Girl Scouts prove to be tough cookies
Girls Scouts Ruby and Mary Torres explain cookie choices to neighbor Rob McElvany while selling cookies for their troop Wednesday in El Centro. (CHELCEY ADAMI)
During the past three years, the number of Girl Scout troops in Imperial Valley has been increasing and correspondingly so have cookie sales, said Mary Doyle, San Diego-Imperial Council Director of Communications.
“Everybody loves Girl Scout cookies. Girl Scout cookies are an American icon,” Doyle said. “People remember them from growing up, either selling them or enjoying them.”
Implementation of the Cookies NOW! format last year also contributed to sales, allowing girls to hand customers cookies on the spot as opposed to taking orders and giving out cookies later, Doyle said.
Steady cookie sales help pick up where the economy hits other parts of Girls Scouts.
Doyle said the council has seen a “sharp spike” in applications for financial assistance.
“It’s only $12 a year to participate, but for some families it’s out of reach,” Doyle said. “The Girl Scout cookie program is more important than ever to help us with proceeds to keep Girl Scouting affordable and possible for 30,000 girls.”
Nine-year-old twins Ruby and Mary Torres of El Centro each sold 96 boxes on their first day this year.
They’ve decorated a “cookie mobile” wagon with photos of different cookies, and drag it around the neighborhood selling cookies to neighbors.
When asked how selling has been this year, they replied that it’s been “easy.”
When people say they can’t buy cookies, the girls say, “Well thank you for at least opening your door.”
They said Samoas and Thin Mints are their customers’ favorites.
While cookie proceeds go several different places, one is incentives or prizes for the girls.
This year’s incentives include T-shirts, coin purses, a museum sleepover and, for the hard-core cookie tycoon that sells more than 3,000 boxes, a Mac iPad or Dell Laptop.
Cookie sales also fund community service projects. The Imperial Valley community service projects have included collecting blankets for homeless children in Calexico, buying cat and dog food to donate to the Humane Society, cleaning up graffiti in parks and collecting coats for Operation One Warm Coat, said Frances Castillo, Imperial Valley Membership and Marketing Associate.
The cookie program began Jan. 30 and sales will last until March 13. Booth sales begin Feb. 11 and last until March 6.
According to the San Diego-Imperial Council’s Web site, with nearly 2,500 troops, the council is one of the largest in the United States.
Girl Scouts of the United State of America has been making concentrated efforts to strengthen their $714 million Girl Scout Cookie Program, the largest girl-led business in the country.
According to Girl Scouts’ national blog, a dozen Girl Scout councils this year are testing a plan called the “Super Six” pilot program that only sells the six most popular cookies that make up more than three-quarters of sales.