Friday, February 8, 2013

National Girl Scout Cookie Day!

In 1988, I joined Girl Scouts as a precious little Daisy.  Though I had a few years where I was in and out (thank you college travels and high school extra curriculars), somehow, I always ended up back in Scouting.  So here I am, all these years later, still involved in scouting as a leader and a volunteer.

I'm going to get very personal with you right now, but for a good reason.  I am 29, my husband 28.  He is active duty military, so isn't exactly rolling in the dough.  I work part time from home (but let's be honest, I'm not really making much money as well).  But, we own our own home (a nice one), we each have a car (good cars too), and hey guess what- we have NO debt!  We also have several investments and plenty of money in savings.  I admit, we do owe part of this to my husband's penny pinching ways, but I also owe a large part of this too...... GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!

Hear me out though, will you, please?

Goal Setting:
A lot of troops (traditionally speaking) have very ambitious goals!  We want to go to Savannah, Disney (Land and world), we want to go to NYC, England, India and more!  But, all these things cost money, so we need to learn.....

Money Management:
This plays a huge part into our goals, but ultimately, it's very important.  Money is tight in this day and age!  We have to learn about the profits we'll be making, how much things cost, so that plays right back into goals to learn how much we need to sell.  But that even then plays into.....

Business Ethics:
I think the word Ethics speaks for itself.  As Girl Scouts, we promise to live by the Girl Scout law, which in itself is like a code of ethics for Scouts.  All of us Scouts are selling cookies for whatever goal(s) we set.  We learn that we need to respect each other, but at the same time we're supporting each other!  We can't be selfish and hog all the cookies (though what happens with cookies in your house is out of our hands), we all still need to sell them.  But, selling cookies is so important.....

Money management, business ethics, decision making, people skills, and more!

I have a great story about people skills that you all can relate to.....

My precious little Daisy, my daughter, spent the first half of last year's cookie season talking to my butt.  We knocked on neighbors doors, people she KNOWS, yet she still talked to my rear end.  Even one of my closest friend's, whom we have known for years, she asked them to buy cookies while talking to my behind.  Seriously, my bum has never been talked to that much!  And then, booth sales started.  I secretly dreaded it because I was scared she would spend all the the booths talking to my dairy air again.  Much to surprise though, she didn't!  She began to get over her stage fright.  By the end of booth and cookie season, I thought, yay we're finally over the hump!  Now here we are, a year later.  The friends that I mentioned have since moved, so we got on Skype so Leah could ask them to buy cookies.  What did she do you ask?  She hid from the camera and took a good 15 minutes to ask them to buy cookies.  There it was, that secret dread again, as I thought oh boy, I better wear some comfy jeans as we go door to door because my toushy is going to get spoken to again!  The next day, it was bright and shiny out, so we put on our uniforms and hit the streets!  And guess what, SHE DIDN'T TALK TO MY FANNY!  Seriously, y'all have no clue how relieved I was!!!  We start booths here next week, so hopefully she'll do beautifully!

But hey, guess what, this is Girl Scouts,and we love earning badges!  Every level of scouting has special badges for us to earn that relate back to our cookie sales and financial skills.  For those of you who follow my blog know that last year my Daisies earned the Financial Literacy leaves.  They learned very basic money skills. We learned the basics about money, and then we planned a shopping list for the farmer's market when we needed food for another badge.  This year we took our basic knowledge of money and set some troop goals and budgeted for a big trip, which then translated to how much cookies cost, how much profit we make, so how many boxes do we need to sell to achieve our goals.

What else does cookies teach us you ask?  Selflessness.  Though this is something you can't really "teach," you can lead by example.  Many of us have programs in our councils that allow us to donate cookies to our military (quick story- a few years ago during a deployment, my husband remembers an entire palate of cookies being to delivered to where he was at the time).  I told the girls in my troop that I will buy one box of cookies from every scout who shows up at my door (and I have!).  What I did not tell them was that when they come to deliver and I pay for them, I will be donating them back to send off.  I'm hoping that leading by example, they might understand what it means to be selfless.

Oh, but yet there's more to learn.  COOKING SKILLS!  No really.  There are a lot of great recipes out there that use cookies (ok, so they may not be the most healthy things you can eat, but cooking with something fun gets their foot in the door!).  Both the bakers we use have awesome recipes already on their websites:

I have tried many of these recipes and can tell you that they are amazing!  They also serve as great marketing tools at cookie booths.  Oh hey, that's yet another thing the girls are learning about, marketing their "business!"

My awesome Daisies just made their booth materials this past week (sorry, I'm behind on posting about my meetings).  I know it's not the best picture, so I'll tell you all about their marketing materials!  They have several recipes featured, they are promoting donating cookies to the military and how selling cookies helps them out.  We haven't finished our goals poster yet (why we're selling them), but it's already off to a good start.

So now, I ask you, what DOESN'T Girl Scout cookies teach our scouts?!  There's so much I haven't mentioned yet!  The learning is literally endless.  Even as an adult, I'm still learning through cookies!

Oh hey, by the way, Girl Scouts are proud members of the 21st century, we've got apps!
For Android phones:
For iPhones:

Hey, did you know that some of the most successful women in the world were once Girl Scouts?  Hilary and Chelsea Clinton, Katie Couric, Dakota Fanning, Taylor Swift, Serena Williams, Mary Tyler Moore, Abigail Breslin, Gwenyth Paltrow, Lisa Ling, Mariah Carey, Sandra Day O'Connor, Barbara Walters, Sally Ride, Martha Stewart, Lucille Ball, Susan Lucci, Sheryl Crow, Laura Bush, Gloria Steinem..... impressive list, and that doesn't even begin to cover it!  Girl Scout cookies is the LARGEST Girl-led business in the world!  And really, the girls are running it.  Me, the adult, I'm just here to dot the I's and cross the T's (and lift a few heavy boxes).  The girls really do all the hard work and a good portion of the planning.

I felt bad having to tell the girls that according to policy, we couldn't go to Disney just yet (too far), BUT, next year, if they still want to, we'll go when they're Brownies.  I promised them that as their leader, I am open to anything (within reason of course).  My troop is full of ambitious girls, but trust me when I say they are not alone!  Because of scouting, I have literally been around the world.  Because of scouting, I have met some of the most amazing people.  Because of scouting (and my parents), I learned so of the most valuable lessons.......

Because of Girl Scout Cookies, I am where I am today.

So there you have it, Girl Scouting at it's finest..... all because of cookies!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Daisies, Year 2, Meeting 15

Our first meeting back of the new year, yay!  It really stunk being laid up for so long (Mr. Appendix, you will not be missed!), so getting back to Scouts was exactly what the doctor ordered!  Well, not really, he actually ordered me to take it easy, but puh-lease!  Me, take it easy?  If you could hear me laugh, you would have just heard me snort.

The first thing we did today was to help us out with our next meeting.  We were going to begin working on the GAT (global action theme) badge from WAGGGS.  One of the suggested activities was to invite a woman from another country to share her experiences of what it was like growing up/living there.  I personally do not know of any one who currently lives near us, so my solution to the plan was to reach out to the wonderful ladies I met over the summer at Girl's World Forum (and to all those who helped, again, thank you, y'all are AMAZING, as usual!).   I asked the girls to come up with questions for me to email out to everyone.  They came up with some awesome questions!

Where did you live growing up?
What was is like there?
Where do you currently live?
What is it like there?
What special food/foods did you eat growing up?
What is it like being a Girl Guide/Scout in your country?
What is your favorite thing about Girl Guiding/Scouting?
What is a special song or game you sing/play in your country?
If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be and why?
What has been your favorite Guiding/Scouting memory and why?
What was your favorite badge that you earned?

Ok, confession time..... I came up with that last question.  I have an ulterior motive though (you'll see in May why!).

The biggest part of our meeting was beginning work on Responsible For What I Say and Do.  We read Mari's story and discussed ways that we can be responsible.  So, what's a good solution for doing this?  A chore chart!  It's a very simple chart (brush your teeth, make your bed, clean your room, take a bath/shower and a few more along those lines).  We did leave a few blank spots in case parents wanted to add a specific chore, but, the girls have to be diligent every month and every day and do their chores.  At the end of the month, we'll give them a chart for the next month.  BUT, there's another hitch to our plan.  After this, we made money banks.  We took some old jars and covered them with cute paper and decorated them.  We asked the parents to help the girls earn money for their chores, but, it can only be change!  We told the girls that this money they are earning will help them pay for their pins and patches at our end of the year trip to Savannah.  We had to stress that they couldn't ask for more than a quarter per chore (our trip isn't until  May, so this is a great way to help teach them the importance of goal setting and saving money).  Oh, and in case you haven't figure it out, this activity also goes back to our financial literacy leaves we earned last year, so this was a great review!