Every year, storefronts, neighborhoods and workplaces become dotted with green, blue, brown and khaki as Girl Scouts work tirelessly to sell cookies.
Girl Scout Cookies have origins tracing back to the 1900s, but nowadays the Girl Scouts are known for more than just pushing cookies. They work to educate and empower young women all across the globe. Today, the number of Girl Scouts in the United States is nearly equivalent to the population of Chicago: 2.7 million Scouts and volunteers, according to the Girl Scouts website.
WABE has compiled some facts that at the very least can serve as conversation topics for the cookie booth.
- The Girl Scouts were founded in Georgia before women could vote:
Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts in 1912, eight years before the 19th Amendment was passed. The group of 18 girls in Savannah, Georgia, were encouraged by Low to explore their own intellect and embrace their own individuality, according to the Girl Scouts website.
- The Girl Scouts organization is a global force:
According to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, the organization includes 10 million girls and young women globally. It also has a presence in 146 different countries, including countries in the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia. Global expansion started as early as the 1920s, according to the Girl Scouts website.
- It’s about more than just cookies:
The Girl Scouts advocate for empowerment of young women through STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, environmental activism and spiritual health, according to their website. The organization introduces girls to science education, officially recognizes a variety of religions and hosts camping trips as well as other environmental conservation events. While the organization defines itself as secular, the Girl Scouts organization has set a goal to empower girls to find their own spiritual values.
- The Girl Scouts work with the United Nations to protect and empower women:
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts works with U.N. Women in order to advocate for gender equality and empowerment of women. The groups have released education curricula such as “Voices Against Violence,” which uses alternative teaching methods to educate about stopping violence against girls and young women.
- The Girl Scouts have famous former members:
The ranks of former Girl Scouts include actress Lucille Ball, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and even Queen Elizabeth II. The motto, “Be Prepared,” according to the Girl Scouts website, means that these women were not only willing to help out anywhere they were needed, but also that they were fully trained to help out effectively.
- Martin Luther King Jr. counted on the Girl Scouts to help end segregation:
According to Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chavez, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. once referred to the organization as a “force for desegregation.” Chavez wrote for the Huffington Post that the dream of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low was to create “an organization dedicated to welcoming, empowering and encouraging all girls, regardless of race, color, national origin or creed.”
- Girl Scout Cookies as we know them have been in circulation since the 1930s:
While Girl Scouts have sold cookies as service projects as early as 1917, the Girl Scouts have been selling the cookies as a major commercial operation since the 1930s when the Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council began selling boxes of the cookies in 1934, according to the Girl Scouts website. When the cookie business began, a box of cookies cost less than a quarter.
- Cookies have gone digital:
The “Digital Cookie Platform” launched in 2016 as a safe way for Scouts to interact with buyers with a Web presence. “Digital Cookie introduces vital twenty-first-century lessons about online marketing, app usage, and ecommerce to Girl Scouts,” the website says, “who will be in the driver’s seat of their own digital cookie business.”
- You can cook with Girl Scout Cookies:
The Girl Scouts website provides abounding recipes with which Girl Scout cookie lovers can make treats and even hosts a contest allowing people to create recipes of their own. Existing recipes include Peppermint Chip Cheesecake made of Thin Mints and Chantilly Pie made of Samoas.
- The same cookies can have different names:
Girl Scout Cookies are made by two different bakeries, according to MentalFloss. Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers make the same cookies, but those cookies may differ slightly in both name and recipe. For instance, Caramel deLites may be known as Samoas in certain areas, and Thin Mints look and taste different depending in which state you bought your cookies.