Photo by Heather Middleton
By Jeylin White
While shopping at your local grocery store, or any other shopping center around town, you may have noticed young girls stationed outside those stores, urging you to buy their cookies. Girl Scout Cookies, that is.
And it may have been hard to resist those bright little eyes gazing up at you, asking you to buy a box -- or two.
Well, you may have bought a box -- or two -- from one of the twelve Clayton County scouts, who were honored -- along with 229 other girls -- as members for the "Dough Getters Club" for selling at least 1,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies.
The girls were recognized during the 2011 Girl Scout Cookie Program ceremony, held at the Georgia International Convention Center, in April.
Among the young entrepreneurs honored were: Kelsey Gates, Alana Gray, Anisa Hopkins, Myah Hunt, Asiamalene Jackson, Jekia Johnson, Aaliyah Labossiere, Taylor Malone, Amber Miller, Kaylie Ramsey, Kennedy Smith and Brittany Waller.
"This is the worlds largest, girl-led business." said Sonya Milner of the Girls Scouts of Greater Atlanta, who is product sales manager of The Cookie Program.
Milner said that, to help girls with cookie sales, the organization offered helpful sales tips through its Cookie University. "We have troop leaders, who reinforce good customer-service skills. They [the girls] learn about each product, and nutritional facts about each product."
Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Spokesperson Shana Davis said that, by selling 1,000 boxes or more, the girls showed that "they have what it takes for success as entrepreneurs, in addition to learning their economic 'ABC's' and gaining valuable life skills."
She added that, this business, "run by girls," provides the opportunity for each girl to acquire skills she will use in daily life, such as: Goal-setting, money-management, business ethics, decision-making, and dealing with people.
Milner added that, through the cookie-sales program, girls are able to build their confidence and character, as well as learn how to work in teams.
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the premier financial-literacy and-entrepreneurial program for young girls, said Davis. Many local leaders in Georgia, she said, started their "careers" with the Girl Scout Cookie Program, including such well-known figures as Monica Pearson, local TV news anchor; and former Atlanta mayor, Shirley Franklin. On the national scene, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, was also a participant in the program as a youngster, according to scout officials.
Davis said 29,601 girl scouts in the greater Atlanta area participated in the 2011 Girl Scout Cookie Program, and generated $2.5 million to support troop programs and community service.
Proceeds from the cookie sales, Milner said, help fund activities for individual troops, as well as the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta organization, including financial assistance for girls to participate in events, program fees, volunteer recruitment, training, and maintenance of eight camp properties.
The cookie drives have long been a major fund-raiser for the girls and their troops across the region, and is an integral part of scouting's business-and-economic literacy initiative for girls, ages 5 to 17.
Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Inc., serves more than 42,000 girls, with close to 18,000 adult members, in 34 counties in the greater metropolitan Atlanta area, northwest Georgia, and Polk County, Tenn. In the entire region, Milner said, 32,000 Girl Scouts sold cookies this year, and all top sellers received a "top sellers patch," during the recent ceremony.