Petal Girl Scout troops taking bite out of cookie salesBy BETH BUNCH,
Don’t think that Girls Scouts are just about cookie sales. In Petal, troops have held everything from coat drives to tree plantings and one local troop, Troop 3890, is in the process of helping restore the Petal Dog Park, which was destroyed in the January 2017 tornado. They also have plans to establish a Little Free Library at the site.
But this time of year it is all about the cookies and cookie sales, which is the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program for girls in the world. While individual “door-to-door” sales have been conducted, on weekends you’ll find Petal Girl Scouts from seven different troops spread out across the Pine Belt selling their wares. Troop 6025, a troop made up of older girls, is not selling cookies this year.
Patrons can feast on eight different flavors –Samoas, Trefoils, Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos and Savannah Smiles, which are all $4 a box and S’mores and Toffee-Tastic, a gluten free cookie, which both sell for $5 a box.
In this area, Samoas, a crisp cookie coated in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut, and striped with dark chocolaty coating, are the best seller, according to Jennifer Rothert, a former troop leader/service unit manager, who now serves as a membership specialist for the Greater Hattiesburg area. “We probably sell twice as many of those as other cookie flavors,” she said.
Last year the Petal Scouts sold 25,116 boxes and with just one weekend of selling under their sash, they’ve sold 20,677.
“They are well on track to surpass last year’s goal,” said Rothert.
Erica Williams’ troop, No. 3874, is the largest troop in Petal with 22 girls. Last year the troop sold about 6,000 boxes.
“We hope to meet our goal, if not exceed it this year,” she said, noting that weekend booth sales were big. Williams said her niece sold 1,300 boxes last year and hopes to meet or exceed that number this year. Troop member Ella Parker sold more than 750 boxes last year and her goal is between 900 and 1,000 boxes this year.
Troops will be at Lowe’s, Walmart and Corner Market in the Friendly City, as well as smaller venues in Petal through the weekend of March 11 selling cookies. Petal troops will also be selling at Hattiesburg locations, including Walmart and grocery stores.
But if you have a hard time running down a box or two of cookies, don’t despair. In this day of technology, there’s a Girl Scout Cookie Locator app which lets you find cookies on sale close to you. The app allows you to use your phone’s GPS location to find cookies nearby or find cookies by zip code, city or state.
Each troop receives about 63 cents per box of cookies which goes back into the troop and all money is kept within the local council.
The money is used by some troops for girls to attend Scout camp in the summer as well as to give back to their community through donations.
Rothert said troops have given money to both the Petal Children’s Task Force and the animal shelter. “They’ve also taken angels off the Salvation Army angel tree at Christmas and purchased gifts for children,” she said.
New troops form as new members join, explained Rothert. “New troops allow girls to start their Scout journey together and not get put into the mix of girls that are further along in their Scouting journey. “Girls who join and are placed together can experience the Scout journey as a collective group rather than as an individual journey.
And while Girl Scouts may not have their name out in the public as much as they once did, Rothert said the presence of Scouts in the community has grown. For those interested in more information about becoming a Girl Scout or in the program, visit the Scout website at gsgms.org.