This year’s cookie sales were bittersweet for me. I am graduating from high school this year, and this was my last time participating in the cookie program as a girl member. In 13 years, I have sold thousands of cookies. I have schlepped wagons full of cookies door-to-door. I have moved thousands of cases at cookie deliveries, and, believe it or not, I once froze half to death at a booth when it was snowing - in Phoenix!
Every year, my favorite part of the cookie program (well, besides the access to boxes of Samoas) was to collect donated packages for Cookies for the Community. My service unit pulls cookies together, and we give them to a chaplain in the Air Force who gets them to deployed service people. The cookies bring a piece of home to those who are away from their homes, protecting our country.
One of the first things I learned about selling cookies was that I needed to be friendly and outgoing! This tip works well when you are a small Daisy or Brownie, but as you become older, customers want to know your goals. Once I reached middle and high school, an important strategy was selling cookies door-to-door to the network of loyal customers who had known me since I was a Daisy. Of course, I learned other skills like goal setting, money management, and business ethics - all things I’ll use my whole life. I also learned things that aren’t as obvious and often not spoken. For example, I learned to accept rejection and to be resilient. Believe it or not, there are people out there who CAN turn down a box of Girl Scout Cookies! Not every sales pitch lands a sale. Sometimes people passed our booth without even looking at us. Handling rejection in a healthy way is critical to everyone’s development. Knowing how to accept that rejection, not take it personally, and move forward – or be resilient– are invaluable skills not just for someone’s professional development, but for their toolbox for whatever life throws their way.
Every year my troop set a goal and decided what to do with our cookie money. We paid for and had the time of our lives at summer camp several times. We have used some money for community service projects. And in the last few years, I have sold cookies so that my troop could help fund Gold Awards for my Girl Scout Sisters and myself.
And as we all get ready for the next step, this year is bittersweet since we won’t be going to summer camp and, instead, preparing for college. This year I sold cookies for the future. So that each of my troop members can get a Girl Scout Lifetime Membership. So that the camps we enjoyed so much will be there for our younger sisters. So that girls in the future will get to experience the excellent opportunities that we did. And I thank everyone who has supported girls like me through the cookie program to help fuel the experience and opportunity of Girl Scouting for everyone and for years to come.
Brianna Iannone is a member of Troop 297, a Gold Award Girl Scout and GSACPC Girl Advisory Member, who plans to attend Arizona State University as a Girl Scout Alum. Her goals are to become a computer coder and developer.