While sweets-lovers everywhere enjoy the Girl Scout Cookie season kickoff, not many realize the preparation that goes into training the Girl Scouts to become expert cookie sellers.
This weekend, East Baton Rouge Parish Girl Scouts held cookie rallies across the parish to launch the annual Girl Scout Cookie Program for 2019. Marketed as an opportunity for girls to indulge their entrepreneurial spirit, cookie season teaches girls everything from crafting the perfect sales pitch to managing their money.
Nearly 100 Girl Scouts, troop leaders and parents in Service Unit 111 gathered on Sunday at the St. Jean Vianney Parish Hall to get pumped up for the cookie-selling chaos sure to come over the next few weeks.
Frenika Sam, service unit cookie manager and troop leader for Troop 10664, organized the event. She said the day not only educates the girls on how to take ownership of their cookie sales, but also how to have fun with their troops.
“The cookie rally is when we get the girls excited for the upcoming cookie season,” Sam said.
Energetic volunteers manned six different stations, featuring everything from cookie tasting to tips on navigating booth sales. Girl Scouts of all ages scampered eagerly from station to station, dragging their friends along with them.
LaKesha Davidson-Vallian, a co-troop leader, hovered near the Name the Cookies Booth, where younger girls attempted to match pictures of cookies to the correct name. She sees days like this as bringing the Girl Scouts together to address the deeper values the program seeks to instill in young girls.
“We like to teach our girls social interaction, leadership and community service,” Davidson-Vallian explained.
Her daughter, Jaiden Vallian, 15, spent her afternoon volunteering at the Goal Setting Booth. Jaiden shared that she enjoys working with kids. As an older Girl Scout, she gets the opportunity to shepherd the younger girls along as they learn.
“Helping people is what really makes me happy,” Jaiden said. “I really like putting a smile on people’s faces.”
Bridget DeSilva, a troop leader and mother of a Girl Scout, felt that the activities also helped the girls develop independence. She oversaw the Money Management Booth, where girls played a game to practice learning how to make change during cookie sales.
While the parents and troop leaders watched, the girls taught each other.
“They learn by doing,” DeSilva said. “Even though they are facilitating, they are actually learning a lot themselves about teamwork.”
For other parents, having fun is the most important part of the experience.
Scott Francis and his wife, Melissa, joined their 8-year-old daughter, Tayla, as she flitted between booths.
“It’s just great seeing girls get excited about different things,” Melissa said. “They don’t care what event it is, as long as they’re together.”
Scott added that seeing the interaction between the girls was great to witness.
“It’s teaching girls, like our daughter, that not just the guys get to have fun,” he said.
Cookie season runs from Jan. 11 to March 10.