January 15, 2004 -
February 10, 2004
Girl Scout Cookie Sale Begins (pre-orders)
February 8 - 13,
2004 - Girl Scout Cookie Orders due to Cookie Manager
March 13, 2004 -
Girl Scout Cookies on Sale at booths throughout the community
April 13 , 2004 -
Girl Scout Cookie Money Due to Council
April 15, 2004
Paperwork Due to Neighborhood
Girl Scouts Cookie History
The origins of the Girl Scout Cookie are somewhat
shrouded in the mists of time. One legend has it that the precursor of today's
Girl Scout Cookie was a homemade "biscuit" baked and sold by troops of Girl
Guides in England in the early part of this century. Shortly after Juliette
Low's founding of the Girl Scouts in the United States in 1912, unnamed troops
were busy baking and selling cookies.
Homemade cookies were probably sold as part of
individual troop money earning projects with some of these "kitchen industries"
growing into fairly well-organized volunteer efforts. Various reports have
claimed Buffalo (1931), Illinois 1932), Connecticut, and Pennsylvania (the early
30s), as having been the site of the first major cookie push; no one knows for
What is known is that Girl Scout councils countrywide
had their interest piqued by a report on one group's activities in the January
1928 Girl Scout Leader magazine, boasting "cookie sales have yielded as much as
$1,400 at a time" -- a substantial amount of money for that period.
They were assisted in their efforts to perfect an
attractive, uniform, and truly professional-looking cookie by the appearance of
an official trefoil cookie cutter, made of frosted aluminum and offered for 15
cents in the March 1932 Girl Scout Leader: "Trefoil cookie cutter! Every Girl
Scout and troop will want one..."
One of the first organized cookie-selling efforts
began in Philadelphia. There in 1933, one group of Girl Scouts displayed their
business enterprise by persuading the Philadelphia Gas Company and the
Philadelphia Electric Company to permit them to use the companies' store windows
to display and sell cookies.
In 1934, the president of the Girl Scout council in
Philadelphia approached a local baking company who agreed to bake and package
vanilla Girl Scout Cookies in the trefoil shape. This was the first council-wide
sale of commercially baked and packaged Girl Scout Cookies in the U.S. Other
nearby councils impressed by Philadelphia's success soon asked to be included in
their bakery order.
By 1938, the volume of council-wide sales was so
large and its attendant complications so many that the national organization,
Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. (GSUSA), assumed responsibility for licensing those
firms which would do the baking and boxing of Girl Scout Cookies using the Girl
Scout name and insignia. Licensing on a centralized basis insured standardized
quality products combined with uniform packaging and distribution procedures.
What Happens Now
There are presently two bakeries licensed by GSUSA to
produce Girl Scout Cookies. Bakers are judged on their ability to produce
high-quality products and the caliber of their production facilities. They must
submit samples for tasting and file their recipes with GSUSA; recipes must meet
specific nutrition standards.
The emphasis is on product quality. Bakers have made
strenuous efforts to reduce the use of artificial flavors and colors, and both
bakers now provide non-fat, low-fat, and reduced-fat varieties. During baking
season, they are required to send sample cases of their cookies to the national
office, which maintains regular quality control checks, approves selling aids
for local Girl Scout councils and sets standards for packaging. In deciding
which of the licensed bakers to use, councils will conduct their own
taste-tests, scrutinize recipes and run periodic quality control checks of their
Girl Scout Cookie suppliers are required to offer
councils three basic cookie types: chocolate mint (the most popular), the
trefoil-shaped shortbread, and a sandwich cookie. They also must offer at least
three optional types and one Kosher cookie and may, depending upon the council's
inclination, come up with as many as seven cookies altogether.
Who Is Involved
Girl Scout Cookie sales are achieved through close
cooperation of manufacturers, GSUSA, the councils, volunteers, staff, the girls
themselves, and parents, as well as other family members and friends; and of
course, our loyal Girl Scout Cookie customers!
It has been estimated that more than two million Girl
Scouts take part in cookie sales. They belong to over 160,000 troops in 321 Girl
Scout councils across the United States. For safety's sake, all Girl Scouts who
take part must provide written proof of parental consent and must receive
training in cookie sales procedures.
In addition to selling cookies to friends and
neighbors, troops sometimes sell directly to customers in booths specifically
erected in shopping malls, department stores, and corporate office buildings
sometimes in conjunction with Girl Scout Week (March 12). Similarly, councils
train adult volunteers in cookie sales management. Many months of preparation
lead up to a council's "cookie week" or weeks, and some offer mini-courses.
Skills required include estimating orders, ordering, storing, distributing to
troops, collecting money from sales, keeping records and generating
Families, particularly parents, are often involved
through helping to check figures, picking up and delivering cartons, providing
support and encouragement to girls who sell.
Purpose of Girl Scout Cookie
The purpose of the Girl Scout Cookie sale is twofold:
it helps girls develop leadership skills and practice resourcefulness and
self-reliance and it generates revenue for troops and Girl Scout councils to
fund the time-honored Girl Scout program in the United States.
Why Sell Cookies
Girls benefit from participating in the Girl Scout
Cookie sale in a variety of ways. They are members of a team, working towards a
common goal, with each girl striving to do her best. Girls also practice other
useful skills, such as earning money for troop activities, learning to take
orders in a businesslike way, handling money, delivering goods in top condition,
knowing the satisfaction of a job well done.
Every penny earned by cookie sales remains in the
locality where the cookies were sold; no money earned by girls is sent to the
national Girl Scout office. All cookie income is used to benefit girls, some
directly by remaining in the troop treasury and some indirectly by subsidizing
the cost of Girl Scout camps and other programs in the local area.
Cookie sale earnings help bridge the gap between
income from other sources, such as gifts, bequests, and other fund raising, and
the money required to provide Girl Scouting in the community. Funds help local
Girl Scout troops engage in a wide variety of activities, field trips, and
service projects. Funds from cookie sales help councils recruit and train the
volunteer leaders for each troop, provide financial assistance to make Girl
Scouting available to girls of modest means, improve and maintain campsites, and
subsidize local program opportunities.
"Cookie money" has kept camp fees for everyone to a
minimum and supported a variety of other council and troop activities. Or, as
the label on the cookie box itself states, "The annual cookie sales give the
Girl Scouts an opportunity to earn money for program activities, for special
events and projects, and for purchasing and maintaining equipment and
Girl Scout councils set their own cookie prices based
on program needs and their knowledge of local markets, so the price per box may
vary from one place to another and from one year to the next.
The Girl Scout Cookie sale is a part of Girl Scout
heritage and tradition. It is an important part of what makes Girl Scouting an
institution in the United States.
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