Did you know that the Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world? It’s a big endeavor, and that means that during cookie season, it’s all hands on deck—including families. This year, we’re excited to introduce a new component of the Cookie Program designed to promote family involvement in the cookie sale—the Cookie Entrepreneur Family Pin! Each program grade level has specific guidelines, which will allow girls to maximize their experience and develop the five core skills of the cookie program: goal setting, decision-making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.
The ability to set goals is a skill that your Girl Scout will use throughout her life. The Cookie Entrepreneur Family Pin guidelines are designed around this skill and are set up to involve families in establishing their girl’s cookie sale goals. Girls and their families are encouraged to review the program rewards together and set goals accordingly. For younger girls (grades K-4) and girls who are new to the cookie sale, focus on setting a realistic goal. Remind younger girls to consider how much time and effort they will have to devote to reaching their goals. For returning girls at older levels, encourage them to reflect on their goals from past seasons to develop new ones for the current season. It’s also important to acknowledge that people don’t always reach their goals, and that’s okay!
Girls can use their decision-making skills by developing a business plan and selling strategy for the season. Ask your girls to think about their goals when developing this plan. They can start off by making a list of potential customers or have them think about how they can expand their customer base. Cadettes also have the option of earning their Business Planning, Marketing, or Thinking Big badge in tandem with the pin.
Before making any sales, be sure to help your girl practice counting and identifying money as well as making change (especially for Daisies and Brownies). For Juniors and older, allow a bit more independence in handling money, but also let them know that you are available to help and give advice. Seniors and Ambassadors can also work on related Cookie Business badges as they complete the steps for their pin.
Once the sale begins, girls will practice and hone their people skills by interacting with customers. This can be a nerve-wracking experience for some girls. If your girl is shy, be supportive and practice with her before she starts selling. Regardless of what level your Girl Scout is, we encourage all girls to develop an “Elevator Pitch,” that is, a short sales pitch they can use when talking with potential customers. If you’re having trouble getting started, use the template from the Cookie Rally Guide (Page 19). If girls are really motivated to step up their game, have them practice pitches for specific cookies or flavor palates.
Most importantly, we want to remind our girls to be ethical and fair. Encourage girls to be polite and respectful when interacting with customers (whether they make a sale or not) and to be a sister to every Girl Scout. Remind them that they are representing their troop, community, and Girl Scouts River Valleys. The Cookie Program is meant to help girls develop their skills, and it’s important to set a positive example for our up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Here’s to another incredible Cookie Season!
Marissa Glazos – Marissa is the administrative assistant for the Product Program department at Girl Scouts River Valleys. She earned her BS in psychology and neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, but discovered her passion for youth development during her Peace Corps service. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling, and cooking.
Hanna Lucas – Hanna is a Program Assistant for the Product Program department at Girl Scouts River Valleys. Prior to Girl Scouts, Hanna served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Saint Paul Parks & Recreation, and also worked in the music and coffee industries in Nashville, Tennessee. Hanna likes to spend her free time outside whenever possible—especially hiking and camping.