Girl Scouts get creative for contact-free cookie program
To ensure the safety of Girl Scouts and cookie buyers alike, troops are following the county health guidelines established to help reduce COVID-19 transmissions. They are approaching the cookie program a bit differently this year, combining time-honored sales techniques with innovative approaches in a socially-distanced manner.
New this year is the E2B (Entrepreneur-to-Business) program that helps girls hone their presentation skills and work toward their cookie goals. Corporate, civic, and social groups may invite a Girl Scout to one of their virtual meetings to deliver a five-minute marketing pitch. The Del Mar and Del Mar-Solana Beach Rotary clubs have both hosted Girl Scouts.
Del Mar Assistant City Manager Kristen Crane says the Girl Scout tradition of making the world a better place is part of what drew her to the profession of local government management more than 25 years ago. She informally invited several professional colleagues—various city managers and assistant managers in the region—to an E2B session so the girls could share with them the leadership and business skills they practice in Girl Scouts.
Crane, a national delegate for Girl Scouts San Diego and longtime leader of two troops, is a Girl Scout alum who recalls loving the challenge and excitement of selling cookies so much that, “I literally ran from door to door!” She attributes the cookie program with teaching her “early life lessons like goal-setting, customer service, public speaking, financial management, project management, business ethics and, most importantly, resilience, that are reflected in my leadership style today.”
Troop 3212 leader Molly Wright of Pacific Highlands Ranch is proud of how her Junior Girl Scouts are overcoming the limitations necessitated by COVID-19. “Our girls are rising to the occasion by creating fun sales videos, calling former customers, making signs and distributing door hangers that include their personal QR codes, and reaching out on social media.
Wright’s troop, all fifth-graders at Nativity School in Rancho Santa Fe, has personalized the secure “Digital Cookie” websites that help them safely and effectively manage their cookie businesses. The young entrepreneurs invite visitors to their online stores to shop, pay, and select either direct shipping from the baker or contactless delivery by the girls.
All net cookie proceeds stay local in San Diego to fund programs, camps, service projects, field trips, and the financial assistance that helps all girls participate in Girl Scouting. Troop 3212’s goal is to raise money for its first overnight trip to learn about the aerospace industry.
Wright says her troop is passionate about animals and plan to contribute a portion of their cookie proceeds to the Helen Woodward Animal Center. “Currently, the girls are working toward the Bronze Award—the highest honor Junior Girl Scouts can earn—by raising awareness about pet adoption and animal safety.”
Darby, Wright’s 10-year-old daughter, hopes to market 800 packages of cookies this year. Helping her achieve that goal are repeat buyers like Richard Stone, whose real estate group is located in Carmel Valley. “Mr. Stone has been a great customer for five years,” Darby says. “I am thankful that he purchased 80 packages this year to donate to the Community Resource Center in Encinitas.”
Stella Morera and Faith Mayer of Del Mar are members of Troop 3212. Morera, who created a yard sign to reach potential customers, says she enjoys many things about the cookie program, including “meeting the new neighbors who stopped by to buy cookies.” Last year, Mayer and two of her troopmates earned a weekend at the Rawhide Ranch camp by reaching their cookie goals.
Cookie fans who know a Girl Scout may ask her for an invitation to her Digital Cookie site. Others may visit sdgirlscouts.org and type in their zip code to request cookies from a troop in their community. Recently, girls have been permitted to host “standabouts” (cookie booths) outside their residences, using the same strict safety protocols as farmers markets.
Customers may donate cookies to Operation Thin Mint, a local program that sends “a taste of home and a note to show we care” to deployed service members and local veterans. Since it began 20 years ago, generous San Diegans have gifted over 3.25 million packages of cookies to grateful U.S. troops serving around the world.
All girls ages 5-17 are welcome to join Girl Scouts at any time. For information, visit sdgirlscouts.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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