December 27, 2010

Bring on the cookies

From left in back row, Cadette Girl Scouts Julia Toohey, DeLeah Barker, Isabel Silveira and Liz Bonilla pose with DeLeah’s younger sister Darcy Barker and some cookies in front of the
East Derry General Store, which last year was Girl Scout cookie sales central.
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- New Year’s Day is fast approaching. Aside from being the actual first day of the new year, it is also a bit of a national holiday for cookie lovers around the globe: Jan. 1 is Girl Scout Cookie Sale Kick-off Day.
“We have about a month to take orders before the cookies come in,” said Barbara Geroski, Girl Scout Cookie program coordinator for Derry Community Girl Scouts.
“It’s our No. 1 fundraiser, and all the proceeds that come back to us go to run Scouting camps and funding all our programs,” said
It has been 75 years since the national organization first licensed a commercial baker to mass produce cookies to be sold by Girl Scouts across the country. Before that, cookies were home baked and sold regionally.
Geroski said that while much has changed about the way cookies are sold — with Girl Scouts banding together to set up cookie stations
 or partner with local businesses to share real estate, like Walmart or the East Derry General Store, cookie consumers can now find out where to buy cookies by logging on to www.girlscoutcookies. org, entering your ZIP code and finding a local source for all your Thin Mints and Samoas. 

As always, there is more to selling cookies than the 70 percent profit that stays locally to help Scouts fund programs, said Geroski. 
“What’s probably changed most over time is that most of the leaders I know are trying to give the girls opportunities to try things they’ve never tried before, like being entrepreneurs, for example,” said Geroski. “Scouting helps the girls learn how to give back to their communities by thinking of creative ways to make a difference.” 
Even down to planning an activity or event, much of the work needed to coordinate a trip or fundraiser is left to the girls to work out, said Geroski. Teaching them early on that there is more to an activity than just showing up is part of the Girl Scout mission. 
“We try to step back and let them make arrangements. For example, we did a Niagara Falls trip and they had to plan the whole thing, which gets into map reading and thinking ahead about what they will need. Even if they forget a few details, that is how they learn for the next time,” Geroski said. “That’s how they learn to succeed.” 
When Girl Scouts were established in the early part of the 20th century, it was a way to get girls out of the sheltered environments of their homes and out into the world. 
That mission has evolved to include learning about how girls can make a difference in the lives of others, said Geroski. 
In addition to buying cookies for your own consumption, the public can also donate cookies to local food pantries or to be sent overseas to the troops, said Geroski. 
“Some local troops organize collections that will go to a local pantry, but for the past five years, a larger percentage of troops participate in A Gift of Caring, which is a program in partnership with the National Guard, making it possible to send cookies to the servicemen and women overseas,” Geroski said. 
For more information about cookie sales or to find a Girl Scout meeting near you, contact Geroski at

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