Girl Scouts fund projects through cookie sales in the 1960s. Credit: Courtesy / Girl Scouts of America

Did you know the Girl Scout Cookie program is the largest and oldest girl-led business in the world?

It all started with a small bake sale more than one century ago in Muskogee, Okla. where Girl Scouts sold homemade cookies to fund their service project. While the business of selling Girl Scouts cookies has grown to exceed $800 million a year, the mission remains the same: funding Girl Scout projects.

Through the seemingly simple act of selling cookies, girls participate in a program that teaches them five essential business skills that serve them throughout their lives. Girls as young as 5 years old learn about goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. After they complete their cookie sales in March, troops develop a plan for the year ahead. When sales are robust, they have the financial resources to produce impact projects that often serve the neediest in our community, including the homeless, children with special needs, seniors, and animals.

I myself was a Girl Scout in the 1960s, and I’m now an adult volunteer. In both roles, I have seen the power of the 105-year-old iconic American institution that remains the premier organization that prepares girls to be leaders. Businesses across the United States recognize the aptitude of Girl Scouts, because many of the leading women in their organizations were once Girl Scouts. What’s more, 80% of women who own their own business got their start in Girl Scouts.

We are grateful to everyone in San Antonio who purchased cookies during this milestone year. These girls did more than just hand you a box. They created a sales plan, interacted with customers, and worked as part of a team. In so doing, they are building a lifelong skill set and confidence. Your support makes a girl’s unique leadership experience in Girl Scouting possible and today, girls need Girl Scouts more than ever. The program complements their endeavors in life, school, sports, and other extracurricular activities – not to mention their college admission efforts.

As we celebrate 100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies, it’s important to note that cookie season concludes during Women’s History Month. There is much synergy in that timing because that’s what these girls do – they make history as they sell their cookies, serve in their troops, and grow into women who continue to honor the Girl Scout promise of investing in the communities they live in.

Carri Baker

Carri Baker is the COO for Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP, a Girl Scout USA board member and volunteer, and the co-founder and past chair of the SAISD Foundation. She serves on the President’s...