Mints for the Military

By Catelyn Holcomb, Troop 176

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I’m told all of the time that I’m not a typical nine-year-old.  I’m an old soul and have always been more interested in doing things for others instead of myself. My name is Catelyn Holcomb and I’m in troop 176.

When I was a Daisy I learned about the Mints for the Military* program and have set my personal cookie goals around donations instead of actual boxes.  For the 2017 season, I focused on helping others even more than in the years before. I collected more than 1,425 boxes for our troops, which is a personal record.  When a customer said they couldn’t have sugar or didn’t need to eat cookies, I always made the suggestion for a donation and had great success.  I never gave up and learned many important lessons in sales from one booth to another.

Many people walking out of Publix said that they didn’t support our sales because other Girl Scouts haven’t asked if they would like cookies.  Even more said they didn’t know about the Mints for the Military program.  The best advice I can share with other girls is to ask!  The worst someone can say is “no” but without the question, you’ll never have an answer.

This is a fantastic program that helps our greater community nationwide where all Girl Scouts can work together.  For all the troops do for us worldwide, this is the least we can do for them.  I hope that come next cookie season, all Girl Scouts will remember to simply ask for their customers’ support.  And who can say no to a Girl Scout asking to support the troops that keep us free every day?

*Mints for the Military is Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s Girl Scout Cookie service project.  Mints for the Military gives cookie customers the opportunity to purchase cookies that are later donated to our active military servicemen and women as well as veterans.

To learn more about the Girl Scout Cookie program please visit http://www.gsgcf.org/en/cookies/about-girl-scout-cookies.html.

A Quick History of Girl Scout Cookies

Thin Mints, Tag-a-longs, and Trefoils – oh my! Next year, the Girl Scout Cookie legacy will turn 100 years old. You know how yummy the cookies are, and that Girl Scout troops use their cookie sale proceeds to help fund their many community service projects and other activities. But how did it all get started?

In 1917, only five years after Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts in the United States, the Mistletoe Troop of Muskogee, Oklahoma sold home-baked cookies in their high school cafeteria. As it is today, the girls used their earnings to pay for their troop programs.

In July 1922, Girl Scouts of the USA’s The American Girl magazine featured a cookie recipe from the Chicago, Illinois council. Throughout the 1920s, Girl Scouts across the country baked simple sugar cookies, packaged them in waxed paper, and sold them door to door at prices unheard of today: often 25-35 cents per dozen!

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Commercially baked Girl Scout Cookies were first sold in 1934 by the Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council.  A year later, the Girl Scout Federation of Greater New York took things a step further with commercially baked cookies made using a die in the shape of a trefoil.  In 1936, the national Girl Scout organization began licensing commercial bakers to produce cookies for sale nationwide.

With the sugar, butter, and flour shortages of World War II, the Girl Scout Cookie program was put on hold. Beginning in 1944, Girl Scout calendars were produced and sold as an alternative fundraiser. Girl Scout Cookie sales enjoyed a healthy increase following the war, and the beloved tradition was back in full swing.

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Gulfcoast Girl Scouts gear up for cookie sales, 1950s.

A number of cookie variations have been offered over the years, including sandwich, shortbread, and chocolate mint varieties. Today, new varieties cater to consumers looking for healthier alternatives or gluten-free options.

Perhaps the greatest advance in the sale of Girl Scout Cookies came in 2015, with the online Digital Cookie platform, helping girls build 21st-century business skills.  One thing has remained the same, though. Through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, girls gain confidence and take great pride in their success, all while earning funds and helping make their communities a better place – one cookie at a time.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

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