Cookie season may be over, but the lessons that girls learn remain. More than 1 million girls take part in this annual tradition, racking up $790 million in cookie sales through the world’s largest girl-run business. Last year, one enterprising Girl Scout set a personal goal for herself and managed to achieve it! Olivia Ottenfeld is a 15-year-old Senior from Chicago who used social media and other networking methods to sell 2,012 boxes in honor of the Girl Scout centennial in 2012. To celebrate, she used some of the $8,000 total she brought in to travel to the birthplace of Girl Scouting in Savannah, Georgia. The rest of the money went toward various service projects that her troop was working on.
Now, Olivia has written an article for the Huffington Post teen blog in which she shares how the Cookie Program has helped groom her for the future. With 10 years of Girl Scouting under her sash, Olivia says that selling cookies has helped her work on her decision-making, math, money, and people skills. “The Girl Scout Cookie Program is not really about the cookies,” she writes, “but about all of the life skills girls learn as part of the program.”
Seniors who earn their Financing My Future and Buying Power Financial Literacy badges and understand the 5 Skills gain important aspects of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. But Olivia took these skills and put them into action. She applied what she learned to her cookie business by making sales pitches via Facebook and setting up a booth in Chicago’s bustling Union Station. Her hard work paid off, and in the process she got better at managing her money from babysitting, meeting deadlines, and understanding others. Olivia is currently prepping her Gold Award project, which deals with epilepsy awareness, and hopes to present it this month. “I tell people that Girl Scout Cookies taste good…and they can do good,” she adds. That is the sweetest reward.