In the Girl Scout World, cookies aren’t just a fundraiser, or something that you do one or 2 weekends. Cookies are a season, and they really last 3-4 months, just like a real season.
In our council, leaders get their training in November. Then in December they pass the training on to the girls and parents. Usually the sale starts January 1st, but this year it started a bit early. Then the actual cookies arrive 2 weeks later – and after that, it’s full on, everything in your life revolves around cookies. The more you sell at the beginning the better, because the market is starved for them. After a few weeks demand starts dying down, and after a month it’s miserable, standing at a booth sale for 2 hours hoping someone will buy a box. You start to despair that you will ever sell all the cookies, that you’ve ordered too many, and that your troop is going to have to pay for them. And then, all of a sudden, cookies are back in demand and you don’t have enough (or the right variety) to satisfy everyone.
Our cookie sale ends in the middle of March, but I always shoot for the end of February. That gives me time to get rid of any extras, and to plow through the mounds of paperwork. Sometimes, I feel like I spend more time doing cookie paperwork than I do at my actual job.
I finished my paperwork today, and I am getting rid of our last 4 boxes of cookies tomorrow. So, from the middle of December through the middle of March – 3 months – it really is cookie “season.”
Cookies are a great fundraiser – they really do sell themselves. But cookies are so much more – they help girls learn how to count money, be polite to customers, goal setting, and nowadays they also teach them technology. We can sell online, take credit cards, and stuff like that.
During cookie season, I am constantly counting cookies, deciding how many to order each week, trying to find places to have cookie booth sales, collecting money, trying to find someone to swap the cookies I ordered too many of… And then on a Saturday, my troop used to do 5-6 booth sales. I would spend the whole day, running cookies to start a sale at one place, running to another to close a booth, counting money, counting cookies, running back home to get more cookies, calling the local cookie cupboard to see if I can get more cookies – it’s a full day of cookie running. And then we do it again on Sunday afternoon. And then we do it again the next weekend – for about 6 weeks. (It wasn’t as crazy this year, since with Covid we scaled back a lot.)
And every time I meet someone in the back of the Wendy’s parking lot, and they slide me a fat envelope of cash, and I hand them a cardboard box of cookies, I ABSOLUTELY feel like a drug dealer.
Cookies do fund our troop, but they also fund our council and our camps. They pay for our Biannual Camporee, and for all the trainings adult leaders have to attend. Seriously, everything we do is supported by cookie sales. We don’t get a lot of big donations like Boy Scouts do.
I love to travel with my troop, and everything we earned this year will go towards our delayed trip to NY City. Cookies are worth the work – but damn, am I glad when cookie season is over!