by Ross Williams
Troop 65019 was created in December of 2019 with a handful of friends rallying a dozen kindergarteners, with big plans and high hopes. Troop leader Shelly Williams was excited for the group of girls to create lifelong friendships, discover new experiences and to provide them with the tools needed to grow and excel in an ever changing world. “It was a tough start, but we had amazing and committed moms and eager scouts. We hit the ground running.” That was until COVID happened.
The rookie troop moved most of their meetings online for the majority of 2020, continuing their work and learning about the world of community service, creating environmental projects and earning badges via zoom chats on computer screens. As time progressed they slowly began to meet in person, finding new adventures while keeping them outside. Their focus was on wilderness conservation, eco systems and adjusting to the new ways of the world. Learning how to make a difference, even with the boundaries placed before them was a top priority. ”I think I was more saddened for them, and all that had been stripped away. Having to continually say how this plan or goal had to be changed or tweaked due to COVID rules and social distancing. But they didn’t flinch, it showed their resilience, their optimism and taught me just how brave and tough a group of 6-year-olds can truly be.” Said Shelly as she unloaded a trunk full of Girl Scout cookies readying for a new season.
One very large aspect of being a Girl Scout is “Cookie Season.” And that first year their season was cut short. Cookie Season is 3 months of cookie selling madness. From booths in front of local grocery stores, to walking door to door throughout the neighborhood, the girls do their best to raise the funds that they’ll use the rest of the year and build deep connections to their community. “Walking door to door is my favorite part because we get to meet neighbors and hear their stories about Girl Scouts in the olden days and talk to them. Sometimes we get to pet their dogs”. Says the youngest Daisy scout in the Troop.
The girls learn money management, entrepreneurship and people skills, just to name a few. “We have yet to begin Cookie Booths this year, but witnessing them boothing each year has been a favorite part of mine personally. It’s just so amazing to have seen them grow and progress, and the confidence they exude is what Girl Scouts is about. These girls have me in awe all the time.” Says Shelly as she stacks boxes of Thin Mints and Lemonades. “When boothing, the girls are together and feed off of each other’s energy. They get so excited about the process, and genuinely enjoy every bit of it. From unloading to stacking, restocking, helping supporters with their cookie choices, giving change and packing up. They’re doing it all and it’s a party.” Boothing sessions are allocated to different troops at different times and different days. It’s all very organized and systematic. A troop can’t just show up to a shop and set up a booth, they have to be approved.
The hottest cookies every year are the Caramel Delights and of course Thin Mints. “Thin Mints are delicious frozen, crushed and sprinkled over ice cream.” Shelly suggests. This year due to inflation, the cost of cookies went up a dollar a box to $6 each. The troop has no control over costs, and has seen a raised eyebrow or two over the increased costs. But they’re pushing through and pushing those delicious cookies anyway.
“Just remember that it’s absolutely ok to not buy cookies. But a positive word of encouragement goes a long way. A Girl Scout is more than cookies. It’s service, it’s community, it’s effort and kindness. It’s a lifelong bond. It’s not a cookie hustle. It’s for the greater good. And you’ll never hear one of our scouts discouraged if you choose to pass, they will still thank you and wish you a great day”.
Shelly has two daughters, both a Brownie and a Daisy.
For cookie sales, donations and community activity opportunities contact Shelly at [email protected] or you can use the attached QR code.