Each year, Girl Scout troops place an initial order for cookie boxes to have on hand to start their annual selling frenzy. This time around, Golden’s troops took the unusual step of placing initial orders that only amount to 45% of last year’s total.
“There are fewer girls participating so you would expect it to be a little lower, but not quite that much lower,” said Marie Williams, who has daughters in Girl Scouts and serves as the service unit manager for Golden’s girl scout troops. “I think we’re nervous and they are being careful about not ordering too much.”
That nervousness is perhaps the most sensible reaction to trying to sell cookies amid the pandemic that has left troops still unsure of what grocery stores they will be able to set up their anticipated tables at — or whether they will even be able to at all.
Williams said on Jan. 14 that no decision had been made yet on whether those traditional sales will happen at stores in the Golden area as the state girl scout organization wants to wait until as close to the start of sales on Jan. 31 as possible to make that determination.
“Nobody’s told us no yet,” she said. “But we don’t know for sure what is going to happen.”
What is already known is that local buyers will have several new options for how to purchase favorites like Samoas and Thin Mints as Girl Scouts of America has introduced several news ways to purchase and deliver cookies, including drive-thru cookie booths and contactless porch cookie drop-offs, in an effort to adapt the cookie sales to COVID-19 conditions.
The latter is one of several adaptions that will allow door-to-door sales to proceed in a modified fashion. Instead of ringing doorbells, scouts will go door-to-door leaving door hangers or other flyers with info about how those wanting to buy cookies can contact them to do so. The scouts will then drop off the cookies on a later date.
For devoted sellers like Arvada’s Emilyann Owens, who has been selling cookies for 13 years and sold 3,000 boxes last year, the changes are as unwelcome as they are big.
“My whole thing is `for every three nos you are going to get one yes,” said Owens. “But that only comes from a lot of people seeing you and interacting with a lot of people.”
Any loss of revenue could also have significant consequences for the scouts themselves given how important proceeds from cookie sales, which are split between individual troops and the state girl scout council, are to funding activities for scouts.
In Williams’ case, the two troops she oversees typically use their cookie proceeds to help pay for rock climbing and an overnight camp and an overnight camp at Snow Mountain Ranch near Granby, all activities that her scouts would like to resume when it is safe to do so.
She also said other troops in lower income communities depend on cookie sales to pay for more basic items like badges and uniforms.
While this year’s cookie campaign will be unlike any other history, Williams said she feels her scouts are ready to embrace the challenge, even if new safety precautions might mean new inconveniences.
“If we are able to have groups outside Kings Soopers, hopefully people are patient and understand it might take a little longer,” she said.
Leanna Clark, the CEO of Girl Scouts of Colorado, also sees reason for optimism.
“We’ve all been through a lot this past year and are longing for something that feels like normal,” said Leanna Clark, CEO of Girl Scouts of Colorado. “What’s more reliable and comforting than Girl Scout Cookies?