Guest Columnist

Sugar and spice make tomorrow's workforce

Girl Scout Cookie Program launches this month

Diane Nelson with some of Iowa’s ‘strong, innovative and courageous’ Girl Scouts. (Submitted Photo)
Diane Nelson with some of Iowa’s ‘strong, innovative and courageous’ Girl Scouts. (Submitted Photo)

I’m sure you have heard the nursery rhyme, “sugar and spice make everything nice; that’s what girls are made of.” As the CEO of Girl Scouts for more than 20 years, I’ve met thousands of girls who are kind, sweet, and caring.

Of those amazing little girls I have had the opportunity to know, I have learned that they are strong, innovative, and courageous as well. That’s what leaders are made of.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program launches in January and many of the community members I have spoken with are eager to purchase their favorite treats. Some of you will stock up on Samoas; while others will lament their favorite flavors have been phased out. While Girl Scout Cookies are as iconic as apple pie and baseball, they’re a symbol for something so much more. Girl Scout Cookies have been a tool for developing a workforce of successful women for more than 100 years.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the first time girls have the opportunity to step outside their comfort zone, set a goal, and hustle as hard as they can to achieve something big. The Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the world because it has evolved to keep up with the demands of a changing economy. Today’s cookie sellers are creating online selling platforms, marketing through social media, and tracking sales through apps. These girls are learning sophisticated business skills for the future, while also developing those tried and true abilities of speaking with confidence, treating people with respect, and working hard to achieve a dream. When girls participate in the Cookie Program, it’s their first opportunity to look a customer in the eye and thank them. It’s their first experience working as team members with their troops and planning a famous Cookie Booth in the community. It’s the first time they will manage the funds they earn and decide not only how they will spend the dollars earned on fun activities like camping trips and STEM activities, but how they will use proceeds to give back to others in the community and make the world a better place.

I want to challenge the community to support the growth of girls! To those of you who were Girl Scouts and sold cookies, think back on your experiences and remember those “firsts” you had in the Cookie Program that defined the person you are today. To those of you who will have a Girl Scout approach you this winter and ask you to purchase cookies, ask her about what is motivating her to sell cookies and help her reach her goals. To those of you who believe that every girl has the potential to lead our community to economic success, volunteer with the best leadership organization for girls and share your talents. To those who of you who you who think girls are just made of sugar and spice and everything nice, know that girls are made of courage, confidence, and character and so much more.

• Diane Nelson is the CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. To learn more, visit GirlScoutsToday.org

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