They’re young, occasionally timid but perhaps some of the more welcomed door-to-door salespeople you’ll ever meet. They’re the Girl Scouts and right about now they’re knocking on your door with a cookie order form.
Each year since 1917, the Girl Scouts have been hawking some of the most beloved baked goods in the history of cookies. From the Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Samoas and the classic Trefoils (these have the Girl Scout logo on them), people have been buying up boxes, eating them, freezing them for future use or giving them away to friends and family. These cookies have been a mainstay of Girl Scout life and American culture for more than 90 years.
The early days of Girl Scout cookies began in the kitchens of girl members, baking the sweets under the supervision of their mothers, according to the Girl Scout’s official history of the cookie. The sale of the cookies was then, as it is now, a way to finance Girl Scout activities.
“The earliest mention of a cookie sale found to date was that of the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, which baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project in December 1917,” reads the cookie history found at www.girlscoutcookies.org.
Then, five years later, the Girl Scout’s national magazine, The American Girl, provided a sugar cookie recipe for all Girl Scouts. Back then the estimated cost of ingredients for six-to-seven dozen cookies was up to 36 cents. It was recommended that troops sell the cookies for 25 to 30 cents per dozen.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Girl Scouts across the country baked their own sugar cookies under the supervision of their mothers. The cookies were packaged in wax paper, sealed with a Girl Scout sticker and sold door-to-door for up to 35 cents per dozen.
These days the cookies are produced at large bakeries and shipped to the many Girl Scout councils once orders are placed. But the Girl Scouts are still making their way door-to-door, achieving sales goals they set for themselves, while raising funds for Girl Scouts as a whole and their individual troops.
A percentage of the money from the sales of the cookies goes to the individual troops.
These days, people are watching what they spend, but the Girl Scout cookie has weathered tough economic times in the past. According to the organization’s Web site, during the 1930s, amidst the turmoil of the Great Depression, cookie production and sales expanded and the first commercial bakers were used to produce a product that was growing in popularity.
Today, while people are looking out for their pocketbooks, there seems to still be room for the ubiquitous cookies.
The Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast serves girls in grades kindergarten to 12 in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. If you haven’t seen a Girl Scout selling cookies, call 1-800-77SCOUT or visit www.gsccc.org to find a young entrepreneur and stock up on your favorite cookie.