Some smart cookies

Sales mean profits, self-confidence for Girl Scouts

Doorbells likely will be ringing more often than usual in the next two weeks as local Girl Scouts take to the streets to sell their famous cookies.

The season for selling began Friday as local Girl Scouts received order forms and tips on sales strategies.

"They just have a really good time at it," Brownies Troop 52 leader Tylawn Smercina said.

The youths typically sell to friends and family members and may go door-to-door or solicit at businesses that allow it.

"If they have a 'no soliciting' sign up, you can't go up there," Smercina's daughter Tiawna, 8, said.

"Sometimes they like it. Sometimes they don't."

Second-year seller Katelyn Peroulis, 7, recommends the door-to-door method to those new to the program as she typically sells more that way.

She has a specific way to approach customers, as is encouraged by the troop leaders.

"We say our name and then we ask them, 'Would you like to buy some cookies?'" Peroulis said. "And then they would look at the sheet, and if they wanted to buy some, they would."

The cookies for sale this year include Thin Mints, Samoas (which are in their 30th year of sales), Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos, All Abouts, Tagalongs and reduced-fat Lemon Coolers.

The Double-Dutch Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookie also returns this year, but the girls seem particularly excited about a change to it.

"Now they're as soft as a brownie," Smercina's daughter explained. Last year, the cookies were crunchy.

Troop 52, along with some of the other six local groups, works toward incentives for sales, such as stuffed animals, pajama pants and beach towels, as voted on by the members.

A portion of the monies raised goes back to the troop. Twenty-five percent of each $3 box sale will profit the troop that sold it. The troops' money goes toward special trips and whatever else the members decide to spend it on.

The remaining monies go to Chipeta Council, which serves 13 counties on the Western Slope.

"Even if they got nothing out of it, they'd still be ecstatic," Smercina said. "They money is just an added bonus."

She stressed that the experiences the girls get out of selling are more important than anything else. Along with responsibility and money-handling skills, the girls come away with improved self-esteem.

"It brings the shyness out of the ones who are shy and makes the confident ones more confident," Smercina said.

Carol Wilson, product sale manager for the Craig service unit, agreed, saying the girls pick up many lessons as they sell.

"The little toy things are fun and it induces them to work toward a goal," she said. "But what they are really doing -- often without even knowing it -- is learning and practicing lifelong skills."

Elizabeth Tochtrop, 7, is focused on how fun cookies sales are. Her favorite part is visiting with her neighbors.

Local Girl Scouts will be selling cookies through Jan. 21, with delivery from Feb. 7 to 11. "Catch-up" forms will be available after the 21st, and troops will sell cookies at stores in February and early March.

Wilson is excited to see how the girls will do, especially with the double Dutch cookie.

"I think chocolate sells no matter what form its in," Wilson said.

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