They come in different shapes and flavors, but every American refer to it by one name: Girl Scout cookies. They are named after Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), whose members sell these baked goods to homes across the country to raise funds.
Cookies and the Girl Scouts have a long history together, dating back in 1917 when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, sold the cookies they baked in a high school cafeteria. Years later, the organization suggested cookie sales as a fund raiser and other troops and councils picked up on the idea.
The girl scouts are given prizes if they are able to sell certain number of boxes. These prizes range from stuffed animals to Girl Scout camp credits. In some councils, that number adds up to the troop total, which uses the sales from these cookies for trips or other expensive activities. This type of funding raising teaches the scouts valuable skills in planning, teamwork, finance, organization, communication, and goal setting.
The girl scouts used to sell these cookies door-to-door, but a growing concern for their safety has prompted some troops to put up cookie booths instead, where the scouts sell the cookies in a public area under the supervision of an adult troop leader. Some councils even offer the option for customers to sponsor boxes of cookies that will be sent to servicemen and women. As of 2007, about 200 million boxes were sold every year.
As of this posting, there are about 28 different varieties of Girl Scout cookies available. Some varieties go by different names, depending on the company that makes them. The most popular cookies include Thin Mints (thin, mint-flavored chocolate wafers dipped in a chocolate coating); Samoas (vanilla cookies coated in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut and laced with chocolate stripes); Tagalongs (crispy vanilla cookies layered with peanut butter and covered with a chocolate coating); and Trefoils (traditional shortbread cookie made in the shape of the Girl Scout trefoil).
So the next time a girl scout asks you to buy some cookies, buy some. You are giving them much more than the cost of these cookies, such as confidence, kindness, and happiness.