Story and photo by Susan Mikula Campbell
It's Girl Scout cookie time again. Enthusiastic hordes of young saleswomen began the time-honored tradition of knocking on doors last month and now are taking advantage of the holiday season by enticing shoppers at stores around the area.
A chilly night didn't deter Junior Troop 258 on Tuesday. Well bundled up, the Girl Scouts, who come from the Niagara-Wheatfield and Wilson school districts, their leaders and some siblings and parents set up a cookie table outside Sam's Club in Niagara Falls.
"They love doing the cookie booths, talking to people and being with their friends," said Troop Leader Barb Faller of Sanborn. She remembers doing cookie sales herself as a Girl Scout and now has three daughters in the program. "There's all kinds of things you learn selling cookies - confidence, financial literacy, communication skills, goal setting."
The cookie sale is the major fundraiser for the Girl Scouts and helps fund programs for the year, explained Faller. Troop 258 is especially excited about sales this year, because the funds will help send the girls on a trip to Savannah, Ga., to visit the birthplace of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low.
"I've never been to Georgia before. It should be quite interesting," said Cayla Swanson, a Tuscarora School fifth-grader.
"We can see Juliette Low's house and see other Girl Scouts along the way, maybe," said Natalie Clause, a West Street Elementary fifth-grader.
Selling cookies is not an easy job, although the girls insist that Girl Scout cookies are better than any others. Natalie, who already has sold about 115 boxes of cookies in individual sales, pointed out that "most people don't have a lot of cash." Cayla, with more than 160 boxes in individual sales, added, "some people can't have sugar."
Everybody has a favorite Girl Scout cookie. For Faller and Natalie, it's the combined taste of peanut butter and chocolate in Peanut Butter Patties. For Cayla, it's Thanks-A-Lot "because I like shortbread, and I definitely like the chocolate on the bottom." She admits she's been known to sneak some Girl Scout cookies in the morning - "Don't tell my mom!"
Eight varieties are being sold this year. "The five basic cookies have been there since I was a kid," Faller said. "It's nice that they switch up a little bit and give us new varieties at least every couple of years."
The basics are Peanut Butter Patties, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Thin Mints, Shortbread and Caramel de Lights.
Also being sold this year are Thanks-A-Lot, Lemonades and the brand-new Mango Crèmes.
Girl Scout cookies sell for $3.50. The enthusiastic members of Junior Troop 258 are planning cookie tables for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at Kmart on Military Road, Town of Niagara; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at Walmart on Niagara Falls Boulevard in North Tonawanda; 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, at Walmart on Military Road in Town of Niagara; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, inside the mall at Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls on Military Road.
To find a Girl Scout cookie booth near you, visit the cookie locator and put in your ZIP code at www.girlscoutcookies.org.