Scouts sell cookies creatively during COVID-19
FINGER LAKES--For the past year COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the everyday lives of people and organizations in America and throughout the world. Locally, Girl Scout Troops are no different. Girl Scouts have had projects, meetings and trips delayed or canceled but that hasn't stopped them from doing their best to ensure the community still has access to the annual favorite Girl Scout Cookies.
"Our troop is doing booths and the one thing we are doing differently this year is a lot of consignment locations where we leave cookies at businesses and customers just buy them off the counter," said Jennifer Gruschow, co-troop leader of troop 61087.
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world. Girls develop important life and leadership skills through the program including goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. This year it has also meant adapting to change by adapting their sales methods.
"This way we get cookies out into the community without risking further exposure to COVID," said Gruschow of the new distribution locations.
In Watkins Glen, Troop 170 was busy selling cookies through a cookie booth in front of the Holy Cow Meat Market and Deli on Saturday, Feb. 13, despite cold temperatures in the teens.
"We are doing pretty well and the customers are coming in," said troop 170 co-leader Mary Coykendall. "We usually have cookie booths every year but this year a lot of businesses have said no."
While many of the Girl Scouts in attendance said they were glad to be there despite the cold, the fact that COVID has robbed them of so many Girl Scout-related experiences over the past year still weighed heavily on them.
"It's tough, it doesn't feel the same without trips and stuff like that," said Brooke Koseba, 14, of Watkins Glen.
Coykendall agreed and said that while the troop has been able to meet monthly due to its small size, events like year-end ceremonies have been canceled. Still, Coykendall said it was cathartic not only for the scout but the troop leaders as well when meetings were allowed to start again.
"It's great to have some sort of normality, at least we can do this and get out there so its been fun," said troop member Erin McKenzie.
While changes forced upon troops by COVID have been difficult, it has also presented some opportunities for the future.
"We will see how sales go and how they sell at different locations," Gruschow said. "That will be interesting... (and) if consignment goes well this year we will also do it in the future."
In the meantime, Gruschow said she will continue to work with her girls to try to come up with solutions to selling cookies to everyone who wants them in the area during the pandemic.
"We are thinking on the fly, and anything we try that works we'll try it again after the pandemic as well," Gruschow said.
For more information about local cookie sales please visit https://www.gsnypenn.org.