The Cookie Program helps girls grow and learn, but the sale looks different by girl–not only from a Daisy to an Ambassador, but from Brownie to Brownie. How much responsibility (with money and cookies) should you give girls during the cookie season? This can be a difficult question, because what may be challenging for one girl is a breeze for another. Below are some general guidelines based on the Girl Scouts’ program grade levels.
Girls should always be the ones selling the cookies, adults are there for support and security. Of course, that support will vary depending upon the level of the girl. Each program grade level has financial badges and cookie business badges that will make the girls more comfortable with their business skills (and help you see where they’re at!).
No matter what level your troop is, adults will need to be present at cookie booths at all times. Adults are responsible for the money, and are the only ones who can use the PayAnywhere credit card reader. More details on the adult’s role can be found in Safety-Wise under “Product Sales Program Safety” on page 45.
It’s a good idea to have Daisies earn their Financial Literacy and Cookie Business leaves just before the Cookie Program begins. This will give you an idea of how well they can identify dollars and coins. Daisies should be able to tell the customer the price of a package of cookies, and know which varieties they are selling. Show them that the varieties are listed on the order card, or, if at a booth, have them help set up the display of boxes. Daisies should be taking money from the customer and handing it to the adult to make change. They can also deliver change back to the customer, if applicable. At cookie booths, it’s a good idea to have one adult per Daisy. Pro-tip: Depending on the girl, a two-hour cookie booth may be too long, so consider rotating girls from your troop after about an hour.
Brownies should be able to total the amount due for the customer and calculate change, in most cases. It may take some teamwork to calculate totals, but they will get there! Brownies should be able to identify if a check is filled out correctly. They should be letting the customer know how much their purchase is, taking the money from the customer, and handing it to the adult responsible for the money. The adult volunteer can then work with the Brownie on calculating the change needed, which the Brownie can hand back to the customer.
Juniors should be calculating what is owed and what change is due. They should be able to track their sales and start tracking their inventory with an adult’s help. At booths, Juniors can bring the money to the cash box, which is managed by the adult volunteer. They should be able to make change under the careful supervision of the adult. You will need to make sure the girls take turns and only one girl is at the cash box at a time to avoid confusion and the mishandling of money.
Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors
Older Girl Scouts should be fully in charge of the sale. These girls should be taking care of all transactions and keeping track of inventory. Adults should oversee the girls during the Cookie Program and provide guidance as necessary. They are not required to be with girls at all types of sales, but must be aware of how, when, and where the girls are selling product and be available either in person or by phone. Girls should not be walking around with large amounts of money, and money should be turned in regularly to the supervising adult for deposit. Safety-Wise still applies: girls should also be using the buddy system when selling door-to-door. Cookie booths still require an adult presence, but you can stay in the background and let the girls work their magic!
Participating in the Cookie Program is an exciting time and a great learning experience for the girls. You’ll be able to watch your Girl Scouts grow in confidence, business savvy, and money handling abilities over just a few weeks. Remember that each girl is different and you know your girls best, so while these are general guidelines, you may need to adjust for your troop.
Kathryn Klos-Pierson – Kathryn lives in Eden Prairie with her Girl Scout Junior, her husband, and her pet rabbit, Rico. She is the troop leader to 14 first-year Juniors. Her favorite Girl Scout activities are teaching girls how to be creative and how to appreciate outdoors (even if you’re not a camp director!). Kathryn is a manager in the Product Program department at River Valleys. One of her favorite activities is decorating for the holidays—especially Halloween!