The Extraordinary Reward of Cookies


Jackie Quillen and her daughters

by Guest Parent Blogger Jackie Quillen

Ah, Girl Scout cookie season.

Some people hear this, and their taste buds dance for chocolate mint, coconut, peanut butter and lemon delicacies. Then there are the moms like me who cringe, and their hearts shrink.

Why, you ask?

Although much is unseen to cookie customers, Girl Scout volunteers know that lots of behind the scenes work goes into paperwork, money collection, and responsibility for cookies. The counting, sorting, receipts. Then add to that the extremely competitive spirits...

Some people come to this challenge and embrace it lovingly and with no qualms! (I mean our cookies ARE delicious!)

Then there is me, affectionately calling myself the “Cookie Grinch.” Cookie season makes my heart cold and small. It all makes me even turn a little green (not because of the cookies, of course. There is no Girl Scout cookie flavor my palette distastes or my waist hates).

My Cookie Grinch heart is the result of several things.

Having multiple daughters in Girl Scouts takes A LOT of family, friends, and generous community members to support cookie sales with two girls selling in one household, let alone eventually four.

Next, there are super cute prizes at the high end of the spectrum that I will never be able to help my girls attain.

Then, there are misinformed people about how the proceeds from cookie sales are used.

Lastly, those cookie booth weekends in every weather element, every weekend in my March birthday month...

All of this can be discouraging...

Yet, my girls continue on positively and courageously attempting to achieve the highest number of boxes sold they can attain, and seemingly with no worries. They just have fun doing it! They are grateful for the customers who do buy from them. They understand that cookie proceeds provide their uniforms and badges, fund activities that help their community, and finance the fun they will have at a destination that is the culmination of their goals.

So, I ask myself every year, is it worth it to sell cookies?

YES!!! Booth season ALWAYS ends up bringing in that Girl Scout who makes my “Cookie Grinch” heart warm and grow back to Girl Scout size. We have all met her. That shy, sweet girl who will not talk during meetings, but then at the cookie booth she ends up showing her natural entrepreneur. I have said more than once, “Miss Girl Scout! Who ARE you?”

Or their math skills kick in. I nicknamed a Girl Scout “the human calculator” after she impressed me with her math ability!

Cookie season DOES show us all a little something about ourselves and being a Girl Scout!

It shows us that a group of girls CAN come to a decision about what to do with money earned and how much they need to sell to achieve that goal.

Girls WILL get out in the public and let themselves be heard.

Girls WILL prove Girl Scouts is a strong force in their community.

Girl Scouts WILL respectfully and graciously respond to a declination to their sales and will not be discouraged or deterred.

Girl Scout volunteers and parents DO go above and beyond during cookie sales...I had a baby the day after cookie distribution for our county. I dropped off cookies before induction, took Goal Getter orders while in labor, got my husband to deliver cookies after I had our baby, and my youngest future Girl Scout at three days old was tagging along at cookie booths the first weekend. The help and support I had beyond that during that cookie season was overwhelmingly encouraging.

It always makes me remember that this is SO worthwhile to the development of our girls as future leaders.

So yes, my love/hate relationship for cookies never falters. The work is hard, but the reward is surprisingly extraordinary year after year after year. Thank you to everyone who supports the Girl Scout movement in Southern Appalachia and allows all of our girls to find out a little more about the type of person they are and woman they will become.

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Join Girl Scouts Today!

If you or a girl you know are interested in joining Girl Scouts, you can learn more and sign up here.