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Girl Scout Cookies are a familiar part of American culture. For more than 80 years, Girl Scouts, with the enthusiastic support of their families, have helped ensure the success of local Girl Scout Cookie activities. From its beginnings to its current popularity, the sale of cookies has helped Girl Scouts have fun and develop valuable life skills. Girls are proud that their efforts provide resources for their local Girl Scout councils and for their own troops. Girl Scout Cookies had their beginning in the kitchens and ovens of our girl members, with mothers volunteering as technical advisors. The sale of cookies ﬁnanced troop activities starting in 1917, ﬁve years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouting. The ﬁrst mention of a cookie sale is that of the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma. They baked cookies and sold them in the high school cafeteria as a service project in December 1917. In July 1922, The American Girl magazine, published by Girl Scout national headquarters, featured an article by Florence E. Neil, a local director in Chicago, Illinois. Miss Neil provided a cookie recipe that was given to the council’s 2,000 Girl Scouts. She estimated the approximate cost of ingredients for six- to seven-dozen cookies to be 26 to 36 cents. The cookies, she suggested, could be sold by troops for 25 or 30 cents per dozen. Girl Scouts in different parts of the country continued to bake their own simple sugar cookies with their mothers. These cookies were packaged in wax paper bags, sealed with a sticker, and sold door to door. In 1933, Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council baked cookies and sold them in the city’s gas and electric company windows. Just 23 cents per box of 44 cookies, or six boxes for $1.24 helped girls develop their marketing and business potential as well as raise funds for their local Girl Scout program. In 1934, Greater Philadelphia became the ﬁrst council to sell commercially baked cookies. In 1935, the Girl Scout Federation of Greater New York (consisting of the Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island councils) raised money through the sale of commercial cookies. Buying its own die in the shape of a trefoil, the group used the words “Girl Scout Cookies” on the box. In 1936, the national Girl Scout organization began the process to license the ﬁrst commercial baker to produce cookies that would be sold by girls in Girl Scout councils. Enthusiasm for Girl Scout Cookies spread nationwide. The following year, more than 125 Girl Scout councils reported holding cookie sales. Girl Scout Cookies were sold annually by local councils around the country until World War II, when sugar, ﬂour, and butter shortages led Girl Scouts to begin selling Girl Scout calendars to raise money for their activities. In 1951, Girl Scout Cookies came in three varieties: Sandwich, Shortbread, and Chocolate Mints (now known as Thin Mints).
Girl Scouts sold four basic types of cookies by 1956: a vanilla-based ﬁlled cookie, a chocolatebased ﬁlled one, shortbread, and a chocolate mint. Some bakers also offered an optional ﬂavor. During the 1960s, when baby boomers expanded Girl Scout membership, cookie sale volume increased signiﬁcantly. Licensed bakers ﬁrst began wrapping Girl Scout Cookie boxes in printed aluminum foil or cellophane to protect the cookies and preserve their freshness. By 1966, a number of varieties were available. Among the best sellers were Chocolate Mint, Shortbread, and Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies. In 1978, the number of bakeries was streamlined to four to ensure lower prices and uniform quality, packaging, and distribution. The national organization, Girl Scouts of the USA, began supplying licensed bakers with a standard cookie package layout and pictures. For the ﬁrst time in history, all Girl Scout Cookie® boxes featured the same designs and depicted scenes of Girl Scouts in action, including hiking and canoeing. Cookies for sale included Thin Mint, Sandwich, and Shortbread cookies and four additional choices. In 1979, the new contemporary Girl Scout logo appeared on cookie boxes. Cookie packaging became more creative and began to promote the beneﬁts of Girl Scouting. In 1998, Girl Scouts of the USA licensed three bakers to produce cookies. The national organization also introduced official age-appropriate awards for Brownie, Junior, Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts for participating in cookie activities, including an annual Girl Scout Cookie Activity Pin, with requirements featured in an activity guide. Girl Scout Cookie boxes are bold and bright and capture the spirit of Girl Scouting. The licensed bakers produce a maximum of eight varieties, including three mandatory ones (Thin Mint, Peanut Butter Sandwich, and Shortbread). 2011 allowed the Girl Scouts a chance to move their cookie sale into the Web by an application that allowed the public to ﬁnd them. This was in addition to the site girlscoutcookies.org which allowed the public to type their zip code to ﬁnd cookies. The two bakeries (Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers) also have a plethora of activities, recipes and more to help girls sell cookies as well. As an extension of service, cookies sale donations can be made by the public to send cookies to soldiers or other organizations. What will we think of next?
The GS Law for Selling Cookies
Author Unknown I will do my best to be . . . • honest when I start taking orders on the ﬁrst day of the Cookie Sales, and not before and fair when I share cookie booth time with my Girl Scout troop members. • friendly when I remember to say “please” and “thank you” to my customers, and helpful when • can describe the different types of cookies, • considerate and caring to my Troop Leader and Cookie Chair for all the time and hard work they contribute to my Girl Scout experience, • courageous and strong on cookie delivery day, • and responsible for what I say and do when I take care of my customers’ orders and collect money, • and to • respect myself and others by being the best person I can be, • respect authority by following rules, guidelines, and procedures, • use resources wisely when I recycle my cookie cartons, • make the world a better place by using some of my troop’s cookie proceeds for a service project, • and be a sister to every Girl Scout and remember that I enjoy Girl Scouts today because of all the women who came before me!
Individual troops began selling homemade cookies door-to-door in the 1920s. In 1935, Girl Scouts held their ﬁrst nationally coordinated cookie sale.
Original Sugar Cookie Recipe 1c 1c 2 2 Tbsp 1 tsp 2-1/2 c 2 tsp Butter or margarine, softened Sugar Eggs Milk Vanilla extract All-purpose ﬂour Baking powder Decorator’s sugar, optional
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk and vanilla; beat until light and ﬂuffy. Combine ﬂour and baking powder, gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill at least two (2) hours or overnight. On a lightly ﬂoured surface, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with Trefoil cookie cutter or cutter of your choice. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle with sugar if desired. Bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. Yield: 4 dozen 2-1/2-inch cookies.
Service Projects Utilizing Cookies
• • • • • • • • Send cookies to our troops Create / make recipes utilizing cookies for others Cookie tasting party at a senior citizen’s facility, child care center or homeless shelter Teach younger Girl Scouts about cookie sales Save a few boxes to hand out to classmates / teachers / friends during Girl Scout Week Select a charitable organization to send donated cookies to (Cookie Share) Gift of Caring (if supported by your council) Create a cookie cookbook to share from your own recipes