Girl Scouts help girls learn important skills

The Girl Scout experience not only helps girls dream big about their futures, but also provides the skills to help them achieve their dreams.

According to a new report by the Girl Scout Research Institute, girls feel optimistic about their financial futures, yet are less than fully knowledgeable about essential financial principles.

The study reveals that nine in 10 girls (90 percent) say it is important for them to learn how to manage money, and 88 percent say that it is important to set financial goals. Girls are quite clear that they want and need financial literacy skills to be successful.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is one way Girl Scouts helps girls build their business sense and hone their financial literacy skills. Girl Scout Cookies are among the most well-known brands in the world, but few know about the important skills girls learn from the program: goal setting, money management, decision making, people skills, and business ethics.

These are skills that girls use throughout their lives to help them excel, exceed and lead. No university has produced as many female business owners as the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

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

To prepare for the program-which kicks off the first week in January-Warren Girl Scouts will gather at a special Cookie Rally at St. Paul Lutheran Church on Dec. 29.

“We’ve made this event educational, so girls can be more confident going into cookie season,” said Jodi Holland, Warren Girl Scout volunteer. “They learn the skills they need while they are having fun with their friends.”

Nearly 80 girls are expected to attend the rally, which features several stations for girls to explore different skills needed for a successful sale.

At the Goal Setting station, girls will not only identify how many boxes of cookies they want to sell and what they plan to do with the proceeds, they will also learn how to communicate their goals to potential customers. The girls make and wear buttons that display their goals.

Other stations include the Marketing and Selling Skills, Money Management, and Product Knowledge. Through fun activities at each station, girls will learn how to interact with customers, make a sales pitch, count money and make change, and know each cookie’s main ingredients.

Girls even have fun while learning important safety rules. “We teach safety rules through a really fun bingo game,” said Holland. “It’s important they know how to stay safe while selling cookies, so we make it fun to make certain they learn the rules.”

Girl Scouts in the Warren region begin selling cookies January 3, 2014.

If you miss ordering your cookies from a Girl Scout in January – or if you eat all your cookies right away – you have a second chance to stock up on your favorites.

Beginning Friday, February 21, 2014, Girl Scouts will be selling cookies outside of stores and at local events to help reach their goals for this year’s Cookie Program.

Customers can visit www.girlscoutcookies.org to find booth sale locations and maps by zip code beginning Feb. 21.

They can also use their iPhones or Android smartphones to find the booth sale closest to them. The Cookie LocatorTM app is available in the App Store and Android Market.