01/08/12 — Girl Scouts kick off annual cookie sales

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Girl Scouts kick off annual cookie sales

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on January 8, 2012 1:50 AM

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Allison Carter

Mercedes Atkinson, left, and Sydney Bell smile as they decorate their bags Friday at the Girl Scouts' Cookie Rally.

Kamryn Mendes will do just about anything to sell Girl Scout cookies -- including standing out in the snow.

"It was freezing and I really wanted to go home, but I didn't want to give up," the 12-year-old member of Cadet Troop 1 said. "I wanted to keep going and learn perseverance. I thought that was the best way."

That day three years ago taught her a lot about herself, too, because it didn't start snowing until her troop was setting up its booth at Sam's Club. Kamryn was not dressed for snow; she had worn only her Girl Scout blouse, a light jacket and a vest.

"We had more sales that day than we've pretty much ever had, and I think it's because they felt sorry that I was in the snow," she said.

Kamryn shared her cookie selling experience with newer Girl Scouts at a cookie rally Friday night at Eastern Wayne Elementary School.

The rally kicked off cookie sales for the year, which officially began Saturday. Orders are being taken and cookies will be delivered Feb. 11. After that, Girl Scouts will then be found all over Wayne County selling cookies at booths.

During Friday night's rally, local Girl Scouts were treated to dinner and several activities that dealt with learning the different kinds of cookies, said cookie manager Lillie Thompson.

"They learn things that they need to be a successful cookie entrepreneur," she explained.

One such game -- one of the oldest games that Girl Scouts play -- is Kim's Game. Items are put on a tray while the girls look them over for a few minutes. Then the tray is covered and the girls have to write down the items they saw.

"It's a test of your memory, but also builds your memory," Mrs. Thompson said.

Then there was a money game to teach the girls how to count back change to customers.

"People are so dependent on computers and calculators that they can't count money anymore," Mrs. Thompson said. "This game helps them do just that."

The cookie manager said the rally is held to get the girls psyched up about getting out and selling cookies.

"We talk about goal setting and recognition," she said. "And the newer ones see the older girls who have done great things with the money they raised and see that they can do it, too."

There was even a bakeoff, with all of the desserts using some kind of Girl Scout cookie.

Jennifer Wildman with Daisy Troop 104 found a Girl Scout recipe from 1922 and made her own dessert around it.

She put crushed thin mints and nuts on the bottom, with a layer of the 1922 recipe topped with crushed up peppermint bits.

"It's almost like a peppermint blonde brownie," Mrs. Wildman said. "The recipe sounded interesting so I decided to use it and come up with my own creation."

As the Girl Scouts played games, tasted cookie desserts and mingled with one another, they also told stories of their cookie experiences.

Kamryn recalled the time when her friend bought cookies because her aunt had just died and she wanted to give them to her uncle.

Kaitlyn Brubaker, a 15-year-old member of Senior Troop 395, said her best experience was when she was younger and selling cookies at a booth.

"There was this old man who always came up to the table when I was little and he'd do magic tricks for us. He'd come every year. It was so cute. Then he'd buy a box of cookies."

And when Stephanie Beeken sells the cookies at her church, people always tell her how Girl Scouts has inspired them. That, in turn, inspires the 16-year-old member of Troop 395.

Seven-year-old Mercedes Atkinson has fun selling cookies.

"I just go up and ask people to buy cookies and they usually do," she said..

And the member of Brownie Troop 318 likes using the money she helps raise to go on trips to places like Washington, D.C.

Her troopmate, 8-year-old Sydney Bell, said sometimes it's hard for her to sell cookies because when a lot of people buy them, she gets things mixed up a little bit.

"But the best part is making a lot of money and eating a lot of cookies," Sydney said. "My favorite is the shortbread."

Selling cookies, though, does more than just help the Girl Scouts raise money for trips and projects.

"I think it's evolved me into who I am today," Kamryn said. "I think it taught me really good lessons, like how to persevere and go through with something I already said I was going to."

This year is also special to Girl Scouts because it's the 100th anniversary of Scouting.

Local Scouts will have a display at the Wayne County Museum during March. There will also be a public celebration at the museum March 17.

A birthday party will be held March 12 at Herman Park Center with balloons, clowns, bouncing amusements and more.

"Our birthday is March 12, so leading up to then, we're just going to party, party, party," Mrs. Thompson said.