Most of us know to watch out from mid-February into March — those sweet young ladies with their boxes of cookies will be out and about. Just when you think your new year’s resolutions are solid, and you’ve gotten past the addiction to Thin Mints, here they come again!
It’s true, Girl Scouts in Georgia have been selling cookies for a long time; 2018 marks the 101st anniversary of cookie sales.
But, around the country and here in Cherokee County, Girl Scouting involves more than just selling cookies. The current program provides opportunities for girls in kindergarten through high school seniors. Girls get the opportunity to try outdoor skills, like canoeing, geocaching or archery on a troop camping trip, or at summer camp. They can learn STEM concepts through robotics or race car design challenge badges. Many of the traditional Girl Scout badges are still available, such as cooking or first aid. But, Scouts today also learn about internet safety, music, outdoor art, comic book writing, entertainment and digital photography.
Girls partner with local charities to complete service projects and take an interest in their community and their world. From the very youngest scouts forward, girls are encouraged to learn leadership skills and build the courage to try things themselves. And, yes, they can sell cookies, but, through cookie sales, they learn marketing, budgeting, sales and entrepreneurship skills.
Girl Scouts focus on age-appropriate skills as the girls progress through the program. Kindergarten and first-grade Daisies learn basic first aid skills while fourth- and fifth-grade Juniors learn about nursing and EMT professions.
Higher awards in scouting help girls focus on their community and look for areas where they can bring change. Junior Girl Scouts begin working as a group toward a Bronze Award. They may partner with a charity to help provide children’s games and activities during a food pantry and block party.
A single middle school Cadette scout or a small group of Cadettes can work toward a Silver Award. Cadettes could work with the Humane Society to raise awareness of pet health and care.
Senior and Ambassador high school scouts are eligible to work toward a Gold Award, which includes projects that are focused on making a lasting difference in the local community, region or beyond, with a provision for sustainability. The life skills learned during these projects build courage, confidence and character.
By Luanne Allen, a software product manager who lives with her family in Woodstock. She co-leads a troop of 11 amazing Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts who have stolen her heart.