Elizabeth Corn and Bethany McCullum from Girl Scout Troop 5 sell cookies.

It’s Girl Scout cookie time! You will soon find your favorites around the community as the Girl Scouts start their booth sales on Friday, February 24. Maybe you like the familiar favorites such as the Thin Mints, Tagalongs or Samoas, or would like to try this year’s newest addition, Savannah Smiles (a lemon-flavored cookie dusted in powdered sugar), which is named after the city that Girl Scout founder, Juliette Gordon-Low, was from.

Girl Scout Cookies are not only an icon of American culture, but also the world’s leading entrepreneurial program for girls. Through the program girls practice useful life skills such as planning, decision-making and customer service. During cookie activities, girls are members of a team working towards a common goal, with each girl striving to do her personal best.

Girl Scout Troop 5 in the Valrico area made the journey to Savannah, GA last year using proceeds earned from their cookie sales.

Tracy Corn, Leader of Troop 5, spoke of the girls in her troop, and said, “Besides raising money for their goals, they really get some great business lessons that they can use throughout their lives. This is my 18th year as a leader and it amazes me that even though some of the ways that we sell cookies have changed, all the principles have stayed the same.”

Corn said that it is run like a small business. They have to make sure they don’t order too much product, as they can’t be returned. With their parents help, the girls must have a marketing plan and utilize e-mail and social media like Facebook to promote the sale. They must deliver the cookies in a timely manner and keep the product out of the sun when selling at their booths. Of course, since they would like to promote repeat business, they must be polite and courteous to their customers. Along the way, they learn lessons about budgeting and money management.

The girls in Troop 5 are busy working towards their Washington, D.C. trip during spring break 2013.

For those who want to support Girl Scouting in their communities, but don’t want to enjoy the cookies themselves, Girl Souts of West Central Florida offers the Cookies from Home Program. Donations of cookies  will be sent directly to military troops serving in combat zones overseas through a partnership with Support Our Troops. Donations may be made in person through a Girl Scout at any time through Sunday, March 18.

 Visit www.gswcf.org for more information or to search for a Girl Scout Cookie Booth by zip code using the cookie booth locater system, or call 800-881-4475, ext. 1838.

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