For me it was the cute uniform. For MiniMe it was the cookies. As a child I joined the Girl Scouts because I coveted the starched brown jumper with the jaunty matching beanie. I could picture myself in that uniform with bright colored patches scattered across the sash. I joined the Brownies in the third grade, and while my time as a Girl Scout was brief, it made a positive and lasting impression.
My daughter fell in love with the idea of joining the Girl Scouts the first time she encountered a Girl Scout cookie sales booth outside our local Blockbuster Video store. It wasn’t that she wanted the cookies as much as she loved the idea of selling the cookies. A natural born marketing whiz, she was captivated by the idea of having her own retail operation as an elementary school kid.
So I returned to the Girl Scouts, this time as a volunteer Scout leader when MiniMe was in the second grade. She patiently made it through the weekly troop meetings, the arts and crafts projects and the camping trips. Finally, it was time to sell the cookies!
This was the moment she’d been waiting for all year. She happily visited all the neighbors taking orders. She recruited her grandmothers, aunts and dad to her sales force. When pre-orders were tallied, she was a top seller in her troop. But MiniMe was just getting started. She eagerly signed up for several of our troop’s on-site sales booths. The other girls quickly realized they could hang back because MiniMe would happily do all the work. Her secret weapon?
“I just use my cute face, Mom!”
We all know that Girl Scout cookies practically sell themselves. But to be honest, who’s going to turn down a cute little girl in a Scout uniform? The only question - do you want Thin Mints or Peanut Butter Patties?
Needless to say our troop sold a lot of cookies, which gave the girls the resources to have a well-rounded Scout experience.
Whether or not you like cookies or camping, the Scouts are a great organization for your son or daughter. This point was driven home recently when I taught a public speaking class at a local college. The students were assigned to give a short speech of introduction. As each one took their turn, I was surprised by how many of these young men and women mentioned that Scouting had shaped or informed their lives.
So I guess while MiniMe thought she was simply building her sales leads, what she was really building was character, values and a lifetime of memories.