by Sherrie Norris
The 2014 Girl Scout Cookie Program kicked off on Jan. 15 and will continue through March 2, with cookie booths beginning to appear at various locations across the High Country this week.
There is always a sense of good-natured urgency associated with this yearly announcement; we know that availability is limited, and we are anxious to try the new varieties waiting to be introduced.
In addition to the cookies mentioned above, along with their familiar counterparts, including Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Thanks-A-Lots, Lemonades and Shortbreads, the Cranberry Citrus Crisps are making their debut this year. For those who love a fruity snack, this crispy cookie is made of whole grains and filled with tangy cranberry bits and citrus flavor.
And, for those of us who have special dietary concerns, a gluten-free (chocolate chip shortbread) pilot cookie is also being offered, as well; it will be available for testing in the Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont area, which includes the High Country.
"There is a lot of enthusiasm around the new cookies, and we are excited to be a test council for the gluten-free option, something our consumers have been asking for," said Marcia Cole, chief executive officer of the regional Girl Scout office. "We hope that with these new varieties, along with the dedication of our girls and volunteers to be a part of the largest girl-led business in the country, we will see a very successful cookie season."
Along with the new cookie choices, the area council also transitioned to a different sales approach for 2014, initiating a direct sale strategy.
"Girls will have the cookies readily available when asking customers to purchase a box, instead of taking orders and returning a few weeks later with the cookies," Cole said. "This kind of sale helps with cookie publicity and on-the-spot purchases."
The price per box of cookies is $4, except for the gluten-free chocolate chip, which will sell for $5 a box.
All money generated from the cookie sales stays in the area to help fund various program and troop activities.
For many years, the cookie sale has served as an important part of the Girl Scout leadership experience and teaches girls life skills, including goal setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics.
To purchase a box of cookies, contact a Girl Scout in your neighborhood or community or search the cookie booth locator on the council website at http://www.girlscoutsp2p.org to find the ones closest to you.
Things to remember about the Girl Scout Cookie Program:
Cookie Mobile App -- Find cookies near you using the cookie locator app. It is available for both iPhone and Android phones and can be downloaded at http://www.girlscoutcookies.org.
Walk-About Week -- Girl Scouts will be canvassing neighborhoods and communities on foot during the week of Jan. 18-24, working on their cookie marketing skills and asking consumers to purchase cookies.
BUY 5 Promotion -- For every five boxes that a customer purchases, his or her name will be entered into a drawing to win a year's supply (52 boxes) of free Girl Scout cookies from the council. A winner from each of the four service centers will be selected.
Operation Sweet Treat - Girl Scouts are also participating in a councilwide service project to collect 26,000 boxes of cookies and 1,000 letters of encouragement to place in care packages to be shipped to U.S. military personnel serving in the United States and abroad. Customers can support the project by purchasing a box at a local cookie booth and pay $4 a box as they would for any other order. Cookies may also be purchased by the box or by the 12-box case by calling (800)-672-2148.
For more information about Girl Scouts or their annual cookie program, call (828) 328-2444.