It comes only once a year. It wears a cute hat. It’s very happy when it has a plate of cookies and a glass of milk in front of it. No, we’re not talking about Santa Claus. We’re talking about Girl Scouts.
Each spring, millions of Girl Scouts across the country go door-to-door, in their schools, shopping centers, churches and neighborhoods, and sell more than 200 million boxes of cookies each year.
Troop No. 861, which meets each week in Brewer, is led by adviser Stephanie Fournier, and includes girls ages 11 to 14 hailing from Milford to Brewer. Together, the group has sold more than 500 boxes of cookies. A hotly debated subject during troop meetings is which variety, exactly, is the best kind.
“Thin Mints, all the way,” said Tiffany Anne Strout, a 13-year-old student at the Veazie Community School.
“No way, I like the Lemonades,” said her fellow Girl Scout, Megan Ellingwood, 11, of Milford.
“The new ones, the Daisy-Go-Rounds, are my new favorite,” said Kira Marie Strout, 11, sister to Tiffany.
“They like them all,” said troop leader Fournier, who that day was making colorful shamrocks with the girls as St. Patrick’s Day decorations. “It’s a really valuable thing for them, because they learn about setting goals and finding ways to meet them. It teaches them a lot of life skills. And they form really strong friendships within the troop.”
While they’re tasty straight out of the box, the Girl Scouts this year have released a number of recipes featuring Girl Scout Cookies. Troop 861 made Thin Mint Pie, with a delicious pie crust made of Thin Mints, for their meeting last Monday. Other recipes are variations on cheesecake, snack mixes, brownies and parfaits.
The girls from Troop 861, along with their fellow Maine Girl Scouts, will also be selling cookies at various locations throughout the Greater Bangor area, beginning Saturday and running through April 18. When all is said and done, the profits from cookie sales help Scouts pay for things like uniforms, arts and crafts supplies, and activities such as going to state parks, visiting museums and taking trips to various locations, such as the Boston trip Troop 861 took a few months ago.
“I learned about business,” said Megan Ellingwood. “I started up a savings account. I feel a lot more self-confident about money. I know a lot more now.”
The girls all agree, however, that selling cookies is just one small part about being a Girl Scout.
“It’s not just about cookies,” said Tiffany Anne Strout. “I like being a Girl Scout because I feel like I am connected with people all over the world. There are millions of Girl Scouts out there. But the cookies are the yummy part, that’s for sure.”
Girl Scout Cookie booth sales will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. March 14, 21 and 22 at Sam’s Club in Bangor; 5 a.m.-8 p.m. March 20 and 21 at Village Variety in Glenburn; and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 21 at the Bangor Mall. More booth locations all over the state can be found by visiting www.girlscoutsofmaine.org.
– Sales of Girl Scout Cookies began in 1917, five years after the founding of the Girl Scouts in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Lowe.
– In 2008, 15-year-old Jennifer Sharpe from Dearborn, Mich., sold 17,328 boxes of cookies. Elizabeth Brinton, who, in the late ’70s and early ’80s, sold more than 100,000 boxes of cookies, holds the all-time record for total amount of boxes sold during a Girl Scout career.
– The best-selling cookies are Thin Mints, which make up 25 percent of sales. Samoas or Caramel Delites constitute 19 percent, followed by Tagalongs or Peanut Butter Patties with 13 percent, Do-Si-Dos or Peanut Butter Sandwiches with 11, Shortbreads or Trefoils with 9, and the other varieties with the remaining 23 percent.
– According to the Girl Scouts of America, the cookies that feature peanut butter were not affected by the salmonella-tainted peanut butter scare from earlier this year.
– All Girl Scout Cookies are made by Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers.
– Girl Scout Cookies are free of preservatives and trans fats, and are kosher products.
— FROM GIRL SCOUTS OF AMERICA