The Cookie Club? is an interactive, online cookie business for girls. The password-protected website teaches girls about goals, tracks progress, and allows girls to send e-cards to friends and families. Customers use an online order form to submit their "promised" cookie order that is automatically recorded on girls' Cookie Club? account order pages.
While there are now formal resources in place to help girls market and track their cookie businesses via social media, the girls will continue to meet customers, take orders, and manage the financial transactions which enable them to learn important life skills at the same time.
"We realize that social media is the way youth communicate today. The Cookie Club amplifies the Girl Scout Cookie Program lessons of setting goals; developing action plans to reach those goals; working together as a team and cultivating a sense of business ethics," said Maria Wynne, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
"Additionally, Girl Scouts build confidence by developing public speaking and interpersonal communication skills. Girls learn about money management, marketing and customer service in fun and memorable ways. This experience lasts a lifetime," Wynne said.
This year's Girl Scout Cookie Program kicks off on Jan. 8 at Allstate Arena, with several thousand girls gathering to learn the basics of money management, product marketing, interacting with customers, and goal setting. Girls from all 245 communities that are part of the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana council will accept pre-orders for Girl Scout Cookies Jan. 9 - 23, 2011, and will be offering cookies for immediate purchase during booth sales Feb. 18 - March 20, 2011. Customers will be able to select from eight varieties: Thank U Berry Munch, Samoas, Thin Mints, Trefoils, Tagalongs, Do-si-does, Lemon Chalet Cremes, and Dulce de Leche.
Customers are encouraged to visit www.girlscoutcookies.org to connect to local Girl Scouts who are selling cookies in their area.
"It's not unusual for me to talk to women in leadership positions who proudly admit they had their first real-world experience in business when they sold Girl Scout Cookies. That tells me we're providing valuable experiences that will enable girls to fill all important leadership roles in the future," Wynne commented.
A portion of the proceeds also goes directly to the troop level where girls decide how to spend it, thus further encouraging goal-setting and leadership abilities. Many local Girl Scouts also participate in the Gift of Caring program, a service project in which troops decide which organization in their community they would like to help and then ask customers to purchase and donate boxes of cookies that the troop will deliver to the organization.
It started in 1917 as a simple way for a group of Girl Scouts in Oklahoma to finance their local activities. More than 90 years later, hundreds of thousands of girls ages 5-17 engage in what has become one of the nation's premier financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs.
For generations of girls, the Girl Scout Cookie® Program has fostered a sense of personal and collective empowerment. It gives girls of all ages the opportunity to practice basic skills they will use throughout their lives, including money management and goal-setting. Participation ultimately furthers the Girl Scout Mission which is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
Profits from the sale of each $4 box of cookies help the council recruit and train new volunteers; update experienced volunteers; offer council-wide program events and outdoor experiences; maintain council properties; pay for printed materials and postage; provide support for nearly 86,000 girls; and offer financial assistance to girls from economically disadvantages areas. All profits are used locally.
About Girl ScoutsFounded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with 3.4 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana impacts the lives of nearly 86,000 girls and 23,000 adult members in 245 communities in six Illinois counties (Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kankakee, Lake, and Will) and four Indiana counties (Jasper, Lake, Newton, and Porter). For more information, visit www.girlscoutsgcnwi.org.