Girl Scouts start cookie sale this week

By Billy Corriher

Having sold Girl Scout cookies for four years, 10-year-old Marquita Bennett knows which kind she likes.

"My favorite are do-si-do's? and thin mints and double dutch and samoas," she said.

Her mom, Gloria Bennett, is the leader of Troop 5940 in Lovejoy, and together, they usually sell 360 to 420 boxes every year.

"I usually buy two cases," she said.

Nine-year-old Ashleigh Lester is also in Bennett's troop, and she said most of her neighbors are excited about ordering cookies when she knocks on their doors.

"I like thin mints," Lester said. Thin mints, along with samoas, are the Girl Scouts' biggest sellers.

The troop plans to use proceeds from this year's sale to fund a trip to the Six Flags Whitewater Park in Atlanta.

Last year, the troop went to Chattanooga, Tenn. to visit the aquarium and an Imax Theater. This year, the girls decided to go to the water park.

"It's their decision totally," Bennett said.

Liz Byrd, field executive for the Girl Scout Council of Northwest Georgia, said that letting the girls decide how to spend some of the funds teaches them responsibility.

"The cookie sale is not merely a fundraiser," she said. "The cookie sale is part of the Girl Scout program."

The girls learn about setting goals, budgeting and money management, Byrd said.

The money that the troop does not keep will go to the regional council, where it will be used for educational opportunities and maintaining the council's five camps.

Byrd said that, last year, the metro-Atlanta troops were some of the top sellers in the country.

"The Atlanta metro area likes Girl Scout cookies," she said.

The girls will begin taking orders on Friday, and will continue until Feb. 1. Beginning March 10, some troops will sell cookies from booths at local businesses.