Chandler Girl Scouts Prep For Cookie Season SanTan Sun News

Chandler Girl Scouts Prep For Cookie Season

Chandler Girl Scouts Prep For Cookie Season
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By Colleen Sparks

Managing Editor

Girl Scouts in Chandler and other parts of Arizona are gearing up to sell their popular cookies – a tradition that teaches them business and other life skills.

The Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council cookie season, which will run Jan. 21-March 3, is the biggest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world.

More than 11,000 girls in the central and northern parts of the state will walk around neighborhoods and set up tables in front of area stores to sell the cookies.

They will also exercise their technological savvy by selling the treats online and hoping friends and family members will bite, too.

The girls learn how to market themselves and Girl Scouts, as well as planning, money management and other skills they can use in real-world jobs. The sales can help them pay for summer camp, along with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs, field trips and other adventures.

Members of Girl Scout Troop 763, a group of 15 girls who meet in Chandler, are eager to sell cookies.

“I love selling cookies,” Lilly Merritt, 11, a fifth-grader at Great Hearts Archway Chandler, said. “I love being able to meet new people and being able to sell a bunch of cookies. Our girls are very good at selling cookies.”

Merritt, who has been in Girl Scouts for six years, said her troop plans to use money from cookie sales to make dog beds and host blanket/supply drives for animals, as well as make a donation to an area nonprofit animal shelter.

Some proceeds will help pay for trips to Disneyland and SeaWorld in California, for which the girls have already been saving money. Merritt enjoys walking door to door in her neighborhood with her grandfather to sell the cookies.

Isabella Montoya, also a Troop 763 member, enjoys the social aspect of selling cookies.

The 10-year-old fifth-grader at Legacy North Chandler explained:

“I like getting to meet people, especially people who used to be Girl Scouts and hearing their stories about when they used to be Girl Scouts. I’ve been in Girl Scouts for six years. I like to help the community. I’ve made tons of friends.”

She said the regular cookies cost $5 a box and the specialty ones are $6 each.

Isabella often walks door to door with her parents and said she knows to never go inside someone’s house and to give people the “right amount of money” in change.

Her mother, Charlotte Montoya, a co-leader of Troop 763, said being in Girl Scouts has been a great experience for Isabella and her other daughter, Aubrey Montoya, 8, a third-grader at Legacy North Chandler, who is a Brownie in the troop.

“It has been a tremendous opportunity for different events they can go to and socialization and just making friends in the troop,” Charlotte said. “I think the experience has been great, watching these girls starting at kindergarten and now they’re in fifth grade.”

She said the girls were “super shy” and nervous when they first started selling cookies as kindergartners, but now they are much more confident.

“Now they’ve just blossomed into saying, ‘Hey, what’s your favorite flavor’ or ‘Come on over, I’ve got a special box for you,’” Charlotte said.

Troop 763 will sell cookies in front of many stores several times during the selling seasons including from 4 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 26 at the Walmart Supercenter store at 800 W. Warner Road and from noon to 4 p.m. on Feb. 9 at the Walmart Neighborhood Market at 6085 W. Chandler Blvd., both in Chandler.

Jennifer Forbes, co-leader of Troop 763 and mother of Merritt, agreed the cookie selling is a beneficial activity for the girls.

“It helps build their self-confidence,” Forbes said. “Cookie sales are great for our girls.

“They’re really comfortable talking with people, we work on what their goals are for the year, how to use profits, help them with money management, people skills. We’ve really seen the girls blossom through the years in those skills.”

Girl Scout Troop 4238 members, who meet at Kyrene de la Paloma Elementary School in Chandler, are also excited to start cookie sales soon.

Co-leaders Sarah Brandt and Nicole Ellis said the sales experience is good for the girls.

“I feel like it sets them up to set goals in life and learn to communicate with people outside their comfort zone,” Brandt said. “I feel like a lot of kids don’t get that these days. It will be my daughter’s first year selling cookies.”

She said her daughter, Jordyn Brandt, 10, a fourth-grader at Paloma and member of Troop 4238, wanted to join Girl Scouts because she was in Girl Scouts as a child. They decided to form their own troop.

Jordyn said she believes selling cookies could be hard, but she is looking forward to doing it because “we can make money and go on trips.”

“I think it will help me to be brave and help others,” Jordyn said. “Girl Scouts is awesome.”

Ellis said the experience of her daughter, Savanna Ellis, 9, a fourth-grader at Paloma, has been wonderful. Their family recently moved here from California, where Savanna had been in a Girl Scouts troop previously.

“Girl Scouts is one of the things in moving here that helped her really connect with friends right away,” Ellis said. “You’re all sisters no matter where you came from.

“What I noticed with Savanna, in talking to strangers when you’re selling cookies sometimes it takes courage or some bravery to be able to speak and to think on your feet and to have professional, eloquent conversations.”

Retired from the Navy, Nicole was in Girl Scouts as a child.

Savanna said she likes selling cookies, her second year doing so.

“I like working together with other girls so we can achieve our goals,” she said. “It’s not scary because I know that I have the authority to protect me and I have my friends with me. I learn how to be organized, being brave when talking to people and being better at working together with people.”

The cookie sales teach girls about finances, Tamara Woodbury, CEO of the Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, said.

“It is important to understand that Girl Scout Cookies are about far more than just money and sweet treats,” Woodbury said. “The cookie program is one of the most effective financial literacy programs in the world, developing girls’ skills in five key areas: goal setting; decision making; money management; people skills; and business ethics.”

Those skills can help girls whether working on a science project at school, operating a home or working as a project manager or CEO of a company.

“Not only is every cookie sale a teachable moment, but because all proceeds stay local, girls across Arizona are able to enjoy summer camp, STEM programs, field trips and even adventures out of state in a safe environment,” Woodbury said.

“Sales also have the potential to impact the community as troops reinvest their proceeds with service projects.”

Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council sold 2.9 million packages of cookies last year and it aims to sell 3 million cookie packages this year.

For the sixth consecutive year, chefs at restaurants Arizona will compete to create a winning dessert that uses one of the Girl Scout cookie flavors.

The participating restaurants will help promote the program and invest in their community. Next month the desserts will be sold at participating restaurants and proceeds will go towards Girl Scouts in the area.

Fans may vote on their favorite dessert at girlscoutsaz.org/en/cookies/cookie-dessert-challenge.html.

People can find booths where they can buy Girl Scout cookies by visiting girlscoutsaz.org/en/cookies/find-cookies.html.

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