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By the Way: Not all Girl Scout Cookie profits are monetary


I just discovered I’ve got something in common with legions of other women, the likes of Taylor Swift and Meghan Markle, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Sally Ride and Venus Williams as well as about three-quarters of the women in Congress.

I, too, many years ago, wore a Girl Scout uniform, collected badges and promised, “…to serve God and my country and to help people at all times….”

With my fledgling troop, I roasted hot dogs and ears of corn over an open fire on Burlington Island, marched in parades and, most fun of all, tried to outdo the neighborhood Boy Scouts. Today, girls can join the Boy Scouts although most choose not to.

Today’s Girl Scouts tend to face significantly more compelling challenges. And one of them could be standing in the cold for hours to sell Girl Scout cookies and, despite the frigid weather, looking as though they want to be there.

Last Saturday afternoon’s icy winds and mercury hovering in the low 20s were no deterrent to a pair of local Girl Scouts. There they were, bundled up outside Turkey Hill in Nockamixon Township, shivering but smiling.

It was the first of three sales events that weekend for Isabelle and Ivy Watson, and their mother. Danielle, leader of Troop 02390.

“We’re hoping when set up our booth at Pizza Bella tonight we can be inside,” Danielle said. The next day they’d be selling cookies at Wehrung’s on Easton Road.

Something I never did was sell cookies. Until recently I believed cookies were a newer venture. Now, I am surprised to discover they have been a part of Girl Scouting for more than 100 years.

A troop in Oklahoma baked cookies, with their mothers acting as technical advisors, and sold them in the school cafeteria as a service project — just five years after Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts.

The idea caught on and what had been a grassroots project blossomed into today’s sophisticated operation, the world’s largest girl-led entrepreneurial business.

Deliveries to Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania (GSEP) began two weeks ago when tractor-trailers stocked with 181,700 cases of cookies pulled into the distribution center at Shelly Ridge Service Center in Montgomery County. Cookie season kicked off last Thursday and will run through March 10.

More than 25,000 girls are involved in Girl Scouting in this nine-county region, which includes Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia, along with Berks, Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh and Northampton.

Profits from sales stay with each troop. That means the girls work hard to raise the funds they need for service projects, summer camp or other experiences.

An incredible 2,181,000 packages of cookies will pass through the hands of the 25,000 scouts and 11,000 volunteers who work with them. The girls spend weeks learning skills they need to run a successful business. They include goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

Learning those skills, Scout leaders believe, helps the girls to build courage, confidence and character.

While booths will be set up throughout the region, Girl Scouts will also be selling cookies door-to-door until March 10.

The good news is that GSEP has not increased prices. Cookies sell for $5 a box with the exception of gluten-free cookies which are $6.

To find cookies, see

Kathryn Finegan Clark is a freelance writer who lives in Durham Township. She can be reached at

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