The call of Thin Mints can be heard in front of every super market, pharmacy and local coffee spot. When I signed Miss O up to be a Girl Scout Daisy I knew cookie sales was part of the deal, but I had no idea how big of a deal it would be.
I signed Miss O up for Girl Scouts in Kindergarten, as a Daisy, which is something I never got to do. I figured it would give Miss O a friend network that would help solidify her current friendships, but also introduce her to new friends who may have joined the troop from other classes at her school. I already knew one of the women leading the troop so I knew it wouldn’t be 100% all in all the time, but the girls would learn to respect themselves, each other and their environment – all important. The Troop formed at the start of school and it seemed to be something Miss O really enjoyed.
As winter approached, so too did the annual Girl Scout Cookie sales season. Hubs and I knew we’d allow Miss O to participate and, as all good parents do, we’d at least buy a few boxes and maybe see if anyone at our offices wanted some.
Somewhere along the way, in an effort to be more involved in my daughter’s life, and, I suspect to relieve some working mom guilt, I signed up to be the Troop’s Cookie Coordinator, or as I like to call it, Troop Cookie Mom.
Why the heck would you do that?!?!
If you’re not wondering that, you should be.
Cute title aside, being a Troop Cookie Mom is no joke. I consider myself a very organized person, having spent almost 15 years as a Meeting, Conference and Event planner. I can project manage like nobody’s business. Managing inventory and fulfilling orders is something I can do in my sleep. I can also manage money and coordinate volunteers. I was pretty sure I’d be able to easily use my skills, spend some quality time with Miss O and give back to my community by supporting the Troop.
We figured our Troop of Kindergarteners and first graders would maybe sell a few cookies in their neighborhoods and we’d move a few cases outside of the CVS and the Stop N’ Shop market for a couple of weekends. Basically, they’d do enough real work to learn what they needed to learn to earn their badges and we’d get a little money to keep the Troop funded.
For those of you unfamiliar with the role of the Troop Cookie Mom, allow me to enlighten you. As the girls collect orders and money, they must turn that in to someone. Ideally, that someone is the Troop Cookie Coordinator, a volunteer who has passed a background check and affirms they will be responsible with the girls, the money and of course, the cookies.
The role involves educating the Troop and parents on the ins and outs of the sales process; ordering, picking up and managing cookie and cookie-sale related inventory; accurately filling the orders for each girl and reconciling the money; coordinating booth sales and generally keeping everyone motivated.
It turns out that it’s a LOT of work.
From the first week in December until the first week of March, I made almost weekly trips to the Cookie Cupboard. I do have a location advantage in that my office sits five minutes away from the local Cookie Cupboard, where Troop Volunteers pick up the cases of cookies they need to fulfill the girls’ orders, but that was a lot more than we were expecting.
Once I got the cookies home, I took each girl’s order form and made up boxes of cookies that they would then come pick up and deliver to their customers. Miss O became my Cookie Assistant and would help me fill the girls’ boxes and make signs with their names so I could keep the piles straight.
For a group that had minimal encouragement and didn’t highlight the recognition prizes they could earn at all, we sold over 1,000 boxes in our first season. I have no idea if that’s good or not and I’m not really sure I care. What I can say is that these girls LOVE selling cookies and people really like buying cookies.
We’re outside Boston, MA and cookie season falls right over the coldest part of our year. One of our booths was scheduled on a weekend that turned out to start at 10 degrees and only reached 25 degrees by the time our session was over. Not one girl cancelled. Even though they were bundled up in snow pants, parkas, gloves, hats and mittens to the point where only their eyes were visible, we rotated them through the store every 20 minutes to keep them warm. One parent was kind enough to bring hand warmers.
We were crazy to be out there, but I have to say, those girls were having so much fun. I’d ask them if they wanted to go home and not one said yes. They took turns being the ones to take the money or hand over the cookies. I even had two that loved to bag them up. That’s all they wanted to do and they were a great team at it. I was freezing my tail off, but I told myself if they want to keep going, so will I.
We were able to have a really fun movie and ice cream party at our local movie theater for the girls with the money they earned, and make no mistake, they earned every minute of it. Miss O even got a special fun badge for her extra efforts and the girls gave me a beautiful bouquet and thank-you card.
Cookie Season is almost here again and I’ve sign up for another year. I’m probably crazy for doing it now that I know what’s actually involved, but I have to admit, I loved it. Miss O loves that her mom is the Cookie Mom, too and how can I say no to that?
So how many boxes would you like?