A century ago, girls started participating in what would evolve into the largest entrepreneurial training program for girls in the world: the Girl Scout Cookie Program®, through which girls learn the essential skills they need to become effective leaders, manage finances, and gain self-sufficiency and confidence in handling money. To commemorate this banner year for the organization, the highly-anticipated Girl Scout S’mores™ cookies are now available, joining classics like Thin Mints and Trefoils/Shortbreads.
The sale of cookies by Girl Scouts had humble beginnings, born as a way for troops to finance activities. The first known sale of cookies by Girl Scouts occurred in 1917, when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project. As the Girl Scout Cookie Program developed and evolved, it not only became a vehicle for teaching five essential skills—goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics—it also enabled collaboration and integration, as early as the 1950s, among girls and troops of diverse backgrounds, as they worked together toward common goals.
“To think that for 100 years Girl Scouts have been powering their experiences through the sale of cookies is inspiring. We thank the communities we serve for supporting the financial education and incredible experiences offered to girls through the sale of Girl Scout cookies,” said Kim Hutzell, President and CEO of Girl Scouts of South Carolina-Mountains to Midlands.
Girl Scout Cookies not only help Girl Scouts earn money for fun, educational activities and community projects, but also play a huge role in transforming girls into G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™ as they learn essential life skills that will stay with them forever. Starting from its momentous, first known sale, Girl Scout cookies have gone on to become an indelible part of American pop culture and history—and have enjoyed support from some equally iconic figures and notables. Babe Ruth promoted the Million Cookie Drive during the 1924 World Series. Former First Lady Lou Henry Hoover inspired the first organized national sale of Girl Scout Cookies in 1933, and girls used cookie earnings during this time to help communities cope with the debilitating effects of the Great Depression by collecting clothing and food for those in need. And when the popularity of Girl Scout Cookies soared higher than expected in 1936, commercial cookie bakers were called in to assist in making the sweet treats. Last year, the 88th Academy Awards had the audience eating out of Girl Scouts’ hands, with film stars clamoring to buy and munch on cookies during the telecast.