by Kirby LindsayThe cookies are here. Yes, the sweet girls with their sinfully delicious temptations will be outside grocery stores over the next three weeks, selling the cookies that have kept Girl Scout Troops operating for 97 years. But, did you know their cookies are literally here, in Fremont?
For a second year, local landlord William Ray has given the Girl Scouts of Western Washington (GSWW) use of a warehouse for their regional ‘cookie cupboard.’ Ray charged them rent for the space, at what Paul Drake, Director of Product Sales for GSWW, admitted was “a very reduced rate.” In fact, Drake reported that every year it has proven “extremely difficult to find,” a warehouse available for six weeks yet, more often than not, in the last 13 years, a Fremont landlord has ultimately welcomed the Girl Scouts.
It Isn’t Just About Cookies
In 2010, GSWW reports that 19,609 girls sold over 3 million boxes of cookies throughout Western Washington. These sales help the girls hone five specific skills – goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. As a former foster parent, I personally saw how cookies sales developed the natural talents and emphasized positive skills in an otherwise self-conscious, emotionally damaged young girl.
A closer look at where the money goes upholds the contention by Girl Scout supporters that the sales help girls. Of the cookie money, only 15% goes to administrative costs, while 22% covers the cost of making the cookies. That leaves 63% being spent on outreach, program and services for troops. GSWW spent 8% on camp programs and properties, and 3% on capital projects including acquiring more land for future camps. The troops directly received $2 million through cookies sales in 2010 and, additionally, girls earned the equivalent of $366,000 in incentives (prizes) and camp time.
With 8 varieties of cookies (at $4 a box,) there are, however, some people who’d rather not take the tempting treats home. With Operation Cookie Drop, a $4 purchase buys a box of cookies to be delivered to U.S. military personnel (what makes someone far away feel close to home better than a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints?) In 2010, Western Washington donors gave 121,485 boxes of cookies. Also, individual Girl Scout troops can collect donations towards a Gift of Caring, for the girls to deliver boxes of cookies to their selected charity – homeless shelters, fire stations, senior centers, etc.
Never Fear, the Cookies Are Here
With the 2011 sale already launched, Drake reported that in the Western Washington Council sales are up 4% from 2010. This figure came from presale numbers, which started in January and comprise 70% of annual sales.
So on February 12, 2011, in Fremont, Nelson Trucking delivered the palette loads of cookies (9100 boxes) made by Little Brownie Bakers for pickup by 70 troops to fill their presale orders, and maybe sell a few along the way. During the booth sales, which begin February 25th and end March 13th, this cupboard will primarily fill orders for troops in Service Unit 530 (largely North Seattle – south of Northgate.)
Yet, this location, according to Drake, will also “feed 12 other cookie cupboards” around the region, including Lynnwood and Burien. The location, at the Center of the Universe, proves “absolutely convenient,” to the administrative offices for GSWW on Queen Anne. “It really helps us keep the products distributed,” he explained, and parents/troop leaders find the site both easy to access and safe to visit.
If passing by the warehouse while it’s open, it will be possible for one of the many adult volunteers find a girl to sell cookies. The better thing for those who manage to stay off the radar of the enterprising young scouts and/or brownies (they now also use social media and e-mail,) would be to check out the ingenious website that shows cookie sales by zip code.
So, come on, buy some cookies, you know you want to…
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©2011 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.