You play an exciting role in giving your girls opportunities to practice the five skills in a girl-led, cooperative setting. Some of the things you’ll do include:
- Get girls excited about the opportunities to support her troop (but allowing her participation to be voluntary).
- Support both competitive and apprehensive cookie bosses, helping all your girls set meaningful goals for themselves.
- Fostering partnerships with each girl’s family to ensure cookie season success, whatever that may look like for her. Check out the Creating Cookie Success and Coaching Your Budding Businesswoman resources that will help you build a positive partnership with girls and families.
Not only can girls sell individually, both in-person and using the online tools provided by each vendor, they can also participate in group booth sales during product programs. Your local council has additional guidance and processes to market and ensure every booth is in a safe and appropriate location for girls
As your girls grow, your role will evolve from a hands-on one to providing oversight and support where needed. No matter their ages, remember that volunteers and parents/caregivers do not sell the product. Your role is to encourage your girls and let their entrepreneurial spirit soar. Learning by doing is exactly how your girls develop the business savvy and communication skills that will empower them to reach any goals they set for themselves.
Another critical task for each troop is to establish a clear accounting system for all proceeds and product during the programs. It's up to you to make sure that money is spent wisely, that excellent records are kept (remember to keep copies of all receipts in a binder or folder), and that all product is tracked. For older girls, your job is to oversee their work as they learn to keep impeccable records. Be sure to attend product program orientation or training so you are aware of the systems and helpful tools available.
The Girl Scout Cookie Program and the fall product program can be exhilarating and busy times during the troop year, but you’re never alone in your efforts! You can reach out to your service unit product program manager when you‘re feeling stuck, or you can build a cookie team to provide the support your troop needs.
Product Program Safety
Girl safety is the top priority while selling Girl Scout Cookies and other products. Volunteers, families, and girls should be familiar with and practice the safety guidelines outlined in local program resources as well as those available in the safety section of girlscoutcookies.org.
Plan for Safeguarding Money
Girls should always have a plan for safeguarding money, which includes such things as:
- Not walking around with large amounts of money
- Keeping the cash box against a wall or behind a barrier of cookie boxes
- Not keeping money at home or school
- Giving cookie money to supervising volunteers, who will deposit the money as soon as possible
Be Streetwise and Follow Your Instincts
In order to ensure the safety of girls while participating in product programs, you and the girls should become familiar with the areas and neighborhoods in which girls would like to sell. In addition, girls should:
- Participate in door‐to‐door activity only during daylight hours
- Wear a membership pin, uniform, or Girl Scout clothing (e.g., Girl Scout T‐shirt) to clearly identify themselves as Girl Scouts.
- Avoid a house or person that makes them uncomfortable. They should walk away and find the next person/place that does not make them uncomfortable
- Call 9-1-1 if they see someone that seems to be acting in a way that makes them feel unsafe. This could include, but is not limited to, any person who is staring at them for long periods, seems to be following them for no apparent reason or takes pictures of them
- Use safe pedestrian practices, such as crossing at corners and obeying walk signals
- Not enter the home or vehicle of a stranger, and avoid approaching people in vehicles (except at drive-thru cookie booths) or going into alleys
- Should not carry large amounts of money (see “Plan for Safeguarding Money”, above)
If someone takes money or cookies from your booth, do not attempt to physically recover the stolen items and do not allow the girls to do so. Instead, get a good description of the offender(s), call 911, and alert local security (if applicable). Make sure girls know what to do in case of theft. Report any incidents to GS-TOP immediately according to its guidelines. Do not post on social media.
GS-TOP Product Program Emergency Contact
Jenny Luedecke-Keys, Product Program Lead
E: firstname.lastname@example.org | O: 817-869-0724 or 800-582-7272 ext. 1211 | C: 682-319-4654.
Adult at the location must complete the Accident/Incident Report and send to the council within 48 hours.
Selling Cookies Online
Will your troop use the Smart Cookies platform to manage its cookie business? Check the specific guidelines provided by each cookie vendor before participating. Remember that:
- Girls may only post about their participation on Smart Cookies in a way that allows them to restrict access to family and friends, such as on Facebook.
- Parents/guardians must approve the content of a girl’s Smart Cookies webpage before it goes live.
- For girls under age 13, a parent/guardian must manage the girl’s web site and be responsible for all content.
Safety in Technology Based Product Programs
Girl Scouts use the Internet for a variety of reasons including the online marketing and sale of approved Girl Scout related products such as the Cookie Program and during the Fall Product Program to friends and family (for clarity ,”friends and family” are people whom the girl or her family personally know). Below are some key points to keep in mind for all online activities:
- Girls must read, understand and accept the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge, prior to conducting any online sales or marketing activities, which is available at the end of the Safety Activity Checkpoints.
- Girls may send e‐mail messages to alert friends and family about product programs and accept customer commitments via email.
- Social media sites may be used to market product program to friends and family, however, all applicable GSUSA and council guidelines must be followed, including setting profiles to private instead of public.
- Girls writing product program e‐mails or announcements online should sign with their first names only, their troop number or name and their council name.
- Personal e‐mails or street addresses of girls should never be used. Instead, use one of the following:
- A blind return address account where the girls’ name or personal e‐mail is not revealed to the customer and is instead hosted on a secure site.
- A troop account, monitored by a volunteer.
- A volunteer’s e‐mail account, which is supervised by that volunteer.
- Marketing on the internet for the Girl Scout Cookie Program and Fall Product Program should be to friends and family only.
- For clarity purposes friends and family are people that the girl or her family knows personally.
- Marketing on the Internet should always be girl led with supervision and oversight of parents or caretakers.
- The Girl Scout Cookie Program is a girl led program, friends and family of the girl should not market or share a girl’s contact information, sales links, or sales information on public-facing online sites.
- For safety purposes and other reasons, online marketing activities especially those conducted through social media platforms, should always be done through accounts set to private.
- Internet sales transactions are approved for friends and family only on the following platforms:
- Fall Program Vendor Sites (QSP, and Ashdon)
- Digital Cookie Program (ABC)
For Digital Cookie/Smart Cookies there are additional, specific guidelines, some of which are:
- Girls must read and accept the Girl Scout Digital Cookie Pledge before they can participate in Digital Cookie
- Volunteers must read and accept the Digital Cookie Terms and Conditions for Volunteers before they can participate in Digital Cookie
- Girls may only post about their participation on Digital Cookie on social media that allows them to restrict access to friends and family (e.g. Facebook).
- Parents/guardians must approve the content of a girls Digital Cookie web page before it goes live
For girls under 13 years old, a parent/guardian must manage the girl’s web site and be responsible for all content. In other words, girls under 13 are not allowed to post anything to their websites; it must be done by their parent/guardian.
The Buddy System
Using the buddy system, girls are divided into teams of two. Each girl is responsible for staying with her buddy at all times, warning her buddy of danger, giving her buddy immediate assistance if safe to do so, and seeking help if needed. Girls are encouraged to stay near the group or buddy with another team of two so that in the event someone is injured, one person cares for the patient while two others seek help.