Maura Roberts

Girl Scout cookies are on sale now, and troop 10303 still has a way to go before meeting their goal.

Troop leader Kristie Riddle said her troop sets up Saturday at Complete Cash and Ryan’s from 12 to 3 p.m. and at Lowes from 2 to 8 p.m.

“We order a lot of cookies so we are out pretty much every weekend in February and March,” Riddle said.

Last year, the troop sold about 9,500 boxes. Riddle said this year her troop of 30 girls ordered about 7,400 boxes to sell. They have also made it easier than ever to purchase a box.

“My troop is one of the few in the county that does what we call drive service,” she said. “You can pull in, pull up to the table, the girl comes up and asks what you would like and you never even have to get out of your car. It’s kind of like a fast food drive through for girl scout cookies.”

Sweets for sale include Thin Mints and Samoas, which are the best sellers, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Trefoils, Savannah Smiles and Rah-Rah Raisins. Last year, a new addition was added to the list to satisfy customers.

Riddle said Toffee-tastic, a gluten-free option, is a specialty item that becomes more popular every year.

“We have had a lot of folks when they are choosing cookies, they are looking for gluten-free. For whatever reason, they have to avoid gluten,” she said. “I don’t do gluten free myself, but I do have people in my troop and know other people who have to. They say these cookies are delicious. I have some people that buy a case at a time.”

Another alternative you can participate in is Operation Cookie Drop. Instead of buying a box of cookies, you can donate money that goes toward sending cookies to military troops.

“Usually we’ll have a little bucket at our booth. If you want to put a $1 in, if you want to put $20 in, whatever you feel like donating we can put all that money together and purchase as many boxes of cookies as it can,” Riddle said. “The Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama work with Soldiers’ Angels to have all of those cookies shipped over to our military troops.”

Riddle said her troop makes a small profit off of the cookies they sell. She said a portion goes to the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama to run their summer camp.

“In the past, I’ve had the girls plan out what projects or fun activities they wanted to do and then we have to sell the cookies to meet that goal,” she said. “This year, we’re trying to do it a little bit more real-world where we’re just selling as many cookies as we possibly can and then we’ll plan activities based on our budget. We’re trying to teach the girls so when they get older they can budget.”

By selling cookies, young girls learn valuable skills in fields such as customer service, money-management, organization and social interaction.

“At all of my cookie booths, I have three rotations. I have a sales person who is responsible for standing out, smiling and asking ever person if they would like to buy Girl Scout cookies,” she said. “I have a cashier who is learning money-management like how to count back change the old fashioned way without any computers or calculators. Then, I have a re-stocker who is in charge of making sure that we have a nice, neat, table front and everything is arranged and organized. We teach them the basics of running a company and why it matters how you present your product. Interacting with people is a big thing. I have a lot of girls that are very shy so we teach them social skills and how to interact safely. “

Riddle said the scouts can earn patches for how many boxes they sell and financial literacy badges.

“There are two badges that go along with financial literacy that they earn during cookie season,” she said. “Usually just by getting out and selling the cookies and doing all the work that entails, they pretty much earn those badges.

“Girl Scout cookies are usually pretty easy to sell – everybody loves them. My girls especially work really hard. I have some girls who have really large goals selling 750 boxes of cookies and they work hard to do it. We appreciate any support the public is willing to give us.”

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