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Beyond The Thin Mint: The Inside Scoop on Girl Scout Cookies

·Nicole Goodkind

On March 12, 1912, Juliette Gordon Low assembled 18 young girls in her Savannah, GA home to register for the first ever Girl Scout troop. 100 years later, Girl Scouts of the USA touts 2.3 million active members and 59 million alumnae.

Hillary Clinton, Meg Whitman, Lisa Ling, Sandra Day O’Connor, Sally Ride, Martha Stewart, Katie Couric, and Barbara Walters are just a few who mingle amongst the ranks of those 59 million alumnae. Seventy-percent of all women currently serving in the U.S. Senate were members of the Girl Scouts as were three out of the last five Secretaries of State (Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, and Madeleine Albright).

Related: Women Breadwinners Are Good For Both Sexes, Author Says

“One in two American women wore the Girl Scout sash at one point in her life,” Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez tells The Daily Ticker, “We have found that 70% of women business owners and corporate leaders were Girl Scout alumnae. Clearly throughout all sectors in our communities they’re leading the way.”

One of the largest and most beloved Girl Scout initiatives is their cookie drive. Girl Scouts sell over 200 million boxes of cookies annually and bring in $790 million in gross revenue — this makes the Girl Scout Cookie Program the largest girl-run entrepreneurial venture in the world. When Girl Scout Cookies are in market, they are the number one selling cookie brand.

Girl Scout cookie sales began 95 years ago in Muskogee, Oklahoma when a local troop decided to bake and sell the treats to raise money for their community. At the time these homemade sugar cookies cost only 25 cents per dozen. The idea was adapted by troops nationwide and slowly expanded to become what we know it as today.

Thin Mints, first introduced in the 1930s, are the most popular Girl Scout cookie with 50 million boxes sold per year. Following the Thin Mint in popularity is the Samoa, then the Tag-a-Long, Do-si-do, and Trefoil.

The cookie drive teaches young women the importance of goal setting, decision making, people skills, money management, and ethics. “Not only do these girls raise funds through cookie sales, but they reinvest them back into local communities,” says Chávez.

Girl Scouts has declared Feb. 8 "National Girl Scout Cookie Day." While it would be entirely appropriate to celebrate by enjoying a Thin Mint or two, it might also be appropriate to reflect on the leadership and entrepreneurial skills young woman have acquired through their participation in the program.

Here are some more interesting facts about The Girl Scouts you may not have known:

  • Girl Scouts is the largest education organization for girls in the world

  • The Thin Mint is the 3rd best selling cookie in the United States

  • The Girl Scouts has 2.3 million members between the ages of 5-17 and 890,000 adult members who work primarily as volunteers

  • Girl Scouts have troops in more than 92 countries

  • There are only two commercial bakers licensed to make Girl Scout Cookies. Cookies vary by region based on which bakery they come from

  • Bakers have creative freedom and are only required to bake the Thin Mint each year

  • Girl Scout Alumnae include: Halle Berry, Whoopi Goldberg, Gloria Steinem, Mary Tyler Moore, Kate Winslet, Oprah Winfrey, Laura Bush, Chelsea Clinton, Nancy Reagan, Janet Reno, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Lucille Ball, Mariah Carey, and Ann Landers

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