Thursday, December 17, 2015

~ How to Survive Girl Scout Cookie Season ~ {For and By Leaders}

I am a girl scout leader- but you knew that!
You want Thin Mints or Samoas, or Tagalongs? Awesome, got those.
You can easily order from me. :)

But do you know the work that goes behind it?
Did you know the break down of what troops (the girls) get from that?
Do you know how much work goes into doing a successful cookie season?

You see the girls standing outside with their signs, but did you know that they have warming pods in their gloves waiting for you to buy cookies from them?

Did you know that the girls more often than not have incredibly dedicated leaders who are teaching them how to make change, be a good businesswoman, but they do not get paid or often shown appreciation for what they do for their girls? But you can bet that they are right there with their girls wanting to break last year's goal and wanting to go camping or hiking with them.

Next time you see a girl scout leader, thank her!


If your daughter is in girl scouts, give her leader praise- she likely volunteers 10-30 hours a week easily. Ok not all, but I do, and then on top of it cookie season becomes a full time job.

I am SO thankful this year I have Erin, Mayra, Jen to name a few that are going to be part of my 2015-2016 Cookie Rock Star Crew.

So I asked a few of my fellow leaders from around the nation: How do you survive cookie season and here are some of their responses:



Wendy Roehr Martin I give the whole thing to my Co-cookie parents and just do what I'm told. I do so many other things for our girls and the parents are perfectly competent and capable of taking care of it without me. Some of them probably more so!

Lee Anne Garland Wine. Lots of wine.

Dana Lee Topper Freezer crock pot meals, and wine.

Vicki Oliver Booze and lots of it wink emoticon oh and chocolate and a hot bath where you lock yourself in and no kids allowed to enter

Beth-spike Seabaugh I keep a binder, sectioned per troop. Each troop coordinator fills out a contact sheet which includes phone, email, troop level, alternate troop contact etc. Included is a checklist I use for things getting done. Initial order, recognition order, 5 cent option, and any other items which need to be completed. Great to have all info at my fingertips. I set each troop coordinator login and tell them not to change, giving them specific information for setting troop logins.
I have a separate email account for them to use during the cookie program so all communication is in one spot. If they text me I send the text to the email too.
As the program progresses I keep copies of all initial orders, updated troop summaries and recognition orders.
I set all booth locations, dates and time slots using a spreadsheet. When a troop books a booth o then upload it to SNAP so customers can find the booth.
Utilize mass emails alot to keep all informed about delivery information and any other items that need to be shared.
Communication is key!!


Beth-spike Seabaugh Never give out a cookie order card without getting a filled out permission slip first.
Set concrete deadlines....a couple days prior to the council ones...there is ALWAYS those one or two parents who don't believe the deadline was for them.
Have FUN!! Remember, it's all for the girls and teaching them life skills. Smile at the booths no matter how cold it is.


Nicholas Preston Letter with all the important dates & information to all the troop cookie managers & a separate letter for parents so no one can say they didn't know when they were supposed to have something done or turned in by; spreadsheets; save ALL emails from troop cookie managers; write up explaining Ebudde & digital cookie step by step; giving each TCM a copy of the parent permission form & Internet safety pledge that has to be signed & a large glass of wine once everyone has left!!

Traci Born On the troop level... I set serious boundaries, especially on my time. With my own daughter... "ask grandma to take you door to door. mommy needs just 15 minutes. Alone. Without mention of cookies. PLEASE!" Or, my personal favorite "Oh, you want to go door to door at 9 AM on a monday? tell me how we can turn it into a school lesson for both you AND your brothers and we will." That last one buys me 15 minutes of peace as she figures it out then another 20 minutes as she convinces her brothers it will be "fun" to help lug the cookies around. LOL

And a countdown calendar to last day...


Angie Thomas McDonald Get on here when needed among some of the other suggestions and be really organized and only work on cookie stuff during scheduled time for it

Sandy Hunt If this is your first cookie season- take it slow. Get parents involved. Don't do it all by yourself. Get parents involved. Talk to your parents and the girls before setting troop goals to see how much your parents are planning on selling and if they are going to be involved at all.

Jennifer Ellnor Harris For dealing with parents, delivery, & $ - Receipt book(s) and insist parents recount their cookies before taking them. Keeps books (website) right and eliminates disputes over delivery mistakes.
For booth sales - positive attitude, bribes (with my littles), and lots of patience (with my bigs on cash drawer, and parents)


Elizabeth Killion Davis I just did a training session for my new cookie moms in our SU. My biggest tip is to ALWAYS give yourself wiggle room. If money is due on a certain day, make it due to you a week before. This goes with anything. There will always be one parent you feel like you need to chase down. This gives you a cushion and makes things less stressful.

Sue Burton I buy a composition book and write EVERYTHING there. Yes, I also keep a full receipt book. I record who was at a booth sale, when I deposit and get money from parents, cupboard pickups, everything. It makes it easier to track all of it because I have more room to write it out.

Brenda Clause Shuff WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN!!!!! and RECEIPT EVERYTHING! And I've found this to work best for me--I do not ask parents to give me their girls' order forms. They text or email the initial orders with total of each cookie and total of all varieties. I keep a copy of each email or text, snapshot it, print it out and that is what I bring to cookie pick up so there is no mistake about what they turned in. It makes initial order so much easier.

Vicki Oliver I've had parents who never seem to add their daughters cookie orders up right though. they are almost always off by a good 5-10 boxes. I require them to give me their cookie sheets so that I can double check totals

Brenda Clause Shuff As our troop has grown so much, there is no way I want to count 86 cookie order forms, so it is up to the parents and if they get it wrong, well, it's wrong. Last year our initial order was 5,000+ boxes. I would be a crazier woman than I am now! LOL

Vicki Oliver I always set up for early drop off of order forms. I say I'll be home all weekend prior to our usual Monday meeting. some parents drop them off early while some drop them off at our Monday meeting. I went from 8 girls to 18 girls this year. I was also putting cookie orders in the day I got home from having my son. that was totally not fun but my parents all put them in a box out front and didn't thing the doorbell. I had 5 days to get all orders into the computer so it worked out. I plan on doing the same thing this year.

Marah Garry Walsh We love the excitement and energy of cookie season. Getting together at booths is a great way to spend time with each other in a more casual environment than a meeting setting. Now managing the cold is another story. Hot chocolate, warmers, etc.

Monique Musilek Uttecht Take care of myself too! Don't over do it and get yourself sick. Ask for parent help. When it's all over treat yourself to spa day if you can afford it. I get monthly massages and I am going to schedule them for the beginning of booth season and the end!

Traci Born We start our sales with cookies in hand, so after watching last year (last years leader collected money twice... Both times right before bank sweeps and both times she had to chase parents down) I decided that after initial orders get distributed, if Suzy's mom calls and says "we need another case of Thin Mints", they have to turn in money for the first case they got. I'll be doing less chasing down this way. Which means less stress on me.

Heather Pardoe Ren a hugmongous bottle of wine gets me through. oh and by the way, i don't drink


Mary Basile I try and remember why the troop is selling cookies. The money is nice, but the real reason is the experience for the girls. Setting and achieving goals is important and very good, but there are also lessons to be learned in failure and disappointment. Cookie season is not a reason to go crazy & a stuffed cow/hedge hog/cheetah (even an all expense paid trip to Chicago) is not worth disrupting my entire life.

Ginger N Derek Greer I do a spreadsheet
(And have my sister double check. She is a accountant) and keep a notebook because you never know when something may happen to computer.


Gayla Rogers One day at a time!

Elizabeth Clark Watch the money like you're a sentry guarding the crown jewels and trust no one.

Fae Hamby I start with 3 bottles of wine white , red and rose'. Depending on the crisis I like to be sure I have the correct wine needed.

Amy Oliver Last year I ran myself to death. We ate crappy fast food and I added so much to my schedule w/o letting go of other things. I got sick and felt not myself all the rest of the year. This year my theme is going to be self care. Before booths start loading up on fresh fruits and veggies and frozen meals.. I have asked my co teacher in Sunday School to lead and am taking every other Sunday off from teaching, I am asking a parent and 1 co leader to do the "social" activity for the month. We are going to do our Journey and so I am going to farm out some of those meetings to others. I can do it all, but not it all at the same time. Self Care

Angela Wright Barker Knowing I am getting a chocolate cream pie from my favorite bakery at the end.

Stephanie Cohen I have a C/S/A age troop. We have 2 girls with birthdays that fall during the start of cookie season (1/30 & 1/31). We've bought them "its my birthday" buttons and a tiara to wear at booths that fall on their bdays (it does this year & both will be 18...sigh). The other girls in the troop let them have 1st pick of booths for that day & both girls pair up. We do make sure they have time to celebrate. Its been their thing for so long both are marking all their "lasts" this year & they are planning an "over the top" season (I don't know whether to be proud, scared or anxious!!!)

Katrina Degeler I sit my family down and explain the commitment. It's hard on them when everything is about cookies for 2 months. Also tt your girls and families and see how many booths they want/can do. Last yr my troop of 7 did 11 booth sales (alot for our area) where In previous yrs they only did 2-3 so it was a big commitment....but the troop is able to cover vests/badges/field trips $100 , no dues, and 60% cost of 3 large events. My parents prefer to put in the extra time helping rather than pay out of pocket. Each troop is different.

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