Every January, thousands of young girls canvas the region to offer consumers tasty morsels that are synonymous with Girl Scouting.
People will see Girl Scouts in their uniforms knocking on doors or visiting businesses to take orders.
Girl Scouts have started taking orders, and the sale will continue through Jan. 25. Deliveries will take place from Feb. 14-21.
There are eight varieties of cookies, which are priced at $4 a box.
The cookie lineup is the same a last year’s: Thin Mints, a thin wafer covered in chocolate and made with natural peppermint; Do-Si-Dos, an oatmeal-peanut butter cookie sandwich; Samoas, a mix of caramel, coconut and chocolate; Tag-Alongs, a peanut butter-topped cookie dipped in chocolate; Dulce de Leche, featuring caramel chips; Trefoils, a shortbread cookie; Thank U Berry Munch, cookies filled with cranberries and white fudge chips; and Savannah Smiles, crescent-shaped, lemon-flavored cookies dusted with powdered sugar.
Cookies also will be available at the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania’s Johnstown office, 612 Locust St., from Feb. 22 through March 17.
Customers also can purchase the tasty morsels from Scouts who set up sales booths in local shopping malls, grocery stores and department stores from Feb. 22 to March 17.
Thin Mints were the top-selling cookies last year, followed by Tagalongs and Samoas.
Girl Scout Troop 40751, which meets at Grove Avenue United Methodist Church in the Moxham section of Johnstown, was the top-selling troop in the Johnstown area in 2012. The troop’s leader is Della Csehoski.
Eight girls sold more than 5,000 boxes, 75 percent of which came from booth sales.
The cookie program provides important leadership experience for girls, teaching them five important skills that last them a lifetime: Goal setting, decision making, money management, business ethics and people skills, said Lisa Shade, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania public relations manager in Edinboro, Erie County.
Csehoski can attest that the sales have been one way for young women to build courage, confidence and character.
“The girls have to get up, get motivated and show up on time in order to get ready to sell,” Csehoski said. “I have seen shy girls blossom as they approach people, knowing that they have to ask for a sale.”
Csehoski is grateful that The Galleria and stores such as Walmart, Lowe’s home-improvement center and Ideal Market allow Girl Scouts to set up shops at their locations.
All revenue earned from cookie sales stays with the Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania, including the portion that goes directly to the group selling cookies.
Cookie revenue supports essential services to troops, groups and individual girls – such as providing program resources and communication support, training adult volunteers and conducting events, Shade said.
Troops earn 70 cents for each box of cookies sold.
They use the money to pay for camps, special events, activities, service projects and travel.
The program funds life-changing experiences for Girl Scouts.
“We used our money from last year to take an extensive field trip to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore,” Csehoski said.
“Our funds also paid for the girls to go to summer camp in Summerhill, and money was used for our community-service projects.”
Leaders view the program as more goal-oriented than competitive.
“Girl Scouts set goals for their sales to fund the things they want to do, and structure their sales efforts to reach those goals,” Shade said.
For the first time since 1999, all boxes of Girl Scout cookies have a new look and purpose, which is to elevate the significance of the cookie program.
“The new cookie boxes include stories of what Girl Scouts do today, the fun they have doing it and all that girls learn from the experience,” Shade said.
“All boxes feature the Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve.”
This year, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania is offering Operation: Sweet Appreciation for the Gift of Caring program.
The program is designed to send “a taste of home” to U.S. troops overseas.
“This year, the girls would like to send a few hundred boxes and will be pushing for customers to buy a Gift of Caring for us to send,” Csehoski said.
For those looking for a place to buy cookies during booth sales, people may use their iPhones or Android smartphones to find a location beginning Feb. 22.
The cookie locator application is available in the App Store and Android Market.
What: Girl Scout cookies.
When: Door-to-door sales under way and run through Jan. 25; booth sales begin Feb. 22 and run through March 17.
Delivery: Feb. 14-21.
Cost: $4 per box.
Information: 536-5371 or on the Web at www.gswpa.org.