It’s a sad time of year for those who are down to their last box of Thin Mints, but for Girl Scout troop No. 2352, things are just starting to heat up. Now is the time when the Scouts get rewarded for selling all those cookies.
There are just under 47,000 Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles and those Scouts alone sold more than 5.6 million boxes this cookie season, according to GSGLA.
Rewards for the cookie program, which are cumulative, include things like a participation patch when girls sell more than 24 boxes, fun merchandise at different levels and even trips to destinations like Hurricane Harbor at 500 boxes or camping in Big Bear at 1,500.
Of the local troops, only 309 Scouts sold more than 1,200 boxes and joined the “Sweet Elite” selling level — four of who were in troop No. 2352.
These four scouts included: Charlize Beato, 10; Amber Griffiths, 10; Sophia Rose Pennington, 10; and Kaitlyn Berg, 9. They were rewarded with a trip to Disneyland with early park access, a special Girl Scout breakfast in Toontown and exclusive access to a few rides.
“I want to sell more cookies so I can donate more to charity and support our troop at the same time,” Griffiths said. “I wouldn’t want to sell as many cookies if my Girl Scout sisters weren’t there with me.”
Berg agreed, and attributed her success to her Girl Scout sister’s encouragement, but her favorite part is “having a goal and being able to achieve it.”
And while this may seem impressive on its own, it doesn’t stop there.
Both Pennington and Berg were two of the 39 girls in GSGLA who sold more than 2,000 boxes, and Pennington went one step further, reaching the highest reward level and joining the 12 other Scouts who sold more than 3,000 boxes.
At this level, Pennington will become a GSGLA spokesperson and receive an exclusive, behind-the-scenes experience in Hollywood to prep for her media debut.
Pennington has thought up countless selling tactics, including persuading a man who was sure he didn’t want any cookies to buy some as gifts for his grandkids as well as encouraging people to put the least popular flavor, Toffee-tastic, and the new cookie, S’mores, in the microwave because they become “gooey and melty.”
Although most of the girls admitted to being shy before they began selling cookies, they still said it’s their favorite time of year.
“My favorite part of selling is being with my friends,” Beato said. “But when people say no, it’s hard.”
Beato’s 8-year-old sister, Leila, agreed, and said she likes, “when they say they’ll come back and then they actually do.”
And it may seem like all fun and games, but cookie sales are an important part of fundraising for troop No. 2352, and all of the proceeds generated from the cookie program will stay within the local council to support programs for scouts in the community.
The success of the troop’s cookie sales also doesn’t mean that the importance of giving back to their community has been forgotten.
In fact, the troop used 10% of the funds generated from the 10,207 boxes they sold to give each girl a chance to donate to a local charity of their choice.
On Wednesday, the troop presented the SCV Food Pantry, 6-year-old Ella Dvorsky’s charity pick, their $75 donation check along with $125 worth of groceries.
Last year, Dvorsky chose to help an animal shelter, but this year, she said she wanted to “feed the people, too.”
“When people don’t have food, they can’t live, and I don’t want people to die,” Dvorsky said.
In addition to the donations from the cookie program, the troop has also done service projects for the Castaic Animal Care Center, Sunrise Senior Living, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital and The Gentle Barn.