Members of The Valley Girl Scouts troop -- Waitsfield, Warren and Fayston -- sell Girl Scout cookies at Lawson’s Finest. Photo: Crystal Lund.

Girl Scout cookie season is wrapping up – with Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs and other varieties distributed across The Valley since sales started early this year.




Troop members in Waitsfield, Fayston and Warren, who form a single troop, delivered
the last of their boxes in mid-March. The Moretown troop is nearly done, waiting on cookie distributors to restock their supplies for one final order. They plan to host a pop-event to sell leftover boxes in the coming weeks – “to find good homes for our remaining cookies,” Moretown troop co-leader Kae Zaino said.

Girl Scouts began selling cookies as early as 1917 – five years after Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts of the USA. In the early years, cookies were home-baked by scouts and their troop leaders, especially following a 1922 recipe for basic sugar cookies written by a Girl Scouts director in Chicago and printed in The American Girl magazine. Troops baked these, packaged them in wax paper, and sold them door-to-door for 35 cents a dozen.


In the mid 1930s, a council in Philadelphia became the first to sell commercially-baked cookies, and in the following decades, the number of commercial bakers became more and more streamlined, allowing for lower prices and uniform quality. Various cookie types emerged over time – like a S’mores Sandwich variety introduced in 2016, a gluten-free option called Toffee-tastic in 2017, and a thin, crispy cookie infused with raspberry flavor and dipped in chocolatey coating that the organization sees a “sister cookie” to Thin Mints, released last year.

After local troops took orders in early winter, they picked up cases of cookies from distributors in Barre and Williston, called The Cookie Cupboard. The boxes were then divvyed up and sorted for delivery. They ordered additional boxes for booth sales, setting up in front of Mehuron’s, Shaw’s, Lawsons Finest Liquids, Moretown Elementary School during Town Meeting Day, and other locations throughout the winter.

“We have sold in really windy weather, in 20-degree weather, in rainy weather – in just about any weather you can imagine,” said Crystal Lund, a co-leader of the Valley troop alongside leader Kayla Bourne for about five years.




“It definitely shows the girls what kind of push you need to have, to be able to sell. We have to make sure they’re all in,” Lund said.

According to the organization, Girl Scouts of the USA is “the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world,” with nearly 700,000 scouts participating. “Girl Scout cookies are more than delicious treats,” the website reads, “they’re entrepreneurial juggernauts.”

Cookie selling is meant to instill a host of business-oriented values like goal setting, decision making, sales promotion, customer interaction and money management. The organization offers a host of sales-related educational materials for Scouts and their troop leaders – like a leaflet that lays the different “types” of sellers a Scout might be. The “networker” asks existing customers to refer them to others who might want cookies, the “consumer expert” comes up with the perfect pitch, and the “cookie techie” is a Scout who promotes sales by circulating homemade videos on social media platforms – creating a kind of “digital storefront” for online sales.


As far as what scouts are learning on the ground, “I would say it’s more basic,” Zaino said about her Moretown troop. “We talk about customer service skills, like making eye contact and thanking people, that sort of thing.”

In January, Moretown troop leader Jeannie Randall took the group to a “cookie rally” at St. Michael’s College, where Scouts practiced skills like counting change.  

Lund said she was impressed by how her troop handled sales. “In their sales pitch, they would say what the proceeds would be spent on. They’d say ‘we’re selling cookies to fund an educational field trip.’ I think that’s just phenomenal, if you ask me.”

Each year, U.S. Girl Scouts sell about 200 million boxes of cookies. If they hit that mark this year, cookie revenue would come to $1 billion, according to Forbes.


Some of these profits are directed back to local troops – in The Valley, keeping 85 cents to $1 for every $6 box – and the majority goes to state-wide Girl Scout Councils, Zaino said. Her troop already spent some of their funds on a day trip to the ice skating rink at Spruce Peak in Stowe. Scouts also planned a camping trip at Elmore State Park for June. 

Lund’s Valley troop hasn’t decided how they’ll spend funds just yet, but they discussed some possibilities early on. The Scouts imagined camping, visiting a museum, or donating to a charity. “They’re very generous young ladies,” Lund said.

In total, the two troops sold roughly 3,200 boxes of cookies, with Thin Mints as the best seller, per usual.

Lund said her favorite cookies are the peanut-butter-containing Tagalongs and Do-Si-Dos. “But then again, the old shortbread cookies are one of my favorites too. It’s just so hard to pick.”