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Girl Scout Cookies: Feeding the Mission


From the desk of GSSNE CEO, Dana Borrelli-Murray:

Cookies are…complicated. To an outsider, cookies take up alot of Girl Scout oxygen. And honestly, maybe they do for an insider as well.  

But the more I learn—the history, the value, and the payoff— well, it’s safe to say I’m a cookie convert. An annual sustainable revenue source that feeds (literally) our mission’s work with a product that people actually want! Anyone that wants to make cookie jokes with me—and there are many—I feel like we are all unapologetically laughing all the way to camp. 

Girl Scout Cookies ensure that we, an organization focused on youth that identify as girls, are not dependent on others. According to Girl Scout history, “the sale of cookies to finance troop activities began as early as 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouts in the United States. The Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project.”

So this means that cookies as a sustainable revenue source to support Girl Scout activities dates back to a time when women couldn’t vote. Or open their own bank accounts. Or divorce their husbands, attend most private high schools, college and universities, or play sports. 

In many ways, cookies have been our ticket to self-sufficiency. We hold our heads high knowing the power and example we are setting for our Girl Scouts, providing a backdrop, system, and a high quality product, to develop entrepreneurial skills.  

The breakdown is pretty incredible. In my research, no other organization has a model that puts profits back in the hands of youth, creates mechanisms for youth to be the decision-makers of how funding is spent, and to work both independently and as a team.  

From a council perspective—this is how we keep the lights on and the programs growing so we can continue to provide amazing experiences for our Girl Scouts and volunteers. The more we all work together on this, the stronger our council will be.  

I like to win. And I like to raise money. But I love to serve youth and see the real-life ways that hard work pays off. The experiences, the travel, the activities that happen because you purchase Peanut Butter Patties is spectacular.

I am laser focused on ensuring that Girl Scouts is the most relevant, engaging, youth centered and inclusive leadership development program available. The Movement is designed to help youth discover their personal best and prepare for a positive future, connect with others in an increasingly diverse world, and take action to solve problems and improve their communities. 

I hope this mission feeds you as much as it does me.