Oatmeal cookies

When it comes to Girl Scouts, one can’t help but daydream about one of their favorite sweet treats: cookies. Well, Thin Mint, Samoa, Trefoil, Do-Si-Do, Tagalong, Lemon-Ups, Girl Scout S’mores and Toffee are coming back. It’s 2021 Girl Scout Cookie season.

For six weeks each year, more than 11,000 Arizona-Cactus Pine-Council Girl Scouts across central and northern Arizona participate in the most extensive girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world: The Girl Scout Cookie Program.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is much more than a delicious treat. It provides girls with the opportunity to run their own cookie business, learning essential skills including goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics. While practicing these skills, girls also build the confidence needed to be successful women and leaders.  

This season, the girls are learning a sixth skill: managing uncertainty. 

After completing a successful 2020 cookie season before the onset of COVID-19 shutdowns in early March, 2021 is a big year for these cookie entrepreneurs. While COVID-19’s effects can’t be predicted, Girl Scouts are ready to tackle the challenge head-on. They are equipped with new strategies to sell cookies safely, including the Digital Cookie app, offering drive-thru options around the Valley, and increasing safety measures for girls and their customers.

The Digital Cookie app is a digital selling platform where girls build a custom website and invite friends and family to purchase cookies via email marketing, with the option of having cookies delivered through contactless pickup, drop-off or shipped directly to their personal contacts’ homes.

“Digital Cookie introduces lessons about online marketing, application use and eCommerce to Girl Scouts, through building their cookie website and managing their virtual sales,” said Tamara Woodbury, the council’s CEO.

The qualities that lead to successful entrepreneurship, like curiosity, confidence and innovation, are essential for all types of academic and career success. There aren’t many organizations that help girls learn key entrepreneurship skills, but Girl Scouting does.

Not only do girls learn how to invest in themselves and their troops, but they learn the importance of investing in their communities. 

In 2020 alone, Girl Scouts sold over 3 million cookies to Arizona customers, collectively donating more than 81,000 packages of cookies to local food banks, first responders, military personnel, hospitals and other nonprofit organizations. 

And after seeing the impact of COVID-19 on their communities, many troops took to the initiative to rework their initially planned service projects to be relevant to the needs of their communities, including sewing masks and building hand-washing stations for the Navajo Nation, making pet toys to donate to the AZ Humane Society and donating thank-you gifts, goodies and treats to essential workers—yet again proving why Girl Scouts are known for their resiliency and the impact they make in their communities.

In 2021, the girls are expected to do the same, rising to the challenge, identifying issues in their communities, creating solutions and seeing how they can use their cookie products and proceeds for the greater good. 

The 2021 cookie season for Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council continues until February 28. Visit gscookiefinder.com and enter your ZIP code to find a nearby cookie booth.