Are they made from real girl scouts?

On my way to my office the other day, I got stopped by one of our fine warehouse employees with a magical piece of paper in his hand. It seems that his 6-year-old is getting into scouting, and it’s that time of year when the cookies get sold. Does the concept of girl scout cookies seem odd to anyone else? I guess it’s supposed to teach girls about business and how important it is to meet your neighbors by knocking on their doors and tempting them with baked goods. (But not the green house with the shades pulled down and the weeds in the lawn. Never the green house, kids.) But really, giving your dad the form and having him accost his co-workers, what does that teach you?

I also have to admit that I have a little bitterness about the whole girl scout thing. That’s because I have a natural inclination towards spending time in the outdoors, collecting badges, wearing brown, and closing the deal on a huge cookie sale. But when it came time for me to sign up for scouting in first grade, there was a hitch. There was no line to be had. For whatever terrible reason, no mothers of the girls in my class would volunteer to be our troop leader, and therefore there was no scouting for us. This happened year after year after year. In school, I’d see the younger girls all happy with their sashes and badges and the older girls all smug with the knowledge that they were going camping and on their way to a fulfilling life including marriage to an Eagle Scout and a career in needlepoint, quilting, or beadmaking, depending on which badge they earned.  But for me, there would be no uniform, to badges, no reason to leave class early every second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

When my little sister came up through the ranks, her grade had a mother who was ready, willing, and able to be in charge of their troop. I think that mother wanted to be in scouting as badly as I did. Let me just iterate how deeply unfair this was. My sister and I are similar in some ways, and very different in others. For instance, she hates the outdoors, she doesn’t care about collecting badges, she wears bright colors, and she wasn’t driven to be the best darn little cookie salesperson on the block. Not that she didn’t try, it’s just that she didn’t want it badly enough to gain the competitive edge by sabotaging her fellow troop members. (I totally would have.) Every time she came home from a troop meeting with a new badge and just threw her sash on the kitchen table like it was no big deal, I died a little inside. I think I even sewed some of the badges on for her because I got a vicarious thrill, and also to prove that I was a better seamstress and therefore more qualified to be a scout.

I eventually grew to tolerate the situation for two reasons.  One was that while my mother was legitimately too busy to be our troop mother, she did have enough time to organize the cookie drive. That meant that all the cookies sold by SisterAlyson’s troop were delivered to our house and distributed from there. Our dining room held cases of Trefoils, Tagalongs, Thin Mints and the ever beloved Samoa. And man, did it smell good in there. I also given the job to organize each girl’s order, which made me feel like I was contributing to the cause in some small way.

The other thing was that I started going to summer camp every year where I spent seven weeks earning beads (like a badge, but made of wood and worn like a necklace) for doing things like archery, water skiing, swimming, windsurfing, arts & crafts and street hockey, which are so much cooler than needlepoint. Also, I got to wear lots of navy blue and khaki, and I even got to sleep in real tents, which the girl scouts didn’t get to do until their late teens. Sadly, camp afforded me no opportunity to sell cookies, so I’d have to wait until that magical time in the late winter when my sister’s girl scout troop became active again and I could participate in scouting in some small way.

If you’re like me, and you hate having to wait all year for cookies that are so much better than anything you can buy in a store, here’s a link for you: Make Your Own Girl Scout Cookies. I think you need to have a lot of time and kitchen talent to make these well, but if you’re not lucky enough to work with the parent of a scout or have a mother who will volunteer to be your damn leader, and you crave coconut caramel chocolate goodness, this is the site for you. Now pardon me while I sit tight and wait for my Thin Mints to arrive.

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23 responses to this post.

  1. Yum! Those cookies look good…But I am probably too lazy to make them. I like quick recipes these days.

    You should volunteer to be a Troop leader! The only thing better than being a Girl Scout is leading the Girl Scouts…I think. I was never a Scout, either. Hubby was a Boy Scout, and he didn’t like it much.

    Wow, I never thought of being a troop leader. I bet it would be fun. I would actively have to work out my bitterness, first.

  2. My dad refused to take the cookie sheet into work because he didn’t want his employees to feel obligated to buy cookies. Boo!

    I am sorry you couldn’t be in scouts! I think we had two scout leaders plus two assistant scout leaders. We should have lent some of our mom-power to your school.

    Yeah, my parents wouldn’t bring it to the store, which I think is a valid point. I would have liked to have had a mid-western scout mom!

  3. That’s sad. You should have just started your own organization, leader-free. The Little Communists of America. Or Maybe Little Anarchists of America would be more appropriate given your ungoverned state.

    I went to a girl scout meeting once. It wasn’t all that great aside from the novelty of being the only guy there, a situation I find myself in all too often.

    See what happens when girls can’t scout? They become communists.

  4. Did you hear the blasphemy? They changed some of the names of the cookies this year. They are no longer Samoas, now they are Caramel deLites. Insane!

    As long as they taste the same, that’s all that matters to me. And I think the word “lite” has no place in a Samoa.

  5. Now I feel guilty that we always had a surfeit of moms. Each patrol had two.

    And we did go door-to-door for our cookie sales. My goal was always to sell exactly enough to get the cookie badge. Not one box more. (Okay, I wasn’t exactly a model scout.)

    In later years, as I hit those same neighbors up to buy band candy, band candles, band fruit, band fruitcakes…they probably longed for the old Thin Mints days.

    I had to sell band candy, too. It wasn’t as much fun for some reason. I guess because I didn’t get a badge in the end.

  6. I refuse to buy GS cookies from anyone other than an actual member of the troop. I was NEVER allowed to give my cookie order form to one of my parents to take into work. And since I’m so shy, I only ended up going to neighbors I knew to sell cookies, and I always had the lowest sales. BFD.

    Thanks for that link to making your own GS cookies! I might try that. Although I am somewhat dissuaded since seeing the ad right below the recipe:
    10 Rules to Cut Belly Fat
    I Fought To Lose Fat, By These Easy 10 Rules I Lost 9 lbs every 11 Days
    http://www.FatLoss4Idiots.com

    That’s so sad. Come to think of it, I was pretty shy, too. I probably would have sucked. And that ad is the reason that every time I think of putting ads on this site, I change my mind. Yuck.

  7. I tried joining the Girl Scouts when I was in grade school. I went to the very first meeting and brought all the info home for my mom. She didn’t want to pay for the uniform or something I guess. I never did join. I do hound my younger cousins for cookies now. I love the peanut butter patties. If I made my own, they’d burn. I can burn soup…it’s an acquired skill.

    Burn soup? You’ll have to post directions on your blog!

  8. I was on my way to becoming the highest level of girl scout there was when my dual troop leaders decided they couldn’t spare the time for the troop anymore. So there was no more troop.

    Shouldn’t the Girl Scouts of American organization have some branch that helps fill these holes for young girls who want to be girl scouts but can’t find an adult to lead them?

    Fo’ shizzle they should, those ignorant beeyotches.

    I feel your pain Noelle, though you might begrudge me my experience of even being one.

    I think troups fizzle out as everyone gets older and loses interest. I guess the scouts are too busy baking cookies to worry about redistributing leaders.

  9. I can’t believe you didn’t get to be a Girl Scout because no moms would volunteer! Couldn’t they have put your class in with the class ahead or behind you?? This is an injustice, I say, and I would be bitter about it years later as well.

    And I think 3Cs is right–you should totally be a troop leader now. Maybe some of the girls will even have a cute, young single dad! 😉

    Wow, the idea of dating someone with kids is an odd reality of being in my 30’s.

  10. I was a Brownie for one year before I quit. It seemed to be more about crabby parents selling cookies and making ugly pencil holders than actually being out in nature and doing fun group activities.

    That said, I bet you would’ve been a kick-ass cookie peddler.

    I don’t think the girl scouts ever really left the rec room or did more than think about cookies.

  11. Posted by sadieandleo on February 7, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    OMg, don’t get me started on Girl Scouting. I was the only girl who went to public school in my Girl Scout troop. They all went to private, Catholic school and that was the only troop at the time in my town. Yeah, I was the “outsider”. I’m sure if I stuck around long enough they would have done something permanent to me, if you know what I mean. Evil little girls.

    I still heart the cookies though, I don’t hold that against them.

    It’s hard to stay mad at the Girl Scouts. Kids can be so awful. I think I had an opportunity to do something similar. I guess now I’m glad I didn’t.

  12. Posted by Candy on February 7, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    They’ve made a lot of rules about how the girls are allowed to sell the cookies, so much so that it’s almost mandatory that dads take the sheets to work with them. It’s a giant marketing tool that would make Martha Stewart or Oprah Winfrey proud.

  13. Posted by mfijal98 on February 7, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I was in the same girl scout troop as my now-sister-in-law!

    My brother remembers going with my mom and I to his now-wife’s house to pick up my girl scout cookies. He was in third grade.

    Awwwww!

  14. Posted by evilkate on February 7, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    If you want to sell cookies, I’ll buy.

  15. Posted by tinetastic on February 7, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    I made “thin Mints” for the Big Box Bookstore’s Christmas party. They were good. Many-a-complement for me. (it was a Martha recipe)

  16. I sort of got kicked out of Girl Scouts. My mom found out the troop leader was stealing money out of the troop account and confronted her about it, and the leader told her I wasn’t welcome at troop meetings anymore.

    It was okay; I kind of hated Girl Scouts anyway. And where is your feminist landlord with all that? Because Girl Scouts is still all about teaching girls to cook and sew and whatever, and I find that a little too 1950s.

  17. I cannot wait for my fix!

    I was the opposite–my mom was a girl scout and tried to organize my Daisy Scouts troop, but I rebelled and refused to participate!

  18. My niece is a brownie this year, and she’s selling cookies. Without really thinking it through, I agreed to be the point person for my family’s cookie order (Brother & fam live in CA, everyone else is in NJ). So in a few weeks I’m going to have something like 30 boxes of cookies arrive at my doorstep. That’s going to take some serious willpower.

    In my day, I HATED selling cookies. And there was always that one girl in the troop who sold about a bazillion boxes, while I was struggling to hit 50 and get my participation patch.

  19. Come to the UK and be a Scout Leader with my group. I am the Group Scout Leader for a group of nearly 80 boys ranging from 6 to 14 & a half. The leader team is a mixture of male and female so you would fit in fine and have a great time.

  20. I was the damn leader for cub scouts!!! (for precisely the same reason-no one else wanted to do it). We sold candy bars tho.

  21. My cousin is actually an exec of a Girl Scout Council. You could still be a girl scout you know. Maybe you could be the Scout Leader that some first grade class yearns for?

    And I’d have a closeby cookie connection.

  22. I didn’t get to be a girl scout either. I’m still sad. They got to glue macaroni on things.

  23. Oh, man.

    We need a nerd scouts. Where we can get a slight distance form the computers and under the presence of that hot orange orb in the sky.

    Aaron can be the troop leader. And when he is eaten by bears, I will take over.

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