The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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December 30, 2013

Girl Scout cookie sales get underway this week

JOHNSTOWN — Building girls of courage, confidence and character – one cookie at a time. Girl Scout cookie sales will begin Friday and continue through Jan. 24.

Lisa Shade, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania public relations manager in Edinboro, Erie County, said a cookie rally will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Portage Volunteer Fire Company, 721 Main St.

“Cookie rallies are where Girl Scouts gear up for the season,” Slade said. “They feature activities to help them hone their marketing skills – setting goals, learning important safety tips and practicing their sales pitches. They also get to sample cookies.”

There are eight varieties of cookies, which are priced at $4 a box.

The cookie lineup is the same as last year: Thin Mints, the most popular cookie, peppermint covered in chocolate; 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 milk 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.

Shade said the Girl Scouts do have a pilot program for gluten-free cookies, but they are not yet available in this council.

Girls will turn in their initial orders Jan. 24, but will still be able to take cookie orders after that date.

After area girls do their initial sales, cookies will be available for purchase at the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania’s Johnstown office, 612 Locust St., from Feb. 21 through March 16.

Customers also can purchase cookies from Scouts who set up sales booths in local shopping malls, grocery stores and department stores, also from Feb. 21 through March 16.

Those still looking for a place to buy cookies during booth sales can use their iPhone or Android smartphone and the cookie locator application.

Cookies will be delivered Feb. 13-20.

Operation: Sweet Appreciation was a new addition to the annual cookie program last year.

Through donations made to Operation: Sweet Appreciation, more than 30,000 boxes of cookies were sent to veterans and men and women serving at home and overseas in the U.S. military.

In 2014, donations will be collected online from Feb. 7 to May 26 at gswpa.org/military.

Anyone donating online can choose a specific Girl Scout troop or individually registered girl to benefit from the donation.

Cookies purchased with the donations from this program will be shipped directly from Little Brownie Bakers to military troops serving overseas.

Funds raised through the cookie program help pay for many aspects of Girl Scouting, including keeping camp affordable by subsidizing the registration cost; supporting the Girl Scout leadership experience, which includes girl programming, curriculum and events; and providing grants to girls and troops with financial barriers so scouting is available to all girls.

Girls also earn proceeds for their individual troop, which are used for troop activities and service projects within their communities.

More than simply selling cookies, girls learn important skills such as goal setting, money management, decision making, people skills and business ethics from the program – skills they can use throughout their lives to help them excel, exceed and lead.

“Cookies open doors for western Pennsylvania girls in so many ways,” said Patricia Burkart, CEO of Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania. “Not only does the program teach important financial skills, it also funds many life-changing experiences for girls through camps, travel and programs.”

Ruth Rice covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at Twitter.com/RuthRiceTD.

Rally time

What: Girl Scout cookie rally.

When: 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Portage Volunteer Fire Company, 721 Main St.

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