Girl Scout Cookie season is one of the busiest times of the year—for Girl Scouts, troop leaders, parents, and volunteers. From placing your troop’s initial cookie order to reflecting on your troop’s goals, there are a lot of things that have to get done before, during, and after the cookie sale to ensure your girls have the best cookie season yet! Whether you’re a new troop leader or a returning cookie volunteer, here are some tips (and reminders) to help you prepare for the upcoming cookie program.
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Before the Program:
Help your girls set reasonable goals
If your girls are first-time sellers, encourage them to dream big, but also to be reasonable when setting goals. Even with a super go-getter spirit and an awesome support team, a girl’s first cookie season can be a little overwhelming. So when your girls are getting ready to place their initial cookie order, let them know that it’s sometimes better to order a few extra cases from the local cupboard during the program than ending up with cases of unsold cookies.
Review product program safety with your girls
Your girls will be interacting with a lot of new faces throughout the cookie program, which is why it’s important for them to follow a few key rules to keep your girls safe. Take some time to review the Safety Activity Checkpoint for the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which will help you and your girls better prepare for the program. Even though the cookie program is a girl-led activity, make sure your girls always have adult supervision or guidance.
Remind girls to prepare their sash/vest and their booth
Whether Girl Scouts are managing a booth or carting around cookies, your girls will be spending a lot of time in the public eye during the cookie program, making it the perfect time to be loud and proud as they represent Girl Scouts! Remind parents that girls need to wear their sash/vest, Girl Scout apparel, or their Girl Scout pin.
Colorful booth decorations and signs are some of the BEST ways to grab the attention of customers passing by. Check out this blog post on how to boost cookie sales with a girl-led booth design or these fun (and easy) ways to bling your booth.
Make sure you ask questions if you have any
Don’t wait until the program starts to ask a question or ask for advice from your council, your service unit, or your fellow troop leaders and volunteers. Choose to be inquisitive and get those burning questions answered, because remember, there is no such thing as a dumb question and any challenges you experience will likely be easier to resolve if addressed early on.
Pro Tip: Connect with your Service Unit Cookie Program Volunteers. They have been in your shoes and want to help you have a successful experience (they also understand the struggle of managing a troop cookie program for the first time, so don’t be shy!).
During the Program:
Make sure your girls understand the “5 Skills” and Care to Share Program
Girl Scout Cookie season is the perfect time to introduce the “5 Skills”: Goal Setting, Decision Making, Money Management, People Skills, and Business Ethics. We cannot emphasize the “girl-led” aspect of the cookie program enough, and these 5 skills will serve as a useful guide in helping your girls plan and lead their cookie sale discussions and activities.
Let your girls know that they can offer their customers a way to give back to their community with Care to Share. The value of Care to Share is tremendous – it’s really a win-win-win for girls, communities, and council. When customers choose to participate in the program, your community receives cookie donations through the food bank or military/veterans organizations, which also helps council empty out our cookie cupboards.
Communicate with your families
Teamwork makes the dream work and when it comes to cookie season, your girls’ parents and families play a super important part! Make sure your troop parents understand their role, their financial responsibility, and the key dates for the program.
Pro Tip: Set a couple of dates or maybe a weekly meeting during the cookie season to check in with parents about their girl’s progress. If your troop seems to have too many cookies on hand early on, it’s a lot easier to transfer unsold cookies to another troop or schedule additional booths earlier in the program than towards the end of the program.
Practice, practice, practice
Your girls will encounter a variety of different people when selling cookies, so make sure your girls practice everything from their sales pitch to their money handling skills to ensure each customer has the best experience possible. Make sure your girls are familiar with all of the cookie varieties as well as the prices. Encourage them to smile and have fun, but also to be polite. Remind them to thank their customers – even the ones that don’t want to buy Girl Scout Cookies.
If your troop is participating in booth sales, set up a pretend booth where your girls can role-play being both the customer and the Girl Scout selling. Here are some possible customer personas to help your girls practice their sales pitch. If you want to add some extra money handling practice, throw in some pretend money too!
After the Program:
Take some time to reflect on your cookie program
Once the program ends, take some time to reflect with your girls while the thought is still fresh in their mind. Did your girls reach their sales goals? What made this cookie season successful? Is there anything you can do to improve next year’s cookie season? Brainstorm a list to help next year be an even bigger and better cookie season!
And of course, CELEBRATE!
Getting through your first Girl Scout cookie season is a HUGE accomplishment, so don’t forget to set aside some time to celebrate the end of the cookie season! From hosting a relaxing party for your girls to thanking your parents and adult volunteers with a little party of their own, here’s a list of fun ways to #treatyoself after a long and successful cookie season.
What to do next:
- Check out our resources for sellers & parents as well as our resources for volunteers for an abundance of great tools that will help you and your girls have an awesome cookie season!
- For more information on participating in the Girl Scout Product Program, visit the Product Safety section of Volunteer Essentials.
- From top-seller tips to booth design ideas, here are some of our other cookie-related blog posts on the Trailhead.
Gwen Shapiro—Gwen is the Retail/Product Program Specialist for Girl Scouts of Northern California, where she supports girls and volunteers with all things cookies, fall product, uniforms, GSNorCal gear, and more. As an East Bay Area native she started Girl Scouts at 6 years old, and was the 3rd generation in her family to be a leader/camp counselor of their daughter’s troop before joining the GSNorCal Redwoods Area staff in 2011. Gwen grew up hiking and camping throughout Northern California and loves to continue that tradition whenever she can. She is passionate about Girl Scouting and all its opportunities for adventures and learning in the outdoors, STEM, leadership, and the Product Program, helping girls to discover their own passions.