New skills to gain during this year’s cookie season

Digital Cookie will be a big component of 2021 Girl Scout cookie sales

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Selling cookies is an integral part of the Girl Scout experience.

“Cookie (sales) play a big role in helping our girls become the leaders of tomorrow,” said Leanna Clark, CEO of Girl Scouts of Colorado. “The important leadership, business and financial literacy skills the girls learn through the program position them for success in the future.”

With every package sold, the girls learn five lifelong skills, Clark added. They are goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

Cookie sales are still on for 2021, but considering the COVID-19 pandemic, the way Girl Scouts will sell will be a bit different this year. Specifically, there will be no door-to-door sales, and it is predicted that many Girl Scouts will be taking advantage of the Digital Cookie, which is a platform that serves as a Girl Scout’s personal cookie sales website.

“The increased focus on the digital sales this year will enhance girls’ skills in all areas,” Clark said. “They will be learning how to transition their people skills and marketing prowess to resonate in a digital environment. And they will learn how to behave honestly and responsibly in the online environment, which will complement their business ethics skills.”

The Digital Cookie launched in 2015, and though it has grown in popularity each year, it primarily served as a way for girls to sell to their friends and family who live outside of the immediate local area or out-of-state.

This year, the girls “will learn to adapt and be flexible from what they’ve done in past years,” said Robin Morris, the troop leader for her daughter Bianca’s troop, which is based in south-central Denver and consists of four girls who live in different areas of the city. With Digital Cookie, she added, “they’ll be learning to market their own business.”

Bianca Morris, 11, added that though she will be participating in some booth sales this year, she is “looking forward to testing out the new way of selling” and plans on applying some of the outreach methods she learned last year.

This is the fourth year Bianca Morris has been in Girl Scouts, and the fourth year for her to participate in cookie selling. She expects to still be successful with her sales.

People enjoy Girl Scout cookies, she said, and “even though there’s a lot of things that make this year different, cookie sales are still going on.”

Another skill-building opportunity the girls have this year, in particular, is the goal-setting. Sales, because of COVID-19, are unpredictable this year, Robin Morris said.

“So setting a reasonable goal is different this year,” Robin Morris added.

To help her set reasonable goals for this year’s cookie sales, 12-year-old Mary Fernandez, who is one of Bianca Morris’ troopmates, created a color-coded spread sheet based on last year’s sales data.

“The cookie program is very goal-driven,” said Kathryn Fernandez, Mary’s mom, adding that the girls have complete ownership of setting their goals and meeting them. So “a lot of girls are looking at past sales data to determine their inventory this year.”

Mary Fernandez will be selling 100% digitally this year, and is looking forward to managing her Digital Cookie online business - something she didn’t do too much of last year, she said. Last year, only about 20% of her total sales were digital, Mary Fernandez added.

“My customers depend on me for their cookies,” Mary Fernandez said. “While you’re at home (more often) these days, it’s better to be at home with Girl Scout cookies.”

COVID-19 will make selling different for the girls this year, Robin Morris said, and added she asks for everyone who wants to purchase cookies this year to be patient with the girls as they navigate the additional safety precautions during cookie sales.

Because all-in-all, Robin Morris said, they’re just excited to get to sell cookies this year.

Clark agreed.

“The girls always show so much creativity and dedication during cookie time. This year, that’s coupled with resilience and perseverance,” Clark said. “The way they have taken on the challenge of doing things differently this year is absolutely inspirational. I am so proud of our girls for forging ahead and making this a great cookie season, no matter what.”

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