipped for as low as $5 or $6, Fuller said.

The Breckenridge troop has 12 girls in kindergarten through seventh grade, and Fuller said she wants to ask people to show consideration for girls of all ages. “We have girls that are growing up and will and have experienced situations where they are overlooked in lieu of those sweet, sweet little Daisy Girl Scouts that are just the cutest,” she said. “I mean, how can you pass by a cute little Daisy with a tiny voice and a sweet smile? When I’m out and about, I can’t either.

“And, if you can’t buy from every Girl Scout that asks you, just throw some support and encouragement their way. They encounter more ‘No’s’ than ‘Yes’ answers, so some encouragement and cheerleading goes a long way with them,” Fuller continued. “I also encourage everyone to stop and visit with the older Girl Scouts. They can tell you about what they’ve learned in the program and what their goals and projects are. You might learn something fun or gain a new perspective about what they are doing. These girls have the drive to make an impact on their community and the world that they live in. They are on the cusp of teen and adulthood and are building their confidence and leadership skills. With the help of those around them, they can achieve their dreams and make the world a much better place while doing it.”

To contact Fuller about Girl Scout cookies, call her at 682-564-3980 or send a message through the troop’s Facebook page, which is under the name “Breckenridge Texas SU753 Girl Scout Troop 8356.”

Cookie Lessons

The annual Girl Scout Cookie sale is about more than fundraising for the organization; the program is filled with opportunities for the girls to learn a variety of skills. Even during a worldwide pandemic, there are lessons to be learned through the process of selling cookies.

“The five lessons of the cookie program remain the same: Goal setting, Decision making, Money management, People skills and Business ethics,” Fuller said. “These lessons can still be achieved with individual cookie sales in lieu of at cookie booths. The girls have been working hard and trying to get creative about how they will sell cookies this year.”

Mommy and Daddy & Me booths – booths consisting of just one Girl Scout and her parent(s) – will be more prevalent this year than in the past, Fuller said. Additionally, the girls will personalize their sales this year and market in their own creative ways. They will still be expected and encouraged to work on their money management skills by also adding inventory control, projections of sales and how will weather conditions hinder or spur on cookie sale requests.

The girls are encouraged to be the point of contact as much as possible, and they are supposed to conduct themselves professionally and be strong, confident business owners. The girls who get the most out of this program are the ones who get support from their parents but do the majority of the work for themselves, Fuller said. When girls take leadership in talking with adults, interacting with the community and marketing themselves and their product, they are more successful in all things they do, she explained.

“For example, my girls are attending the K12 (online) public school this year,” Fuller said. “They do not have physical contact with their teachers, so they won’t be able to bring them a box of cookies to school. But during open class discussion, they talked to their teachers and their classes of 150+ students about cookies and how the program has taught them to be independent thinkers who work hard to achieve their goals. They promoted the cookie line up and introduced the new Toast Yay cookie and ended up with some online orders from teachers and students who shared their ABC Smart Cookie Links with their parents.”

Cookie Rewards

Through cookie sales, girls earn funds for their troop, funds to help maintain Girl Scout camp locations and keep them open, as well as individual incentives. Depending on how many boxes of cookies they sell, the girls can earn “cookie bucks” that they can use to purchase things such as badges, water bottles, bags and more.

Each year, Girl Scouts pick an endangered or at-risk species as their cookie mascot in an effort to help educate the troops about how important these animals are to the environment and the world. This year, the Girl Scout Cookie mascot is the Bee. The girls are told to “Bee Amazing!” Incentive badges, t-shirts, hoodies, and other items are covered with the cute yellow and black bee.

Girls who sell 1,550 boxes of cookies are more become members of the Girl Scout Diva Club and earn special patches, trips and other items. This year’s Diva incentive will be an overnight campout at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Fuller said.

“It’s the first time ever council-wide DIVA event, and all the regional Girl Scouts within Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains that sell to the DIVA level of 1,550 boxes of cookies will be together,” she explained. “In the past, each regional area planned and attended their own DIVA trip event. Although Girl Scouts and Six Flags has partnered together in the

past this will be the first time Six Flags has offered an overnight event at their location to any organization. The girls will get to attend STEM activities, glow in the dark scavenger hunts, after-hours rides and a special guest speaker.”

Despite the plans, the trip will depend on the COVID-19 situation, Fuller said.

“COVID-19 impacted us last year, and we were not able to go on a cookie reward trip. Our camps were closed and our Diva Trip for the girls that sold high volumes of cookies was also canceled,” she said. “We do not know what COVID will bring this year. We hope to be able to still do those trips and attend camp this year, but the safety of our girls and families take priority.

“We just don’t know what will happen this year,” Fuller continued. “We have some families that are high risk or care for other that are high risk, and those girls just won’t have the opportunity to get out in the community to sell as some of the others. Our troop has a very healthy competition. We all work together to make sure each girl has good opportunities to succeed, and the girls each support one another in reaching their goals. I encourage everyone to spread the love and support as many of those Cookie Sellers as you can so that they can so that everyone can learn these five goals of the cookie selling program.”

Donating Cookies to Heroes

In the past, Girl Scouts have shipped cookies to U.S. military members through the “Troop to Troop Program.” This year the council has expanded the program and renamed it “Cookies for Heroes.” Nurses, doctors, firefighters, police, Sheriff’s Office employees, ambulance and military will be included in the cookies donation program.

Girls will collect donations during booth sales or when taking orders from their order cards, or donations can be made through the girls’ the ABC Smart Cookie app. Each donation is tax deductible, and upon request, the girls can provide anyone donating with a tax deductible donation receipt. The donations will go to first responders, as well as to members of the military.

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