Wednesday, April 23, 2014 · 8:38 p.m.
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The Thin Mints are coming to a freezer near you. (Photo: Amy Ya)

Trivia: What do 80 percent of all female business owners and 69 percent of all female U.S. senators have in common?

They were all Girl Scouts

With the 2013 Girl Scout cookie season kicking off Friday, Jan. 11, the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians—Chattanooga’s local chapter—is updating the way Chattanoogans can stock up on favorites like Thin Mints and Samoas, while staying true to a tradition that goes back to 1917.

The S.S. Cookie sets sails during the Hiwassee River raft race. (Photo: Contributed)

“Everyone knows how tasty Girl Scout Cookies are, but there’s more to our cookies that what’s in the box,” Booth Kammann, CEO of the Council of the Southern Appalachians, said in a prepared statement. “Every box of cookies a girls sells is an investment in her future.”

In the box
Out with the familiar boxes color-coded to match the cookie inside and in with the redesign. Though there are no new cookies to introduce to the eight-cookie lineup, the boxes feature a new image—the first revamp of Girl Scout cookie packaging since 1999.

The national organization enlisted the help of David Kennerly, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, to build an updated library of images of 21st-century girls traveling, working and volunteering. These are the faces and smiles on the boxes this cookie season.

In addition to the beloved Samoas, Thin Mints, Tagalongs and Trefoils, Girls Scouts are selling Dos-si-dos, Dulce De Leche, Savannah Smiles and Thank U Berry Munch.

The Council of the Southern Appalachians involves approximately 14,791 girls, as well as 5,312 adults members, in a 46-county area, beginning in Southwest Virginia and encompassing East Tennessee and Northwest Georgia.

Although community members can buy boxes directly from Girl Scouts, customers can also utilize a new piece of technology designed specifically to increase the safety of Girl Scouts and the accessible of cookies: The Cookie Locator, available on the Girl Scouts’ website, enables customers to enter their ZIP codes and connect to their local council, which in turn can connect those looking to stock their cabinets and freezers with Samoas and Thin Mints to individual Girl Scouts.

Orders for the 2013 cookie season will continue to be taken until Feb. 10. Cookies are set to be delivered between March 1 and March 24. Each box is $3.50.

Girl Scouts from around the Chattanooga area join in the 2012 Bridgefest. (Photo: Contributed)

Outside the box
For those Chattanoogans who were not involved as young girls or as mothers in Girl Scouts, the question of where the $3.50 per box ends up is a real wonder.

Laura Skonberg, community development manager for the Council of the Southern Appalachians, explained that all proceeds of the annual cookies sales go right back into the community and into the lives of the girls who raised them.

“Every penny earned stays within the council area,” she said. “Girls use their profits to fund educational activities, trips, community service projects and more.”

For 2013, the Building a Mountain of Hope Program also allows customers to purchase and donate boxes to those serving in the Air National Guard and the Army National Guard from Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. 

The cookie sales program serves to develop five key skills for each girl—business ethics, communication, decision-making, goal setting and money management—to foster the ultimate goal of helping girls build character, confidence and courage.

“Look at the statistics on women’s share in the political, health care and consumer arenas,” Skonberg said. “More women voted than men in the 2008 presidential election. Women make the majority of health care decisions for a household. Eighty-five percent of all brand purchases are made by women. Thus, a program that is focused on supporting the development of leadership skillsets in girls is a program that is focused on supporting the major stakeholders in the political decision, consumer decisions and health care decisions of tomorrow.”

Just ask the 80 percent of female business owners and the 69 percent of female U.S. senators.

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