Clear out your freezers and cupboards, because your favorite cookies are coming soon. Jan. 11 marked the start of Girl Scout cookie season for those living in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
The Girl Scout cookie program began in 1917 as a way to finance troop activities and since has grown into one of the most respected financial literacy programs for youths in the nation.
TIME recently ran an article about the cookie program, calling it a fundraiser-turned personal finance tutorial. "Students receive little financial education at school and have repeatedly failed broad tests measuring their mastery of basic personal finance and economic concepts," the article reads, explaining that during the Girl Scout cookie program, "... girls set goals, meet deadlines, work with others, handle money and make decisions on where and how to reinvest the proceeds. This is the kind of stuff that will help them make smart money decisions as adults."
Sharon Pickering, chief financial officer for Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes couldn't agree more. "The basic understanding of finances, sales techniques and communication is so important to every adult in our society. Almost every job a person can have is affected by those three traits," Pickering said.
Pickering has been involved in Girl Scouts since she was 6 years old. She explains the impact that the cookie program has had on her life: "I remember being a little girl dressed up in a snowsuit and selling cookies door-to-door," Pickering said. But as she grew older, she had to change her strategy to a more mature sales pitch. "You wouldn't believe how many customers want to buy from a cute little Brownie rather than a teenager. I had to learn to eloquently speak about why I was still in Girl Scouting and why I was selling cookies."
Hence the goal-setting aspect of the program. Many Girl Scouts spend their cookie earnings on something big, like a service project, traveling or camp. Their summer plans or that trip to the Grand Canyon hinges on their success during the cookie program.
So this winter when that adorable Brownie or poised Girl Scout Senior knocks on your door, remember that through a box of Thin Mints, you are helping her meet her goals and learn vital life lessons along the way.
Girl Scouts will be selling cookies through March 24. Go to www.gsnwgl.org for more information. Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes is a United Way partner program.
Jess Radke is the copy writer at Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes Inc., a United Way partner program. Call 888-747-6945, ext. 5515, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.