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Springtime: Where I Crush the Souls Of Girl Scouts

According to the National Action Against Obesity the girl scouts who peddle cookies each spring get 40 to 60 cents from each box sold. Roughly ten percent of each sale. Ask any mother whose living room has been taken over by boxes of cookies, any father who’s had to drag their daughter into work with a cookie order form, if that’s worth it. The Girl Scouts of America assert that 12% to 17% of each sale goes to the troop. At $4 a box that’s between 48 cents and 68 cents per box sold.

I know that looks impressive until you scroll down and see this.

I love Girl Scouts. My Mother was a Girl Scout, her Mother was the Troop Leader, but the Girl Scouts have been setting a terrible precedent. They’re asking young girls and their mothers to endlessly solicit from friends and family without adequately compensating them. If we’re raising our girls to be strong, let’s also raise them to be clever capitalists.

Okay Jessica, but what does this have to do with a sustainable lifestyle?

Glad you asked. According the Girl Scouts of America each and every cookie variety contains partially hydrogenated oils. If you are unfamiliar with the risk associated with partially hydrogenated oils please read one of these:

Further, and most infuriating is this snippet from their website:

Q: Are any preservatives used in Girl Scout Cookies?

A: No. Girl Scout Cookies do not contain preservatives. They are all made with pure vegetable shortening, are kosher, and freeze well to extend their shelf life.

I present to you a Girl Scout cookie nutritional label.

The partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil is enhanced with TBHQ for freshness.

What is TBHQ?

If TBHQ adds freshness, isn’t that by definition a preservative?

According to the World Health Organization TBHQ caused no deaths in dogs (congratulations!) and only slight discoloration of basal cells in rats. There appears to be a positive association with lymphoma in mice, but that doesn’t seem to alarm the Girl Scouts, as they tout their cookies as preservative free!

Folks, if you want cookies, bake them or buy them, I don’t care, but if the shelf life is longer than your pet goldfish, it’s not food.

If you think your local Girl Scouts are adorable (and I do) drop $1 in the jar and leave the cookies behind. They’ll make more money that way anyhow, and you don’t even have to worry about what’s gone into your body.

[This post was written by Jessica Gottlieb.]


  1. Not that I needed any further ammunition to be done with this organization, I ‘opted out’ of the selling of these. Like you, I am trying to feed the best I can. I was berated for offering monetary donations if lieu of selling, and bought from my own kid. Now, I am stuck with these damn things that rope me in.

  2. Mikalan Kruase says:

    Jessica, I am a Girl Scout leader, I don’t ask my girls or my troop to peddle the cookies to their family or friends. We rely on cookie booth sales. While it is true that as a troop, we get very little of the money earned, the money that our local council gets benefits all the girls in our local area. With this money they are able to provide camp facilities, tranings, scholarships and the like. I appreciate your oppinion on the cookies. I agree they are not the most healthy. They have however gotten much better over the last few years. They have greatly reduced the transfats to 0g(measureable). Does that make them transfat free? Nope. But it is a lot better than what they were. I am glad that you are one of those terrific people who still donate to girl scouts. What I have seen in my community is that few people support Girl Scouts except through cookie sales. Each year we try raising funds in other manners and none are nearly as successful. This is a sad statment of our society, but the truth. I might also add that Girl Scouts as a whole does more than any other group in our society to empower young girls to be leaders. I would rather focus on the positives in Girl Scouting than on the negatives of these cookies, that unfortunatley our unhealthy society wants.

  3. It’s Girl Scouts of the USA. Not Girl Scouts of America.

  4. Debbie (GS Leader) says:

    I think the person who posted this is an angry person, who does not have a 10 year old GS, who wants to go on fieldtrips, and do service projects. Get a life, please, for everyone’s sake!!!!!!

  5. My daughter just went through her first girl scout cookie experience. She got so much out of the experience and was so proud to deliver the cookies this weekend and have people be so excited to receive them. She was proud not only to be delivering a product people were looking forward to eating, but also proud that the money she was helping to raise was going to a good cause. Her troop will get a nice ice cream party out of the endeavor, they don’t need more than that. I think the entire experience is wonderful for all involved, especially me who really enjoys her unhealthy peanut butter patties.

  6. Brnda Murtha says:

    I am proud to be a Girl Scout, I will pray for you.


  7. I am also a Girl Scout leader. I was a GS myself and now have two daughters in the program (along with two younger daughters who will be in it some day).

    Like Mikalan, I’d like to thank you for donating to the movement- it means a lot to those girls.

    In your opening, you ask if it is worth it for the parents who have a room full of cookies to deliver. When those parents have a daughter who really wants to go to summer camp, but they cannot afford the $100 or more to send her, the answer is YES! When those parents have a daughter who is saving to travel overseas with her troop and cookie funds can pay most of or all of their contribution to the trip, the answer is YES! When those parents have a daughter who wants to attend meetings with a uniform, but they cannot afford one, and the leader will pay for it with her cookie funds, the answer is YES!

    What you don’t see behind the scenes is a little thing called “cookie dough” which girls can use to pay their own way to summer residential camp. At our camps, girls go on hikes, swim, learn about/care for/ride horses, learn archery, go canoeing, and more. Add in there learning how to pitch a tent and build/maintain a fire and you’ve got a pretty well rounded activity that they would be hard pressed to find in an average summer at home.

    Some troops opt out of the cookie dough or prizes and instead take a higher per box profit for the troop, which they use in conjunction with other fund raisers to pay their way all over the world. London, Ireland, Australia, Honduras… the list is endless. Some of them go for fun, others go to take part in a service project.

    Your are right in that the food is not good in excess, but look at the “food” they sell for school fundraisers! Frozen hunks of cookie dough that look like wax, “chocolate” candies that really are mostly wax, and junk items that only serve to fill the landfills twice: once with packaging and another time with the product itself when it breaks after two uses. Nothing is perfect, but GS cookies are low on the list of terrible things sold by kids in an effort to learn new skills and go places.

    Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. for more info see: girlscouts.org

  8. My troop has over $3K sitting in a bank account from peddling cookies to spend on trips, activities, and community service. We earn 75 cents per box and we use all of the GS camps within our council that are supported be the same sales. After seven years, they still CHOOSE to sell, so it can’t be all bad.

  9. Traci-
    The cookies you purchased from your daughter will make a nice donation to a food bank. So not only will you be making a donation, supporting your daughter and her troop, and providing cookies for a food bank or other charity in need, you’ll get a tax writeoff to sooth your conscience and you’ll be able to live with yourself.

    Unless of course, you’ve already eaten them.

  10. “Ask any mother whose living room has been taken over by boxes of cookies, any father who’s had to drag their daughter into work with a cookie order form, if that’s worth it.”
    As a former Girl Scout, mother of a Girl Scout, Leader for 6 years – I’ll answer with a resounding YES!!! Girl Scout cookie sales helped send my sister and myself to camp in the ’70’s. (An experience we both treasure) Something my parents never could have afforded. It has taught my “girls” (troop members) budgeting and using resources wisely. It has provided materials for them to learn and grow with. It has allowed them to travel from our rural area to experience Broadway Shows (Cirque Dreams), fun trips (900 miles to see HS Musical on Ice and the San Antonio Zoo and Riverwalk, Camping, CPR & First Aid Training and much more. This year they are each planning a week at summer camp (Canoeing, swimming, archery, photography, being enviromentaly green). No-one is asking you to eat a box of cookies 365 days a year. This is a once a year event – live a little.

  11. Jessica,
    I’m sorry to tell you: you picked on the wrong group, here. See, Girl Scouting helps girls learn to be assertive and strong, which may explain all the comments. :)
    I was a Girl Scout until the ripe old age of 14, and I always HATED selling the cookies. I could only hit houses during the daylight hours, and many people weren’t home (except the unemployed). Also, my father was a carpenter, so there was no “office” for him to bring the order form to. Finally, my troop never helped anyone with the summer camp. Though we went on an awful lot of weekend trips, probably with the cookie money.
    I do agree though with Trishia. You want a really awful fundraiser? Schools: if it’s not magazines (wasteful and excessive), it’s disgusting candies, chock full of HFCS (and mercury?).

    Overall, GS was an awesome experience. I fully credit it with my ability to light a fire and cook over it, pitch a tent in the dark, and scavenge for firewood. Not to mention my ability to speak my mind! 😉

  12. Girl Scouts is the ONLY organization where girls can be themselves and learn life and leadership skills. In every activity they do, there is history and purpose behind it and the girls set and attain goals. I think this person should be more concerned about the tobacco industry and how much money they are making and how many people die from cigarettes!!! I agree with Debbie above – this person needs to get a life!!!

  13. I too am a Girl Scout leader and also try and feed my family healthy organic foods, support sustainable agriculture, etc etc etc. Like most troops, we use our cookie money to fund our troop activities for the year, like field trips and activity supplies and — yes — SERVICE PROJECTS. (To plant a community garden you need to buy seeds and fertilizer, for example.) I do need to ask my families pay for everything because we are able to raise enough from cookie sales.

    Our Council owns several camps that need to be maintained so that girls of any economic background can have an outdoor experience. They also provide an assortment of programming for $5 or $10 per girl that might otherwise cost $20 or $30. Council also provides grants for families that can’t otherwise afford camp or activities.

    Believe me, I would much prefer to sell organic fruit. Sadly, when people find out that I’m a Girl Scout, its cookies they ask for. At least if you’re buying them from a Girl Scout, you’re supporting important programming for girls. If you buy them from a grocery store, you’re supporting the grocery store.

  14. Being in Canada, I was a Girl Guide rather than a Girl Scout, but the similarities are pretty broad… though, our cookies are better. 😉

    I’m afraid I have to agree with all the ‘dissenters’ here. Sure, only a certain portion goes to the troop, but that does not mean the girls who did the hard work are getting short-changed for all their efforts. Like others have pointed out, the money that goes to more ‘centralized’ places benefit ALL the girls.

    Like, say, there are 2 troops in one region, one troop has only 10 girls and the other has 75. Extreme example, but go with it. The 10 girls work hard and earn a bit of money. The 75 girls work hard and earn TONS of money for their troop.

    Therefore, the bigger troop gets the fancier camping equipment, better boats, and nicer camp food, right?

    Wrong. The camp is shared between the groups, so all the girls can benefit from all the campsite improvements.

    I really don’t see what the problem is with this payout arrangement. It’s a fundraiser for the girl scouts *in general*, I don’t remember ever hearing that it’s fundraising for a *particular troop*. Just like if you’re raising Halloween money for Unicef, it’s not just for your ‘local’ Unicef chapter, is it??

    I will agree about the health problems with the cookies, we have the same problem here in Canada (with the trans fats) and it’s actually quite a controversy. But others have made a very good point about school fundraisers offering much worse!

  15. Kristine says:

    Are you currently involved in Girl Scouts? It seems to me you have very strong opinions when nowhere have you stated that you are involved as a leader or a parent. I have 2 daughters in Girl Scouts and I am also the leader. I do not force a single one of my girls to sell cookies. I present it as learning about business and the girls do get a lot out of it. My Troop also takes part of the money they earn to do service projects. Add in that we sell cookies to send to locally deployed soldiers. This year at booth sales we are having the community sign a giant thank you card to send them as well.

    If you do not like what is in them, then do not buy them. It is no more complicated then that. However, before you continue to post such critical opinions about the organization I would suggest you do some interviews of girls that are in it.

  16. So far, no one has responded to your criticism of the profit margins. I am a long-time GS and leader. I used to get annoyed that our troop made so little from the cookies. Until I remembered the typical profit margin of grocery stores. I’ve been told a well-run grocery nets between 5 & 10%. (see http://www.bizstats.com/)It’s the middle man (distributor) who makes the bigger profits. So it looks like my troop is doing better than the average grocery store! And our middle man is our council, which pays for camps, staff, and programs for us. So we make money twice.

    Seriously, GSUSA would love to have a greener, healthier product that could replace cookies AND contribute equally well to our financial needs. We haven’t found it yet. If you have a constructive suggestion to replace the cookie sale, we’re all ears!

  17. Jessica, thank you for donating to the Girl Scout troop. They are learning all about entrepreneurialism, including customer relations with people whose values are different (like you). I had two Girl Scout troops, and while the cookie sale was not my favorite activity of the year, it was an incredibly valuable experience. We had parents come in and teach about business, marketing, and public relations. As a result we were able to travel, camp at least twice per year, and attend fun, educational events to learn new skills. We didn’t have to ask parents to pay every activity. Along with our (low) troop dues (collected mostly to give the girls budgeting,experience counting money and keeping financial records)we didn’t have to ask the parents for anything. In addition we could totally support the girls in our troop who couldn’t even afford troop dues. Was the cookie sale a valuable experience? ABSOLUTELY!

  18. Jessica, not only did we sell Girl Scout cookies – we also sold magazines. I’ll bet you hate that too! It promoted literacy. I know how much my own children enjoyed receiving the magazines every month and reading them. We didn’t earn a lot of money for the troop, but the girls earned wonderful prizes! The girls wouldn’t sell the magazines for their schools because of the prizes – an ice cream sundae party, and candy! When my son was the top magazine seller for the school, he won a 5 lb. chocolate bar!!! Give the Girl Scouts credit – not only do they empower girls – they build girls of courage, confidence and character!

  19. I just wanted to pop my head in here and say that I’ve read each and every comment, responded via email to a few, and I enjoy the respectful tone.

    I’m glad that scouting is such a wonderful experience for so many, I appreciate that the Girl Scouts elevate our girls.

  20. A friend of mine received a decent-sized college scholarship from her local Girl Scout council after she earned her Gold award. I bet at least some of the money she got came from cookie sale profits. Maybe it didn’t directly benefit the troops who sold the cookies, but my friend is now a teacher so she’s using her education to give back to her community.

  21. A life without Thin Mints? Not worth living!

    Thought-provoking read though.

  22. A lot of the responses have been about GS helping girls learning to be assertive, strong, building leadership ect.
    However as a GS I got none of that from the boring routine meetings. I did however find that through tagging along with my mother for my brother’s Boy Scouts meetings where I learned so much more as they actually do more activities in general that don’t rely on cookie sales but practical wisdom and using what you have for the most part.
    Once I came to that realization, I had my mother only send me to the GS summer camp which is where I actually learned useful things that kept my interest such as horseback riding, various crafts, ect. However even for my mom a single mother with a not so great paying job (we lived at my grandmother’s house) she saved up little by little, to send me to the camp annually without the use of selling cookies.

    So whats my point? The cookies sales are not that big of a deal however I slightly agree with the author that by selling items which you know are bad for people is wrong. If GS does teach leadership and all of these great things and you’re here reading this blog on Green Parenting and Health, why haven’t used those traits you’ve learned through GS to demand healthier cookies or items to sell that does not have the negative impact it does on people?

  23. WOW – Loved the article and totally agree.
    Surprised at the angry GS moms/leaders out there(comments). “Doest thou protest too loudly?” Search your heart Moms – you know she’s right! Why not sell flowers and bulbs and get 50% of the profit? (totally at no charge to the organization). As a 25 year veteran of the non-profit fund raising arena, I can assure you there are several options that don’t include preservatives, oils and beggering a box of cookies in front of Wal-Mart for such little return…image IS changeable, especially in a world that needs to change its eating habits! Heck you could start a trend!!! Just because the world wants “sugar crack” doesn’t make it right to sell it to them – you know what it does to people – how do you justify that? Leave the “lemming following” to the other gender, ladies start a NEW trend!

  24. Anna Lisa says:

    Selling cookies does more than raise money. It teaches leadership, confidence, safety, respecting others, goal setting, financial management, math skills, time management, entrepeneurship, teamwork, philanthropy, etc.

    Here is an excerpt from the GSUSA site about cookie sale proceeds. http://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/

    “All of the proceeds—every penny—from a local council’s cookie activities remains in the area where the cookies are sold. This revenue is used to benefit girls, some of it directly by remaining in the Girl Scout troop/group treasury and some of it indirectly by subsidizing the cost of providing the Girl Scout program in the local area.

    “Cookie revenue” helps local councils:

    Recruit and train volunteer leaders for each troop/group.
    Provide the financial assistance needed to make Girl Scouting available for all girls.
    Improve and maintain camp and other activity sites.
    Keep event/camp fees for all members to a minimum.
    Sponsor special events and projects.
    Each local council sets the price per box, based on its needs and its knowledge of its local market. The price per box, therefore, may vary from one location to another and from one year to the next. Today’s prices reflect both the current cost of purchasing cookies from a licensed baker and the realities of providing Girl Scout activities in an ever-changing economic environment.”

  25. I can’t believe that with all that is going on in the world today you have to pick Girl Scouts.
    I am 55 years old. I was a girl member for eight years. It was cookies (okay with help from my dad) that I was able to attend camp every summer. This alone can change a life of a girl, which in turn can change the lives of many. It takes them out of bad neighborhoods. It shows them how life can be. It gives them something to aspire to. And I did. I took a few years off to be a crazy teen and then get married. I was recruited when my daughter was entering kindergarten and have been a member ever since. I am now a lifetime member. There is no other organization that I would grace with my membership.
    If the government would follow our promise and law we would be living in a far better world.
    As far as where the money goes. It goes to pay salaries and benefits, legal and other consultants, computer techs who all support us volunteers. GSUSA carries an insurance policy that covers all members. It also pays for camp upkeep, new roofs, tents, program materials, any people or materials that any corporation would employ. In other words: lots of behind the scenes things that benefit girls.
    The $.60-$.75 that the troop gets is a small portion but understand that money is also being spent to support a multifaceted Girl Scout program.
    Would you rather get nothing for your money like when you put money in a cheerleader or baseball player’s can at the supermarket doors? Among the many things Girl Scouts teaches is that the consumer must get something for their money. Before a sale Girl Scouts learn about budgeting, they learn about their product, and about marketing skills. What does it teach a girl to go buy candy bars at BJs and turn around and sell them for more? What life skill does it teach a child when he/she is put in front of a store with a can to beg for money?
    We should be complaining about where the profit goes and what happens to our country when things are made in China. Where is our civic pride? We should complain when our taxes are continually spent on bailing out companies. I’ll bet that a former or present Girl Scout does not run any of those companies.
    For those who continue to see the small picture, just think, if these girls are being taken advantage of they will be living their motto “Be Prepared”. They will be prepared if things don’t change, to live in this country.
    I like to think that we are teaching so much more and these young women will be prepared to change the world.
    Besides when I want something good to eat to sooth the soul, I’ll eat a Girl Scout cookie.

  26. Yep, I hate Girl Scout cookies. As someone with several health issues not helped by GS cookies or booth sales, I’m still out there with the girls from our troop selling those things so they aren’t in my house for very long. Some of my girls take to sales like ducks to water. Some cling to Mom, especially the younger ones, until someone finally says “Yes, I’d like to buy some Girl Scout cookies.” Those girls warm up, come out of their shell and start talking about their GS experience and what we are planning on doing with the money. Our troop has chosen 4 (yes, FOUR) service projects to fund with the money we’ve earned. And, we’re going to camp, bowling, and more with the rest of the money. Plus, these families no longer pay for girl re-registration. We do still charge troop dues of 50 cents per meeting that the girls are expected to earn. So, are cookie sales worth the pittance (70 cents) we receive for each box? You bet!

  27. When I was a Girl Scout, my troop was the only troop in Tx that REFUSED to sell the cookies. Back then, we got 10 cents per box. It’s a lot of work. And that’s a pretty small payback.

    We elected to do our own, more interesting fundraising. Something that allowed us to keep more of the money.

    We usually hawked drinks at the rodeo. Not exactly girlie, but effective.

    Nevertheless, those chocolate mints are still to die for, even if they might cause leukemia.

  28. I heart their thin mints but the don’t make me thin. I might buy the cookies still and no way I am reading all that hate mail you got from the troop leaders. I think your post has convinced me to drop a dollar or two in their jar. What do you think about the Boy Scouts and their popcorn?

  29. Making a donation is a good idea. I do that will all the (zillions of) school fundraising kids that hit our front door. Would love to contribute, but don’t need the stuff and you don’t need to share my money with a company selling over-priced goods, preservatives or no preservatives.

    Howevah . . .

    Girl Scout cookies are like a national tradition or something. Folks will buy cookies from cute girls rather than just handing them the bucks.

  30. Well, I was never a Girl Scout and I don’t have any Girl Scouts (or any girls). I think the Scout parents and former Scouts here might be a little biased towards the wonderfulness of these cookies…

    I do buy them sometimes, for the same reason I buy the candy, wrapping paper, magazines and whatnots–because my friends make me feel guilty if I don’t buy the stuff their kids are selling. If you taste them without the parental pride/nostalgia factored in, they are really just OK.

    I think the value of the sales programs to the girls probably also varies a lot. I’ve seen very well-organized troops, who seem to make it a fun activity, with the girls making speeches about their programs, etc. I’ve also seen moms sitting outside Safeway hard selling cookies while their girls do gymnastic moves on the shopping cart rack and wait to be taken somewhere more interesting.

    I’ll bet the troops who do sales “right” could make any kind of fundraising program successful and worthwhile. You’ve got those cute little Girl Scouts and a good cause, you’re well organized and have a plan, you’re going to get my money! I could really do without the cookies…

  31. First, I do hope any scouts who post here will be “considerate and caring” and give Jessica some credit for her humor and research (not to mention that whole free speech thing).

    True confession: I was an anti-cookie woman, too. Mainly because of Jessica’s arguments: junkiness & low mark-up for the girls. No longer. My conversion began when my young daughters begged to sell and I saw them learn math, social and organizational skills. They felt fabulous when THEIR earnings got them places. (On horseback, for instance.) Our family can’t eat most of them because of food allergies, and yeah, they are junk food, but that brand-name recognition and the experience has been priceless.

    Without the booths at our local grocery store, many people in my area would have no idea that Girl Scouts are still out there, still making the world a better place. Some wouldn’t know about Girl Scout teens, either; many think the whole thing ends at Brownies. Since they can’t see us cleaning up Lake Accotink, learning CPR in a church fellowship hall, or planting milkweed in a swamp, this is how they SEE us.

    Cookie sales are nearly done for the several troops I work with now. The girls did a great job and had fun, too. The portion the troop sees ($0.65/box) will take their little group rock climbing, camping and boating; the portion they DON’T see will improve our beautiful campgrounds, plump up the financial assistance fund so no girl will miss out on scouting because of money — and pay for the training and support we’ve enjoyed all year long from our Girl Scout council (for free or with deep subsidies). So, although the portion we get is indeed small, the cookie sales aren’t just about us.

    However, being capitalists, my girls ALSO sold holiday wreaths and wrapped for tips at a bookstore. (With permission, and a plan that would not sabotage cookie sales, of course.) These other activities help them own their troop as much as they can at their age, rather than assuming moms and dads can/will bankroll them 100%.

    Wouldn’t it be fun to know the markup on a box of Oreos? Bet it’s HUGE.

    Finally, a word on nutrition. To give you less for more, just like dimple-bottomed peanut butter jars and air-whipped yogurts, there were changes this year to the beloved GS cookies, according to my council (GSCNC):

    * Thin Mints now have 2 less cookies per sleeve, a 1.0 oz. reduction
    * Do-Si-Dos have 1 less cookie per sleeve, a 1.0 oz, reduction
    * Trefoils have, 2 less cookies per sleeve, a 1.0 oz. reduction
    * Samoas cookies are 1/30 of an oz smaller, a 0.5 oz. reduction

    That’s one way to improve nutrition!

  32. @Tia I might just have a little crush on you. I’ll continue not buying the cookies, and you continue raising great kids.

  33. I was a girl scout and now a leader. I have sold for schools and scout- boy scouts and girl scouts. Everyone remembers the cookies they sold as a girl and has their favorites. We don’t make a ton of money but the girls work together for trips or events. I would rather sale a box of cookies for $3.50(in our area) then the 15 box of microwave popcorn. Talk about preservatives and chemicals in them.
    Thanks for doing a donation.

  34. I was a Girl Scout leader and I hated the cookies. Our local council expected each girl to sell a quota, something like 50 boxes. Now, there are three ways you can do that;

    You can go door to door

    You can sell cookies to your friends and relatives, putting them on the spot

    You can get Mom or Dad to sell them at the office

    It doesn’t seem to me that any of these strategies teaches our children a good lesson. It’s not OK to go to a stranger’s house, embarrass your neighbors into buying something they may not want, or get your parents to do the work for you.

    Furthermore, the girls get prizes for selling the cookies–a patch for selling just one box, big teddy bears and other desirable items for selling 50 or more. Our troop had an awards ceremony, and it was heartbreaking to see the girls who hadn’t sold a ton of boxes crying because they didn’t get the good prizes. This included my children; my job would not permit me to sell cookies at work, so they had to make do with a what grandma, aunts, neighbors, and I were willing to buy.

    Cookie-selling may encourage entrepreneurship, but not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur and the fact is that any such system sets up a few winners and lots of “losers.” Not everyone can sell 100 boxes of cookies.

    I believe that since I left the fold, my local Girl Scouts have de-emphasized individual sales and focus more on booths, which aren’t as bad–it’s more of a group effort, which I think is appropriate. Still, to this day I can’t stomach the damn cookies. They really need to rethink the entire program; one other bad lesson that it’s teaching is that it’s OK to work for peanuts.

  35. I am a GS leader and those cookies are more that is 43 to 63 cents per box, that is what goes to the troop, there is a part that go to our council and of course to GSUSA. You are focused on one part, just the girl or troop when you should get a bigger picture, this helps out our council which pays for girls to be in a troop who can not afford it. the money goes farther than you lead people to believe. Not one girl scout is made to participate in cookie sale, not one mother is made to have thousand of cookie boxes in her living room, nor one father made to help his daughter deliver those cookies. You obviously do not get the “girl scout way”


  37. I didn’t realize that it was up to the councils how much the girls got of the percentage earned from cookie sales. Makes more sense now b/c I noticed a big difference in dues and activities between CA and OR.

    If girl scout cookies are bad for us, does that mean the Dreyers Girl Scout Cookie ice cream is too?

  38. Nobody’s commented on the potential gender stereotyping involved in having girls sell cookies. Do the Boys sell cookies? Not sure if they do or not, but if so, it’s definitely not as engrained a tradition as buying cookies from the Girls. I agree with those who think there’s probably a better way to raise money. One that doesn’t involve continuing our society’s addiction to junk food, teaching that it’s OK to work for a negligible profit, and promoting the stereotype that women really belong in the kitchen… 😉
    I’ll give cash directly to the group rather than buying cookies.

  39. I am the mother of a girl scout, the daughter of a girl scout and the granddaughter of a girl scout troop leader. It breaks my heart to say this, but girl scouts has turned into a cookie selling machine. My daughter learns so much more through her brothers’ cub scouts/boy scouts. Camp is a wonderful thing, but doesn’t make up for the rest of the year, where there is intense focus on selling cookies. The profit margin of this non-profit organization is scandalous. This year our council switched from taking orders early, and filling those order after the New Year to a model where the troops estimate how much they are going to sell, order cookies, and try to sell them all. We were encouraged to order lots of cookies. Our troop sold 1100 cookies. We have 300 cookies left and our sale period ends in a week and a half. At this point we OWE council money. That’s right! We sold over a thousand boxes and are coming out with a net loss. We brought in $550 ($.50 a box) and we owe council $900 ($3 a box). What kind of non-profit takes money from little girls? We will be unable to sell these cookies after the sale ends. I love scouting, I love my children being involved with patriotic/outdoors oriented organizations. I fully support fundraising. This is not fundraising. This is a big business run on the backs of volunteers who are poorly trained. We are given an hour long training which basically consists of “getting excited”, learning how to take checks, and answering questions (it’s difficult to ask what you don’t realize you don’t know). Afterwards these cookie managers are expected to run a small part time business. Inventory, distribution, accounting, sales, etc, all done by parents who are trying to fit in a life around the sale. This is not impossible. What is ridiculous is that a person could devote hours to the running of this volunteer small business for the sake of the kids just to come out in debt to the Girl Scout council. We would have been better off asking for donations.

  40. Adrian Johnson says:

    You’re concerned about preservatives? Worry about something worse: GM corn, and it the corn syrup made from it– and it won’t be labeled as such. UK and Europe ban GM crops and foods, for prudent reasons. Girl Scout cookies will, this time next year, contain GM corn syrup as ingredient, as most baked-goods in the USA use corn syrup as sweetener. Studies show that GM corn products cause liver and kidney damage in test animals after only three months consumption.

    Reasons not to buy “Girl Scout” cookies: 1) the cookies have more than one unhealthy ingredient. 2) The Girl Scouts no longer have the values they did a generation ago: they push Planned Parenthood and pro-gay, lesbian, and transgendered agendas; and are intolerant of the Christian values of those who protest the PC politicization of the Girl Scouts.
    The alternative? “American Heritage Girls” now have the values the Girl Scouts lost and the “AHG” fundraising is more ethical.


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