Cookies and more


Girl Scouts represent so much more than cookies and camping. The organization calls itself “the premier leadership organization for girls,” and backs up the claim with impressive statistics:

Four-fifths of female business owners were Girl Scouts. So were two-thirds of the women in the U.S. House of Representatives and every female astronaut who has flown in space.

Nationally, the Girl Scouts have 2.3 million members. Younger scouts, in kindergarten and elementary schools, typically join troops and engage in joint weekly activities, but that’s not a prerequisite for being a Girl Scout.

Members can choose only to attend special programs, such as a series on energy conservation, or can decide just to participate in special events. In addition to camping, scouts can sign on for other trips; some troops use money they earn from cookie sales to make college visits.

Girl Scouts USA has set an ambitious goal of achieving gender equality in all forms of national leadership within a generation. Local councils advocate greater participation of girls and women in science, technology, and engineering, and in such trades as plumbing, welding, and construction.

The Girl Scouts have increased efforts to recruit urban girls. In the past few years, participation has jumped from 3 percent of that population to 10 percent.

That is just a sampling of the ways in which the Girl Scouts organization has evolved and adapted throughout its 101-year history. Don’t worry, though; some traditions remain.

Girl Scouts still sell cookies. They’re taking orders through March, for delicious deliveries scheduled to begin in mid-February. Get them while you can, with the knowledge that the dollars those sales raise will allow the Girl Scouts to continue promoting opportunities for girls and young women.