Do your girls jump at the chance to set up Girl Scout Cookie booths on the weekends? Or announce that one cookie order form simply isn’t enough? Or, perhaps, your girls cringe when you ask how they plan to approach potential customers?
Girls become their own bosses through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, but some, as you’ve discovered, are more excited to flex their entrepreneurial muscles than others. As a troop leader, you’ll support both competitive cookie bosses as well as apprehensive cookie bosses, but how do you get each girl to shine her brightest? Our volunteer experts share their tips and tricks for helping both types of cookie sellers flourish during cookie season.
Set weekly challenges.
Sometimes a cookie goal—whether 30 boxes or 300 boxes—might seem unreachable for some girls. Help them break down their goal by setting weekly challenges; they can motivate both the super sellers as well as any hesitant sellers.
“During cookie season, we have what I call a ‘sales meeting’ where we talk about how sales are going, and I give them a challenge for the following week,” says Chrissy Schaeffer, who leads a multi-level troop in Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania. “One week, I might challenge them to sell five boxes of cookies for Operation Sweet Appreciation for service members at home or overseas, or two boxes to a neighbor, or 15 boxes in reorders. I try to keep the challenge small so that it’s more easily accomplished. This allows for a lot of celebrations and gets the girls excited.”
Although your girls will have their individual goals, foster some team spirit by encouraging your competitive cookie bosses to share their tips and tricks with the anxious cookie bosses. The competitive ones will be excited to share their success stories and find new ways to increase their sales; your anxious ones will find inspiration in the techniques that worked for their sisters.
Get troop families involved.
Your girls’ families want to see her do well, no matter her goal. Give parents and caregivers the occasional reminder that you and the troop are there to support their girl and there’s no pressure on her to sell more boxes than she’s comfortable with. “I believe if the parents feel comfortable, then the girls will also feel comfortable and want to be successful,” says Maranda Oliver, a Cadette troop leader in Girl Scouts of Wisconsin–Badgerland.
Keep energy levels high for both driven and apprehensive cookie bosses by sharing your troop’s victories with their families! “What parent doesn’t like to see their kid’s name in print for accolades?” says Chrissy. “Each week, I send out an email update—how booth sales went the weekend prior or important dates. I also use this email to highlight individual girls’ achievements. For example, I may say something like: ‘I want to shout out to Susie for working so hard this year on the cookie program. She sold more boxes of cookies this year than she’s ever sold before.’ Notice how I didn’t say that last year she sold 35 boxes and this year so far, she’s sold 36 boxes; the fact is, she has sold more than ever before and she should be commended for it.”
Cookie booths for all.
Cookie booths offer both driven and apprehensive cookie bosses the opportunity to play different roles in a supportive space with their troop. “Our outspoken Girl Scouts shine in front of the tables, telling customers about the cookies and how their troop will use their cookie money,” explains Kat Schuknecht, a Junior troop leader in Girl Scouts Wisconsin–Badgerland. “Our quieter girls handle the money and keep the table stocked with cookies. But we always make sure all the girls take a turn in both roles. Sometimes pairing a quieter girl with a more outgoing Girl Scout sister can really help her speak up.”
Help your girls keep cookie goals in perspective.
Every girl makes her own valuable contribution to her troop’s goals. When your girls need some positive reinforcement, remind them that success looks different for everyone and it’s not tied to the number of boxes sold.
“I have those who sell in the thousands and those who are happy to get to a hundred,” explains Maranda. “Yes, the girl who is selling thousands is working hard, but it doesn’t mean that girl who is struggling to get to 200 isn’t working hard. They are in this together. Together they earn any troop rewards offered and they get to enjoy events together. Individually, they may earn trips or camp or stuffed animals, and those rewards are what push girls further. Those are earned on their own and for them to be proud of."
“In the end, the Girl Scout Cookie Program belongs to the girls," adds Kat. “Giving the girls the control to decide how they want to sell the cookies and where they're going to sell them and how many they're going to sell—and how the troop will spend the money the girls have earned—fills the girls in our troops with a lot of confidence and pride.”
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