“Anyone want to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” junior Sasha Gordon asks passersby as they enter and exit the Orinda Safeway. A woman stops to buy two boxes of Thin Mints, adding to the more than 200 million boxes sold each year by Girl Scouts across the country. Along with Gordon, juniors Heather Ahmann, Erica Stephan, and Claire McCullough make up the local Orinda troop.
But these Miramonte girls are only one small part of a much larger unit. Nationwide, there are about 1.9 million girls and 800,000 adults involved, making them “2.7 million strong,” according to the Girl Scout’s website. There are several threads that unite these groups—a commitment to community service, developing leadership skills and strong character for girls, and the sale of those addictive cookies.
According to Business Insider, each year the Girl Scouts of America rake in an average of $800 million from cookie sales. “My favorite cookies are Samoas, but some of the more underrated good cookies are the Do-si-dos and Savannah Smiles,” McCullough said.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that there is much more to being a Girl Scout than selling cookies. “Girl Scouts put in just as much, if not more work than Boy Scouts, and to get the gold award it takes years of work and hundreds of hours,” Ahmann said.
Ahmann, Gordon, Stephan, and McCullough’s troop (troop 33120) was started while they were in elementary school and is led by Ahmann’s mother with assistance from other parents. It is composed of five members, four of which go to Miramonte. The very first girl scout troop was started in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, Georgia after she met with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts. With only 18 girls in the first troop, the Girl Scouts of America grew from humble beginnings into a nationwide network of girls ranging from ages five to 17 with the overall goal to create “the next generation of female leaders” Gordon said.
Within the Lamorinda community, these girls have helped a lot. “For my most recent project, I’m going to try and put backpack hooks in the thirty’s hall bathroom, since it’s super gross to have to put your backpack on the ground in there,” Ahmann said. Aside from philanthropic measures, the Girl Scouts participate in many outdoor activities. “We do the cool stuff too! We go hiking, camping, and learn wilderness skills just like Boy Scouts,” McCollough said. “The community and being able to go out and help people with your friends is a really good thing to be a part of, I think.”
One of the larger parts of being a Girl Scout in high school is the community service projects. The highest honors a Girl Scout can earn are the gold, silver, and bronze awards. The gold is the equivalent of the Eagle Scout, and it’s generally accomplished in your junior or senior year. The silver award is achieved in freshman or sophomore year, and bronze is attained in grades five through seven.