Sweet Success: Girl Scout Cookies Carry On
Neither snow nor (freezing) rain nor gloom of night - not even loss of a warehouse - stayed Girl Scout cookie couriers from their appointed rounds last Saturday morning.
The 53-foot truck carrying 40,000 boxes arrived from Fayetteville at 8 a.m. only an hour late. A forklift off-loaded the pallets. Soon, in a damp, chilly warehouse, volunteers were sorting boxes and assembling orders from Moore County's 40 troops. Thirty-seven troops showed up by noon.
Eight varieties are available this year, including new Mango Cremes.
Randy Saunders, father of 12-year-old twin Girl Scouts, hankers for Lemonades, a shortbread with lemon frosting.
"I could probably eat a whole box," Saunders says.
He deserves one. For many years, cookies were delivered to and distributed from Gulistan Carpet in Aberdeen. The recent plant closing put 400 people out of work and the Girl Scouts out of a distribution center.
"About three weeks ago, Maureen Krueger (another Girl Scout parent and Moore County District Attorney) called. 'We have a problem; can you help?'" says Saunders, a Moore County commissioner. "She knew I had a warehouse and forklift." Saunders rents warehouse space for his wholesale lawn and garden pottery business.
"I can make this work," he decided.
Saunders arranged to donate space, equipment and heavy labor. What he didn't anticipate was the weather. Saunders and his wife were in New Jersey on business as the storm swept southeast. They started driving home at 4 a.m. Friday. "Raleigh was a mess," Saunders says, but they kept going, knowing the warehouse must be open when the delivery truck arrived but not sure parents would venture out to pick up cookies.
Not to worry. Girl Scout cookies are sacred. Vans and pick-ups started arriving at 10 a.m.
Sarah Rabstejnek, a 16-year-old Scout and cookie pro, came with her mother. Sarah has learned to deal graciously with the occasional slammed door.
"If you're young and cute it helps," Sarah says. "But you get the hang of it and you're not as scared to speak to someone."
Scouts are encouraged but not required to participate in selling.
Sarah's mother, Heidi Rabstejnek, a former Girl Scout, notes that the cookie project teaches the girls competence, marketing and math, since booth sales require handling cash. But she wishes the cookie season didn't begin in January, when New Year's dieting resolutions are still fresh in mind.
At the opposite age extreme was 6-year-old Scout Taylor Davis, who came with her seasoned Girl Scout sister Jordyn, 10. Taylor's favorite? "Peanut butter patties. I already bought three boxes from my sister." The Davis girls sell to friends, neighbors, family and parents' co-workers. This captive clientele and booth sales augment the door-to-door of yore.
Locally, the relevance of Scouting has not diminished in an era of electronic distractions. Moore County membership director Laura Douglass - former Scout, Girl Guide (in Canada), mother of a Scout, troop leader and cookie manager - reports that the demand for troops outpaces the number of volunteers needed to form them.
"The appeal is still greater for girls under 12 than over," Douglass says.
Badges have kept up with the times; besides "legacy" badges (cooking, baby-sitting, first aid, nature studies), girls may badge in financial literacy, movie-making, science and technical skills.
Girl Scouts began baking cookies at home, with their mothers, and selling them in school cafeterias, in 1917. Proceeds financed projects. By 1930 commercial bakers were licensed to bake trefoil-shaped cookies. Eventually, the organization tried low-fat and sugar-free varieties. They failed.
Proceeds still fund projects, which are chosen by the troop, in addition to a community outreach partnership with the United Way. Troop 1301 received a Bronze Award for making and donating fleece blankets to Animal Advocates of Moore County. Leader Jessica McAlvey's troop decided on an overnight trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Concord.
"These little girls want to have fun, too," McAlvey says.
In 2012, 214 million boxes were sold for approximately $790 million. Mango Cremes may push sales even higher. Because, as Jordyn and Taylor's mother, Sheith Davis, reasons, "Everybody wants Girl Scout cookies."
Booth locations and information on purchasing Girl Scout Cookies at (910) 692-6156.
Contact Deborah Salomon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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