Remember Sarah from her super-cool astronomy camp story?
Well, she’s also a seasoned Girl Scout Cookie volunteer, and she shared some tips with us that volunteers can use to make the rest of this program as organized and smooth as possible! She should know, too! Sarah has volunteered with Girl Scouts since 2003 and is currently the troop administrator for a troop of 6th-8th graders. She has been with them since they were in kindergarten! She is also a member of the Little River Service Unit Team AND serves as the Cookie Cupboard manager. Read on for Girl Scout Cookie 101!
How do you get girls motivated during Cookie season?
Talk it out!
They should have a good discussion about what they want to do with the money they earn. I suggest something like a “Spend-Save-Give” calculation. This means saving part of the money for future use (maybe you will be bridging in the spring and they can cover part of the cost of new vests and insignia), using part for a service project, and spending part of it on something fun like a camping trip, putt-putt golf, or horseback riding.
Cookie Activity pin
Also, I get on my soapbox every year to remind people of the awesomeness that is the Cookie Activity pin! I think it’s the most under-utilized and under-promoted part of the Cookie Program.
It’s NOT a pin that you just give out to the girls who sell cookies – it has requirements. But the thing is, if you are “doing the program” like you should be, they ARE earning the pin. It requires girls to work the five parts of the Cookie Program, which are things that they should do every year: goal setting, decision-making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. The 5 Skills make the Cookie program EASIER to find success in selling cookies and raising money. Working on the pin teaches girls these skills that they will use for the rest of their lives, even if they don’t realize it.
The pin has the same requirements each year, but as your girls get older, the way you work on the requirements changes.
For example, with people skills, we do an exercise where they role-play going door-to-door and working a booth. We have the girls take turns being the customer and the Girl Scout. They learn how to deal with rude customers, clueless customers, and curious customers. Their favorite part is to play the role of the rude customer. They have a lot of fun doing this, but each year they get better and better at handling the difficult customers that come their way. It’s one of those they-don’t-realize-they-are-learning activities.
What advice do you have for communicating with parents during Cookie season?
Availability is important
You need to make sure you are available to your parents. Sure, you have to set some boundaries, but know that for a few weeks, you’ll need to spend a little extra time for them to get cookies, bring you money, etc. As for HOW to communicate, use whatever method they are used to hearing from you. Frequent text reminders are a good idea as well.
What’s important advice for a new Cookie volunteer?
Keep track of receipts
But absolutely and positively the MOST IMPORTANT THING that I tell first-time volunteers and every volunteer every year is: Receipts! Receipts! Receipts! If you have a parent who won’t pay the money they owe, receipts can help council pursue them. If you get confused and have a financial twisty-knot, receipts can help you reconstruct what really happened and fix it. If you’re missing cookies, receipts can tell you where they actually went. If in any of these instances you DON’T have receipts, there isn’t much that anyone can do to help you.
Organization is key!
Oh, and keep your daughter’s cookies in a different room. It is really easy to get her cookies mixed up with troop cookies and then you are all confused.
What are some of the coolest things your girls have been able to do with Cookie money over the years?
Goal setting pays off!
Every year, the girls set a goal for what they want to do with their cookie money. Last May, we went to Savannah for six days, stayed in a huge beach house, and did just all the Savannah activities we could think of. We used cookie money to cover almost all of our expenses! The girls and chaperones only had to pay $150 each for the trip, AND we had enough money to pay for half of our new Cadette vests and insignia – AND we still had enough money in the bank for our next year’s activities.
My favorite was when they were in kindergarten, and they wanted to go to Chuckie Cheese in Hawaii. Needless to say we didn’t make it to the Hawaii Chuckie Cheese, but we did make it to the Knoxville one!