Friday, February 8, 2008

Girl Scout Cookie Daze

The Girl Scouts came calling the other day. Just when I begin to make a dent in that holiday weight gain, it's Girl Scout cookie time.

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Somewhere between now and March 10th I'll see their smiling faces, dressed in green or brown politely asking "do you want to buy some cookies?" Of course I do... Girl Scout cookies are an America icon of good stuff. Never mind the carbs, fat grams and calories. I love Do-Si-Dos, Thin Mints and Samoas.

I'll gladly hand over my cash to these friendly although sometimes very shy salesmen in front of Harris Teeter or some other local establishment. Always under the watchful eyes of concerned parents who keep their distance except to help close the sale. I take 2 boxes of well everything but the lemon coolers.

Admittedly, I don't need a lot of selling to convince me that I need/want to buy Girl Scout cookies.


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But I can't help but ask the sweet cherub faced youngster:

"What do you do with all the money" And her reply will enviably be "I dunno" At the office or on my doorstep it seems the girls do not know what happens to the proceeds. The "official" Girl Scout web site provides part of the answer to where the profits go.

According to the Girl Scouts:

"All of the proceeds remain in the area where the cookies are sold. This revenue is used to benefit girls, some of it directly by remaining in the Girl Scout troop/group treasury and some of it indirectly by subsidizing the cost of providing the Girl Scout program in the local area."

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In other words after paying the bakery, the balance supports the local council infrastructure, and what remains is given back to each troop who sold the cookies.

I friend of mine tells me how she got into trouble with the girl scouts and the parents of her local troop.

My friend, we'll call her Lynn, volunteered to chair the year's cookie sale. Being a savvy business woman and salesman, she schooled her girls in the art of closing the sale. Accordingly these selling machines were responsible for the most successful cookie drive ever.

Pleased with the girl's effort and being democratically minded she took a vote from the young smiling faces as what to do with the proceeds. The girls agreed to take all the money they earned and buy dog food and pet supplies for the local animal shelter. This Lynn felt was what Girl Scouting was all about; supporting the local animal shelter was a wonderful and worthy cause. Lynn was so proud of the girls that she immediately made the announcement to the parents.

The parents were aghast. It turns out that normally they used the funds to offset things like; pizza parties, trips to the movies and the local skating rink. If all the money raised was given to the shelter, the parents would be forced to pay for these "fun" Girl Scout activities out of their own pockets.

"You can't do that!" the shocked parents cried. "We've never given the money away" explained another. "I'm sorry" Lynn told the parents in a letter. "The girls took a vote and I've already sent the check to the shelter".

The parents were not happy, several were down right angry even calling for a full audit of the cookie sale receipts. Soon Lynn's voice mail box was over whelmed with unhappy mothers demanding that she step down as cookie drive chairperson.

The parents were so upset that Lynn resigned not only as chairperson but from the troop as well and now her young daughter goes to ballet on Tuesday's rather than Girl Scouts.
I'm not saying boycott the Girl Scout cookie sale this year. Hopefully Lynn's experience is not the norm.

But before you buy understand where the money goes. The use of each troop's proceeds, are completely up to each troop. This year you might want to ask: "so what does your troop do with all the money"?

2 comments:

Ravenclaw Borg said...

Hey, no matter how kind Lynn and her troop's gesture was, they should deal with money more responsibly. While I often get frustrated at the low percentage of cookie money which goes to the troop, I understand that there are many expenses involved which need to be paid for.

The bakeries need to be paid (Do people think sugar, wheat, etc. are free? Not to mention time and effort and staff.). Then there are cookie prizes. Then there's shipping and packaging. And of course, cookie order forms need to be printed. I'm probably forgetting many other major and minor things too...

As for the generous donation to the animal shelter, I feel this was very kind. The girls in the troop were, I'm sure, very sweet and demonstrating Girl Scout principles. The leader, Lynn, was in a different position. She seems to have her heart in the right place, but she should have been "responsible for what she says and does" as stated in the Girl Scout Law. While the girls were likely too young to fully understand the financial aspects of cookie selling (most Girl Scouts are Juniors or younger), their leader (not to mention whoever did the cookie training, if this was not the leader) should be fully aware. Irresponsibility has repercussions.

I would like to say that I apologize if I have offended anyone. After ten years of Scouting, I have become passionate about all aspects. If anyone believes I have been inaccurate in my rant, please tell me and I will do the appropriate research and respond accordingly--I am not opposed to changing my views as long as I have good cause to.

P.S. Good luck this February, girls!

Anonymous said...

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE 50% THAT THE COUNCIL RECEIVES?? IT'S TIME TO START AT THE TOP TO FIND OUT WHY PARENTS NEED TO PAY FOR ANYTHING FOR GIRL SCOUTS!! A LOCAL TROOP SOLD OVER 10,000 BOXES @ 4.00 PER BOX THATS AROUND $40,000. THEY RECEIVE .40 OR .50 A BOX. YET AFTER PAYING THE BAKER THE COUNCIL GETS AROUND $20,000 FOR JUST BEING THE COUNCIL!!!!. MAYBE SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT THEY NEED 20,000 FOR EVERY 10,000 BOXES SOLD .. ME NOT A CHANCE. SOMEONE(S) IN CORPORATE ARE TAKING THE VACATIONS THE GIRLSCOUTS, WHO DID ALL THE WORK, SHOULD BE ENJOYING....