How to Survive Girl Scout Cookie Season

Two families. One Girl Scout. One large cookie goal.

Its-Girl-Scout-Cookie-Time

When I was growing up, I was never a Girl Scout. It was something I perceived as clickish and it was a group that my parents decided not to put my sister and I in. There was also definite expenses to being a Girl Scout and that was more of a want and not a need. My parents were young and on a budget. Since I was never part of it, I didn’t miss anything.

Well, my life is extremely different from my parents. They had kids in their early and mid 20’s and I had mine in my very late 30’s. I also have two step-kids which makes life very different and ever-changing. I know nothing else than being a step parent because I have had the blessing to be a step parent twice. And I have to say, I wouldn’t change a thing. I have loved all four of my step kids more than words can say.  They are all truly amazing in their own unique ways.

cookie zone

Now back to the topic of Girl Scout Cookie Season. How to survive this crazy season?

My stepdaughter changed troops this year.  Her new troop is absolutely amazing.  They are one of the top troops in the state.  They know how to make a difference in the community, develop young strong leaders and sell cookies.  Last year my Girl Scout sold about 250 boxes of cookies.  This year, she decided her goal would be 1000.  Now this is a big jump, but with amazing leadership and a drive I have never seen in her before, I know she can make it.

This is merely my second season, so obviously I have a lot to learn.  I have spoken to some seasoned professionals and come up with the four keys to surviving the season.

1. Agree on the Goal
During the parent/daughter cookie meeting, it was up to the girls to decide what their goal was.  Our Girl Scout, her mom and me (the stepmom of course), talked about how we can support her to hit her goal.  The Girl Scout leader described their previous years experience and what she expected the girls to be able to do if they worked as a team.  Our Girl Scout decided on her goal, which was soooo much higher than last year, and three of signed a paper saying we were committed to do our best to hit that goal.
I feel the importance to making the commitment with your Girl Scout, is that they realize that you support them and understand the importance of this commitment.  I want my kids to always feel that I have their back.  I want them to know that I will give them all the tools possible to succeed in life.
Box Picture
2. Schedule it
Every family seems to constantly be swamped.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a retired couple, a “traditional” young family with 2.5 kids or a single mother working 70 hours a week.  We all seem to fill up the time we have with as much stuff as we can fit in.  It is not always a healthy habit but it is amazing how we all (okay, most of us) seem to do it.
Girl Scout cookie season is no different from any other part of life, scheduling it is the key.  As with everyone’s busy schedule, blocking out time for the important things in life is essential, whether it be our career, church, working out or selling cookies.  It is crucial, as a family, that you schedule out all meetings and realize that cookie booths will take up a big chunk of every weekend.
I personally like using my iCloud Calendar but have also recently learned the joy of Cozi Family Calendar.  Both are great apps that can be used to share your schedule with your family.  ICloud can be used with fellow iCloud users and Cozi can be shared with anyone who downloads the app onto their phone, iPhone or Android.  These are two great options, but don’t forget a good old fashion paper calendar (a classic good choice).
At times this may seem exhausting but realize you are teaching your daughter to prioritize her life.  She is learning the importance of hard work, and reaching a goal takes determination and persistence, no matter the age.
3. Document it
Girl Scouts provide a simple paper for all pre-sale requests.  It is self-explanatory but I highly encourage photo copying a blank copy for more orders.  Also, after pre-orders have been taken, make sure and take a copy.  Personally, I learned the hard way.
It is your Girl Scout’s responsibility to manage the list, but remember she is still just a kid.  Help her out by making a copy of the list for your own records.  If nothing else, it can’t hurt.  And accidents do happen.  This is a crazy time and can be stressful.  We want to encourage the positive aspects of this time, so have a back up list can save a lot of embarrassment and unneeded stress.  I know of at least one parent who even enters all cookie sales on to an excel spreadsheet, Girl Scout Cookie Pre Orders Template.  I am not as good as her, but it’s a great idea if you are familiar with excel.
One thing I am quite sure of is that, a clipboard will become your Girl Scout’s best friend.  All information can be kept in one place and at her finger tips at all times.  One of our leaders tips, that I love, is keeping a laminated information sheet on the front of the clipboard.  This can give quick answers to customers and also guard the cookie sale pre-order forms from the inevitable rain that our area gets during cookie season.  Its simple but ingenious.
4. Support the Goal
Support the goal of your Girl Scout by supporting your Girl Scout.  There will be times that she will hear too many “no’s” or be intimidated by different personalities at the cookie booths.  Have a smile on your face and be an example to your Girl Scout by showing your strong character and a positive attitude.  They might not say thank you in words for the help, but you will see their appreciation in their faces.
By supporting the goal, you are making sure that they lead the charge in the sale of Girl Scout cookies.  Ultimately this is their goal and they should lead but don’t forget to advise them on different creative ways that they can sell more cookies.  Follow the rules and have fun selling cookies.
5. Celebrate Successes
 Now let’s be honest, no matter how hard kids try, sometimes they don’t hit their goals. After the long Cookie Season is over, it is time to celebrate!  If they hit their goal of 1000 or if they were just shy of whatever goal they made, don’t dwell.  Celebrate their hard work.  Celebrate their dedication.  Celebrate their your Girl Scout!!!  Cookie season is hard for the entire family but this is their time, so CELEBRATE!!!!
In conclusion, as with every aspect of parenthood, communication is the key.  When we had the goal-setting annual cookie meeting, run by an absolutely amazing Girl Scout Leader, both myself and my stepdaughter’s mom were there.  We actually sat together.  We figured out that between the two of us, we can totally help her hit her goal.  Our Girl Scout is proud to say that we both support her, and I believe we are a good example to her about working together.
Final Thoughts….. 
In all reality, our blended family actually has a little bit of an advantage.  Our Girl Scout has two women who will stand proudly next to her at her cookie booths.  We will teach her respect and the importance of hard work when trying to achieve a goal.  The short-term goal is Great Wolf Lodge, but the long-term goal is teaching her the importance of working hard to achieve things in life.  We and Girl Scouts of America are helping to mold a somewhat timid but strong young woman who will hopefully realize that she can achieve anything in life.
Now that I see and know a little bit more about Girl Scouts, I see the wonderful things that this organization has the ability to do.  My step-daughter is learning teamwork, business, work ethic, goal-setting and countless other skills.  I realize that there are many different ways girls can learn these skills, and I don’t believe one works for everyone.  But today, I am so proud to watch my Girl Scout grow and succeed in becoming a stronger, hopefully more confident, young woman.
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