Guess what I'm going to spend the weekend doing? Yes, this Girl Scout Leader/Mother will be supervising as her daughter works cookie booths. No matter where you live in the U.S. our goal is for you to be
accosted approached by a charming Girl Scout who is practicing her real-world skills of goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics. As leaders are told time and again, cookies aren't just fundraising, cookies are Program.
Different troops give different amounts of emphasis to cookies, though often cookies are what people think about when they think about Girl Scouts. Unfortunately, fund raising is necessary for most youth activities or only kids whose families have money could participate in many things. Since you will hopefully be asked to buy cookies this weekend, I though I'd tell you a little about them.
Who Gets the Money for Girl Scout Cookies?
The lion's share of the money earned by Girl Scout Cookies goes to local Girl Scout councils. These non-profit corporations are responsible for recruiting and training leaders, recruiting girls, providing programming, enforcing standards and they are the entities that own and operate Girl Scout camps.
Councils employ both professional year-round staff and temporary camp counsellors, and for most councils, employee pay is one of the biggest expenses. Of course the other big expense is the camps. My council owns three of them and they are well-equipped facilities with full kitchens, cots with mattresses, cabins and platform tents. One has horses which have to eat daily, even if girls are only at the camp on the weekend.
The amount of money that goes to the troops--the groups of girls who actually sell the cookies varies depending on the council and on the incentives set by the council. Here, we sell for $4.00 per box and our troop proceeds start at $0.50 per box and can get up to the mid 60's depending on the number of boxes sold, whether we participated in fall product or registered early last year and whether we waive prizes for individual girls. Individual girl prizes cost about five cents a box.
In some ways, that doesn't sound like much, but when you figure that around here, selling 100 to 200 boxes isn't a stretch, tell me another fundraiser we could do, especially with the under ten set, that could earn us $50 to $100 per girl, mostly from people who are not family members. My daughter has a friend who really needs fundraisers in order to take the troop trips and she regularly sells over 500 boxes a year.
How Much Do Girl Scout Cookies Cost?
It depends on local councils. They each negotiate with the bakers (there are two bakers that make Girl Scout Cookies) for the best price/terms they can get. Then they look at their needs vs their expected sales vs what they think the market will bear, and after factoring all that in together, arrive at a price. Right now, most councils are at $4.00 a box for most cookies and $5.00 a box for gluten-free cookies. I've heard one is as low as $3.50 and some are $5.00.
Do Girl Scout Cookies Support Any Groups but Girl Scouts?
Not directly. As noted above, most money goes to the councils and the councils do not donate money to any other groups. Troops are encouraged to use part of their cookie proceeds for service or "Take Action" projects. Generally speaking, troops are not allowed to donate money to another organization or individual. They are allowed to use troop funds to purchase things for other groups.
What If I Gave Up Sweets for Lent?
Girl Scout Cookies freeze well.
Can Vegans Eat Them? What About People Who Keep Kosher? Those Who Can't Have Gluten?
Both bakers have some vegan cookies. If girls in your area are selling Samoas, Tagalongs and Do-Si-Dos, you live in a Little Brownie Baker council. Little Brownie Baker's Thin Mints are vegan. All Girl Scout cookies baked by Little Brownie Bakers are certified as kosher dairy; except Thin Mint cookies which are certified Kosher Pareve. Little Brownie Bakers offers Toffee-tastic® cookies, which have been certified gluten-free by the third-party organization, NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) and verified through testing as meeting the FDA guidelines for labeling gluten-free
If the girls in your area are selling Caramel Delights and Lemonades, you are in an ABC Baker council. Girl Scout S'mores™, Lemonades™, Thanks-A-Lot®, Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties® are made with vegan ingredients. ABC also offers the Gluten-Free Trios Girl Scout Cookie, which is certified by the Gluten Free Certification Organization, produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility, and meets a 10 parts per million standard set by the Gluten Free Certification Organization.
While ABC's cookies made with vegan ingredients do not contain any animal product ingredients, they may be produced on equipment that is also used to produce items containing dairy ingredients.
But I Can't Eat Cookies Because...
Those charming sales associates in Girl Scout vests or tshirts should be able to offer you an alternative--if you can't eat them, treat them. Each troop picks a charity to receive cookie donations. These range from food pantries and homeless shelters to our overseas troops.
Happy Girl Scout Cookie Weekend; enjoy your cookies!