If your family is like most in America, then you probably look forward to that time of year when Girl Scouts in your neighborhood come calling, offering boxes of delicious cookies for sale. Whether it’s Thin Mints, Do-si-dos® or Shortbreads, everyone seems to have a favorite Girl Scout Cookie.
For more than 80 years, Girl Scouts have sold cookies to raise funds to support their scouting activities. Today, the sale of Girl Scout Cookies raises more than $700 million each year, making the Girl Scout Cookie Program the largest girl-led business in the country!
Girl Scout Cookies got their start in the kitchens of Girl Scouts and their mothers. Girl Scouts began to sell cookies as a way to finance their scouting activities as early as 1917, just five years after Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low started the first Girl Scout group in Savannah, Georgia.
In July 1922, Girl Scout national headquarters published an edition of The American Girl magazine for all Girl Scouts. The issue contained a recipe for a sugar cookie that could be baked and sold to raise funds for local councils. Thus, the simple sugar cookie was arguably the first true Girl Scout Cookie.
In 1934, Greater Philadelphia became the first Girl Scout council to sell commercially baked cookies. In 1935, the Girl Scout Federation of Greater New York used the words “Girl Scout Cookies” on their boxes of commercially baked cookies for the first time.
Girl Scout leaders believe selling cookies helps Girl Scouts realize their full potential and become strong, confident and resourceful citizens. In fact, Girl Scout leaders have identified five essential skills that Girl Scouts develop by selling Girl Scout Cookies: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.
Girl Scouts set sales goals to support their chosen activities for the year, which might include funding community service projects, attending summer camp, traveling on field trips and providing events for girls in their community. Many successful businesswomen today say they got their start selling Girl Scout Cookies.
Fun facts about Girl Scout Cookies:
- Only two commercial bakers — ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers — are licensed by the Girl Scouts of the USA to make Girl Scout Cookies.
- Licensed bakers can make up to eight kinds of Girl Scout Cookies, but three kinds are mandatory: Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos® and Shortbread/Trefoils. The other five varieties can vary from year to year.
- Each bakery names its own cookies, so similar Girl Scout Cookies may have different names in different parts of the country.
- Girl Scout Cookies sell for different prices in different areas of the country. Each local Girl Scout council can set its own price based on its needs and the local market.
- Thin Mints are the best-selling Girl Scout Cookies.