It's cookie season!

How many of you participated in Girl Scouts? I certainly did.  I started off as a Brownie and went through Juniors.  Along with the badges and the camping came my favorite part - the cookies!

The Girl Scout program began almost 100 years ago (March 12, 1912) when the first troop was created for the betterment and empowerment of girls in the United States. Since then, the program has spread to approximately 92 countries and has touched the lives of 50 million women in the United States.  And the cookie business, a $700 million program, has grown and become the largest girl-led business in the country!

The Girl Scout Cookie program launches every year on February 1 and provides the scouts 6 weeks to sell their confections.  This program helps the young girls with goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.  The monies from the sale go back to the Girls Scouts of the USA, by helping to recruit volunteers to work with the girls, improve and maintain camp sites and to sponsor special events and projects for the girls.

Recently, the program has been scaled back to encapsulate six cookie types: Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, Trefoils, Samoas, Lemon Chalet Cremes and Tagalongs.  Why? The organization went through an overhaul in 2004, going "Back to Basics" and keeping things simple.  By streamlining the selections, the girls are able to increase profits and offer a faster turnaround time for delivery of the cookies.

Some, however, are not in favor of the scaled back selections.  ABC Baker, the company who has been with the Girl Scout since 1937, doesn't see the drastic changes happening, as specified by the organization.  The baker has cut back in other ways, making an environmental and fiscal contribution by offering Thanks-A-Lot cookies (shortbread dipped in chocolate) in plastic rather than cardboard, scaling back on 150 tons of cardboard.

Why is this relevant? In an age where bullying has been taken to a new level and children have greater access to inappropriate online content, isn't it important that we give our girls a sense of security, empowerment and life skills that will stay with them indefinitely?  The program offers all of that and more... it's a lineage of good manners and hard work, offered by way of a box of cookies and a lesson in heritage imparted on young girls that last a lifetime.  Who knew a simple box of cookies that taste so good, could mean so much?