While not nearly as famous as our iconic Girl Scout Cookies, our annual Girl Scout Fall Product Program features a wide variety of goodies, like nuts, candy, and magazines that help teach critical business skills and fund our girls’ amazing adventures.
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During my 13 years as a Girl Scout, I sold nuts, candy, and magazines every year. In addition to preparing me and my Girl Scout sisters for cookie season, participating in the fall product program has many other benefits, and I want to share them with you—that way your troop can have an awesome fall product program, too!
Why should you participate in the Fall Product Program?
For starters, the fall product program is one of the best ways for girls to start earning troop funds, that way they don’t have to wait until late-spring after cookie season to start having fun (and troop leaders don’t need to spend any of their own money to fund the troop). The costs of extracurricular activities can add up pretty quickly, and for most troops, participating in the fall product program and the Girl Scout Cookie Program covers the program’s various expenses, like annual membership dues, uniforms, troop shirts, activity registration fees, and troop meeting supplies, just to name a few.
In addition to start-up funds, the fall product program provides girls with valuable skills, such as customer service, organizational skills, creative problem-solving, money handling, marketing savvy, and goal-setting. Whether she’s taking online orders or going door-to-door with her Girl Scout sisters, the fall product program gives girls the chance to put their skills into action, show off their Girl Scout spirit, and let their confidence soar as they interact with their customers.
With all this in mind, here are 5 key ways to help your girls have a successful fall product program:
1. Set a troop goal
Do your girls want to complete some new badges this winter, or maybe save up for a big event 6 months from now? Whatever their hearts desire, make sure they set a troop goal. By working as a team, even new members can feel a part of something bigger as they participate with their new friends towards a common goal. Troop leaders can help guide their girls’ dreams, but remember, activities should always be girl-led. Keep your parents and girls updated on your troop’s progress and remind girls to set individual goals, that way their excitement lasts all season long.
Pro Tip: Looking to learn more about how to set goals with your troop? We’ve got you covered!
2. Prepare for the season
You know the good ‘ol Girl Scout motto—always be prepared! From troop leader logistics (like finding a troop fall product manager and setting up your troop’s bank account) to girl preparation (like setting a goal to fund your Girl Scout year and practicing your sales pitch, or even recording your avatar’s audio message), make sure you and your troop are prepared for the fall product program. Looking for a place to start? Check out our Fall Product Program page for more helpful resources.
3. Get the families involved
In recent surveys, 100% of troops report that their girls are more successful when parents partner to support the troop. If the parents know why the girls have set their goal for a specific amount (because that’s how much they need to sell to earn their way to the awesome activities they have planned), then they are better able to do their part in supporting and encouraging your girls. Plan a parent meeting before the season begins, with both parents and girls in attendance, to ensure that all the parents know the key dates and expectations for the program. Bonus points if you let your girls do the talking!
Oh, and Girl Scout product programs are the perfect time to get parents more actively involved with the troop, because it gives them a one-way ticket to spending more one-on-one time with their girls.
4. Make sure all volunteers understand the value of the entrepreneurship program
Whether you’re a troop leader, service unit fall product manager, or parent helper, make sure you check out our Fall Product Overview video and Volunteer Learning Portal for fall product trainings, where there are trainings available for every role! The online trainings are quick and easy and will provide everything you need to know to have your smoothest season yet:
Pro Tip: Need more support? Try reaching out to another adult volunteer who has headed up the program previously for his/her troop—they can be a great resource for questions and best practices!
5. Mix up your girls’ booth partners
If you have several BFF-super-buddy-buddy duos in your troop, try intentionally mixing up your booth sale pairs to give your girls the chance to develop stronger friendships with everyone in the troop. Trust the buddy system, because after your girls manage a booth together for a few hours, they’ll likely feel closer than ever as they bond over their shared goal.
Try pairing up one of your shy or newer girls with one of your more outgoing, veteran Girl Scouts for booth sales. This is a great way to incorporate new girls into your troop by giving them one-on-one time with her new troop sisters, which may not happen as much as you like at your regular troop meetings. With the safety of her Girl Scout uniform, her troop sister, and a registered adult, mixing it up may be the best way to help her break out of her shy shell.
6. Engage in the Fall Program Take Action project
The annual animal conservation project ties to our fall program mascot and provides girls with an important community engagement experience. As girls support an animal in need they learn to support and advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. By taking part in the project and donating any amount of their recognitions, girls will have the opportunity to spread the word to support animal conservation.
Just like the cookie program, the fall product program happens every year. And with a little hard work and prep time, you and your girls can have your best fall product season yet! So whether they decide to participate in in-person sales, online sales, or both, make sure they take the time to set a goal and reap the benefits of the fall product program. Don’t forget to check out all of GSNorCal’s helpful fall product program resources online. Good luck and happy selling!
- Visit the GSNorCal website for more information on the Fall Product Program.
- Check out GSNorCal’s Volunteer Learning Portal for fall product trainings and helpful fall product resources.
- Looking for more ways to fund your troop activities? Read Angela’s post on tips for troop money-earning.
- Have you and your girls participated in a Girl Scout fall product program? Share your tips for a successful fall product program in the comments section below.
Leah Takahashi—Leah is the Marketing Manager for Girl Scouts of Northern California, where she creates content, plans blog posts, and promotes all things Girl Scouts in all formats digital. Leah joined Girl Scouts at the age of 5 and has been a part of the organization ever since (shout out to Troop 31213 – woot woot). During her younger Girl Scout days, Leah did everything from selling thousands of Girl Scout Cookies to serving as a National Delegate at the 2011 Convention and even earning her Gold Award in 2012. She may be young, but she’s got plenty of Girl Scout experience under her belt and is excited to share it with you!