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How the Girl Scouts Are Preparing the Next Generation of Female Entrepreneurs

Photos: Courtesy of The Girl Scouts of America

The cookie business

When you buy a box of Girl Scout Cookies, you may not think beyond satisfying your sweet tooth. In purchasing one, however, you’re actually helping girls worldwide gain indispensable leadership, decision making, money, people and business ethics skills.

That was the case when Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Sylvia Acevedo began as a Brownie, and it remains true today as the group has grown to include 2.6 million girls and adults in the United States, including 1.8 million girls. “As a daughter of parents who struggled financially, realizing that selling Girl Scout Cookies would help fund important life experiences — like going camping, earning science badges and addressing problems in my community — sparked an entrepreneurial fire within me,” Acevedo says. “These powerful lessons in persistence, ingenuity and confidence stuck with me as I grew up to become a rocket scientist, business owner and an impactful leader.”

Building sales skills

Areesha, an alumna of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana and who now volunteers as a troop leader, says she’s made friends and been exposed to new experiences as a result.

This sentiment is echoed in the experience of 16-year-old Cora, of Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, who took part in an educational 10-day European trip after three years of fundraising. “Without Girl Scouts and without the skills I learned and practiced through the cookie program, there is no way I would have been able to make the trip possible,” Cora says. “And because of the skills I learned from the trip, I went into high school better prepared than my classmates.”

Eight-year-old Megan, also of Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, says the organization has “inspired me to speak up, give back to my community, and have a great time.” Her favorite part of participating? “Managing the money,” she says, adding that while she’s not sure what she wants to be when she grows up, “Girl Scouts is teaching me leadership skills.”

Through its programs, Girl Scouts helps young girls learn exactly what they need to know to thrive professionally and personally today. “I always like to tell people,” Cora says. “There’s more to that cookie box than meets the eye.”

Melinda Carstensen, [email protected]

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