The Cookie Program can (And should!) be a fun, fast-paced, and exciting way for girls to build essential life skills like goal setting, decision making, money management, and more. But, it’s also possible that some troops may choose not to participate because they’re concerned about the time commitment or having to juggle so many cookie-related details. Maybe you and your troop don’t have a lot of support from families, or you’re a brand-new troop leader and feel intimidated about the entire thing. Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. We want every troop to feel successful with the Cookie Program. Stepping back and simplifying a little might just do the trick, so read on for some tips to pare down the program without missing out on the experience!
5 Ways to Simplify the Cookie Program
Skip the Cookie Booth
Have your girls focus on door-to-door sales instead. Door-to-door sales are the foundation of the Cookie Program! Cookie booths are completely optional and, to the whole, comprise roughly 20% of the total council sales each year. Girls learn the same skills going door-to-door and you don’t have to worry about hauling cookies to booths or hoping all the girls will show up on your sale date.
Be an Order-Taking Troop
Rather than having girls sell with inventory on hand, you can be an order-taking troop. In this scenario, Girl Scouts take orders on their order card and the families let you know at the end of the week what cookies are needed. You compile the list, place a planned order on Sunday night, and pick up the cookies later that week! Families pick up the cookies from you, then girls are off to make their deliveries. Using this option means that there won’t be any cookies returned to the troop and you won’t have excess inventory to worry about.
Participate in Online Sales
Beginning on February 1, girls can log into Smart Cookies and set up their page. On February 15–March 29, they can send emails to families and friends. Customers can also place orders using “Direct Ship,” which credits the girl and troop, without you having to worry about inventory or payment. For “Girl Delivery,” the girl is given the customer’s order where she arranges delivery and accepts payment. She will either pull these cookies from her own inventory or get in touch with you or your troop cookie manager to request the cookies she needs for the order.
Be Honest with Families and Share the Work
You’ll need help if the troop is participating in the Cookie Program. If no adults are willing to take on the role of troop cookie manager, break down the troop cookie manager responsibilities and spread them out to troop volunteers. For instance, one volunteer can oversee collecting cookie money from girls, and another can be in charge of picking up the cookies from the cupboards and distributing them to families. One person can oversee entering the transactions in Smart Cookies on a weekly basis; this person can also take charge of entering girl reward choices.
Keep Your Sale to Just What is Placed in Your Troop’s First Initial Order
Starting off small with this initial order provides an opportunity to get a taste of the Cookie Program. It’s typical that these experiences spark joy and passion for both parents and girls to step into bigger goals the following years. Usually, one parent will realize how much fun they are having with their Girl Scout and ends up willing to take on more responsibilities of managing more cookies in the future.
Kathryn Klos-Pierson – Kathryn is a manager in the Product Program department at Girl Scouts River Valleys. She lives in Eden Prairie with her Girl Scout Cadette, husband, and pet rabbit, Rico. She is the troop leader to 11 Cadettes. Her favorite Girl Scout activities are teaching girls how to be creative and how to appreciate outdoors (Even if you’re not a camp director!). One of her favorite activities is decorating for the holidays—especially Halloween!