“We originally expected to serve around 500 people today, but it’ll probably be closer to 800,” event coordinator Laurie Betker said. “This is the first time we’ve done this, but we plan on doing it again and again.”
Saturday’s event featured lessons in math and order taking to help the scouts with cookie sales, and 30 carnival games, some of which showed the prizes girls could earn if they sold a certain number of boxes.
“The highest amount that girls get recognized for is 1,000 boxes, and we had 29 girls sell that amount,” Betker said.
Girls who participated in the event came from Incline, Carson City, Dayton and other surrounding cities. The Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada includes northern Nevada and a portion of eastern California.
The sale of Girl Scout cookies funds activities for the girls.
“We’ve gone to Great America and the Redwood Forest,” 9-year-old Girl Scout Kat Bernard said. “This year, we’re going to go to the Marble Caves in Oregon.”
Bernard’s mother, Sherri, said the girls will learn about geology on their trip to Oregon.
“This is Kat’s fourth year selling cookies and we get very involved,” said Sherri, who is also the leader of Troop 672. “Last year, our troop sold 6,700 boxes of cookies.”
The kick-off was open to the public and aside from starting off the cookie selling season, it also provided a way for people to learn more about the Girl Scouts.
“I took my daughter down here to see if this is something she might want to do,” Sparks resident Jennifer Eaton said. “She just turned 5 and I thought this would be a good way for her to meet other girls her age before she starts kindergarten next fall.”
Eaton said that if her daughter does decide to join a troop, it will be Troop 447 in Sparks.
Cookie sales not only fund the girl’s activities, but they also help to build the girls’ character and confidence, Betker said.
“It’s a way for the girls to build up their courage, learn to communicate, learn how to be safe while they’re selling, count money and give out change,” Betker said. “Best of all, the girls get to taste the cookies.”
Boxes of cookies will cost $4 this year, up from $3.50 last year — a result of ever-growing production costs. According to the Girl Scouts, approximately 70 percent of cookie sale proceeds go directly to the local Girl Scout council. The rest goes to pay for production of the cookies. For more information on the cookies, go to www.girlscoutcookies.org.
Door-to-door pre-sale begins today. On Feb. 19 girls begin delivering pre-sold cookies, and booth sales will take place from Feb. 26 to March 28. Booth locations will be posted on www.gssn.org when sales begin.
For more information, visit www.gssn.org.
The history of the Girl Scout cookie
From Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada
The United States entered World War I in 1917, the same year a Girl Scout troop in Muskogee, Okla. started baking and selling cookies to help support Girl Scout activities. During the war, Girl Scouts were involved in selling war bonds, working in hospitals and collecting peach pits for use in gas mask filters.
When the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in 1920 giving women in the United States the right to vote, Girl Scouts continued to bake and sell cookies to help support their projects. That included one Pennsylvania troop teaming up with the pioneering radio station KDKA, which was the first station to ever broadcast election returns.
The 1930s was the decade of the Great Depression. Girl Scouts were active during this period collecting clothing, making quilts, carving wooden toys, gathering food for the poor, assisting in hospitals and participating in food drives. During this difficult time, Girl Scout cookies were not disregarded. In 1934 in the city of Philadelphia, cookie baking began to move outside of the home to commercial bakers. A year later, commercial cookie baking was also taking place in New York. By the end of the 1930s, more than 200,000 girls were involved in Girl Scouting.
During World War II, sugar, butter and flour were in short supply, so Girl Scouts began to sell calendars to help raise money for their activities. Wartime kept Girl Scouts busy with projects that included operating bicycle courier services, farm aid projects, collecting scrap metal and fat and growing victory gardens. Girl Scouts also collected 1.5 million articles of clothing to be shipped overseas to victims of the war.
After the war, cookies were back in the ovens with 29 bakers being licensed to bake Girl Scout cookies. At the start of the 1950s, there were about 1.5 million girls and volunteers in Girl Scouting. There were also four basic types of cookies being baked: a vanilla-based filled cookie, a chocolate-based filled cookie, a shortbread cookie and a chocolate mint cookie (the Thin Mint).
The 1960s were a time of civil unrest. The National Girl Scout board strongly supported civil rights with Senior Girl Scout Speakout conferences being held around the country. Girl Scout membership was expanding, as were cookie sales. At this time there were 14 licensed bakers mixing up chocolate mint cookies, shortbread and peanut butter sandwich cookies, among others, to help support Girl Scout activities.
In 1970s, Girl Scouts elected Gloria D. Scott the first African American National Girl Scout President. The Girl Scouts also established a national environmental program, Eco-Action and helped Vietnamese refugee children adapt to their new homes. The number of cookie bakers was reduced to four to ensure lower prices and uniform quality, packaging and distribution. Packaging also began to promote the benefits of Girl Scouting.
In the 1980s there were seven varieties of cookies being baked with Thin Mint, Sandwich and Shortbread being mandatory. The Challenger exploded in 1986 with former Girl Scout and school teacher Christa McAuliffe on board. During this decade former Girl Scout Sandra Day O’Connor was elected the first female Supreme Court Justice.
As the Berlin Wall fell and Germany reunified in 1990, Girl Scouts started the first and only mother-daughter prison visitation program. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Girls Scouts of the USA Commemorative Coin Act that authorized the minting of 350,000 silver dollar coins in honor of Girl Scouts.