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Girl Scout Cookie Program develops skills, community awareness in the Finger Lakes

The cookies have arrived.

Last week the official launch of the Girl Scout Cookie Season began locally with thousands of boxes arriving at an annual ‘depot’ event, which is held at the Fingerlakes Mall, located in Aurelius.

“It’s a massive undertaking by council staff, Girl Scout leaders and volunteers, and delivery agents,” Jaime Alvarez, Communications Director for Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways, Inc. “Not just in Auburn at Fingerlakes Mall, but across our entire council footprint.”

It’s a territory that spans 24 counties in New York; and two in northern Pennsylvania. Throughout that area there are also home delivery locations. She said the cookies that arrive in Aurelius for their annual depot event are from orders captured in January and February.

Those orders are organized and fulfilled so Girl Scouts can get the first round of deliveries completed. Some of those cookies, which arrive that day – are used to stock booths at local businesses, malls, food establishments and other community events that allow troops to sell cookies during the month of March.

She says that one of the biggest questions they get involves finding these cookie booths, for those who might not have friends or family members selling the cookies. To find out where a community booth location will be visit; and enter your zip code.

Alvarez says that the opportunity for The Girl Scout Cookie Program is financial literacy. “It teaches girls five essential life skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics,” she explained. “It’s so much more than a box of cookies, for a great cause. Proceeds help support troops and power amazing adventures for the girls like Girl Scout summer camp, travel, community service projects and more.”

She said a portion also helps council develop leadership programming for the girls in areas like STEM and helps support the upkeep of their camp and service center properties for troops.

Alvarez says that so far, sales are on track with last year. In 2018, the girls sold 1.9 million boxes of cookies. “Each cookie season, we partner with a local community organization through our Council Gift of Caring program, an annual service project. If you want to support the girls but don’t necessarily eat or like cookies, you can donate your purchase,” Alvarez continued. “This year, we’re partnering with the Rescue Mission Alliance. The Rescue Mission provides programs to end hunger and homelessness across the GSNYPENN Council footprint in Syracuse, Auburn, Binghamton and Ithaca. Programs are tailored to the needs of each community.”

But don’t think that the cookie selling process hasn’t evolved to utilize technology.

“The Digital Cookie platform helps girls superpower cookie sales as they go beyond the paper order card and booth,” Alvarez explained. “The online platform is a fun, educational tool that helps girls run and manage sales in their native digital space. Each girl has a unique personalized website to sell, which gives her more skills and ways to learn.”

And in true 2019-fashion, there’s an app!

The digital platform allows the girls to set cookie goals, track progress, manage orders and inventory, learn about Internet safety, and more. They also earn Cookie Business gadgets and explore ways to help others by investing their earnings back into the communities they serve.

It also helps customers who may want to pay with a debit or credit card.

At the end of the day though, the whole process is about building strong, courageous girls. “We’re building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place,” Alvarez added. “Girl Scouts is the best leadership development program for girls in the world because it prepares them for a lifetime of leadership with proven results based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that help girls take the lead—in their own lives and the world.”

Those skills developed at an early age, last a lifetime.

“Girl Scouts is a place where girls practice different skills, explore their potential, take on leadership positions—and even feel allowed to fail, get up, and try again. Through Girl Scouts, girls – regardless of where they come from – develop a strong sense of self, seek challenges and learn from setbacks, display positive values, form and maintain healthy relationships, and identify and solve problems in their community,” Alvarez concluded.

Reporting in this story by News Director Josh Durso. He hosts a pair of podcasts on Check out Inside the FLX and Sunday Conversation each week on  Email tips and leads to [email protected].