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Op-Ed: Yes, we have Thin Mints…and entrepreneurial skills and STEM programs

It’s that delicious time of the year — Girl Scout cookie season is here! This time around, you can expect things to be a little different, but our girls are ready to tackle the challenges of COVID-19 and embrace new ways of doing cookie business.

Most of us know it as the Cookie Program, but it is actually the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program globally. In Puerto Rico, hundreds of girls from kindergarteners to high school seniors get their taste of the business world every year by creating a business plan and budget, planning sales and marketing strategies, and talking with real customers. 

For the 2021 season, they are learning a new skill: online sales. The Digital Cookie app had a soft launch last year, but with COVID-19, it became clear that we had to make a big push for it. Today, over 200 girls in Puerto Rico have their Girl Scout cookies e-stores, and with only a few weeks online have sold more than 2,700 boxes.

You can still expect to see pop-up cookie booths at the mall and other establishments, where Girl Scouts and their families will follow strict safety protocols and social distance. Our girls are experts at adapting to challenging circumstances. In the past few years, they’ve dealt with and supported each other through hurricanes, earthquakes, and a pandemia. I am confident they are ready for a safe cookie season.

Beyond entrepreneurial skills, the cookie program also provides an opportunity to learn other essential life skills: decision-making, financial literacy, goal-setting, interpersonal communication and business ethics. 

People often ask where the money from the cookie sales go. The answer is simple: 100% of the profits stay in Puerto Rico to support Girl Scout troops and services for them. The girls decide what to do with their earnings, and they usually invest them in community projects and learning experiences that impact their communities. The troops are strong supporters of animal shelters and elderly centers, among other organizations.

Author Marie Custodio-Collazo, is a Board member of the Caribe Girl Scouts Council.

When you buy Girl Scout cookies, you are also helping the Caribe Council keep programs affordable. This means that girls can develop life skills; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) knowledge; entrepreneurial abilities; and leadership, no matter their families’ financial situation.

There are over 100 active troops in Puerto Rico covering all Girl Scout levels: Daisy (K-1st grade); Brownie (2nd-3rd); Junior (4th- 5th); Cadette (6th- 8th); Senior (9th- 10th); and Ambassador (11th- 12th). The volunteers who run these troops are amazing and committed to encouraging girls to become leaders in whatever they want to do in life.

The pop-up cookie booths’ calendar and locations will be available in our social media pages @CaribeGirlScoutsCouncil on Facebook and @girl_scouts_puerto_rico on Instagram. You can also contact us through our pages or call the council during business hours (787) 721-5771, if you would like us to direct you to a troop selling cookies near you.  

When you get your Thin Mints and Samoas, this season, remember that they are more than cookies. They are an investment in Puerto Rico’s girls and future leaders.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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