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Five reasons to support your local dealer

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My name is LaMonique, and I’m a Girl Scout cookie addict.

My main cookie dealer is about 10 years old, and her mom knows that I’m an easy target. I don’t believe I’ve ever denied a Girl Scout my hard-earned money.

A long time ago, before I was a writer or cookie addict, I was a dealer. My first troop leader was my teacher, Lisa Coleman. I loved wearing my Brownie uniform and looked forward to our scout meetings on Tuesdays. We made crafts, went on road trips and talked a lot about what we wanted to do in the future. We also talked a bunch about how we could make our world a better place.

Selling cookies was my favorite thing to do in Girl Scouts. Each year, I would set my sights on a cookie badge for my uniform sash. The badges corresponded with the number of cookie boxes sold. I’d come home and tell my mom how many boxes I wanted to sell and how I planned to sell them. I’m pretty sure she thought I was in over my head, but with her help, I smashed my goal every single year.

Being a Girl Scout was one of the best experiences of my childhood. I made lifelong friends, learned valuable skills and gained a ton of confidence. And selling those cookies had a lot to do with it.

I see the same things happening with my cookie dealers. (OK, I admit that I have several.) Could it be that the Girl Scout organization has dealers all over the nation pushing all these delicious cookies for a greater purpose?

Turns out, that’s exactly the case. According to the Girl Scout website, their “cookies are on a mission: to help girls learn five skills that are essential to leadership, to success and to life.”

Goal setting. Back in the day, when I was deciding which badge would look best on my sash, I was actually setting my cookie goal. When Ms. Coleman had us make a list of our friends and neighbors, she was helping us to create a plan to achieve our goals. Each week, we were encouraged to keep going, keep asking and keep working toward our goals.

Decision making. Asking my grandma to buy a box of cookies was much different than asking my mother’s co-workers, and I had to decide how to make each ask. I also decided, with input from my parents and teachers, when I should ask. As a troop, we also got to decide what treat or party we could have once we finished selling cookies.

Money management. My parents made me keep up with the money I made selling cookies, and it scared the mess out of me. This was before the internet and debit cards, so I had to deal with cash and make change for customers, keep tabs on my cookie brochures and make sure I turned in the correct amount to my troop.

People skills. Believe it or not, I am not a naturally outgoing person. Selling cookies took me far outside my comfort zone, forcing me to meet new people and form new relationships. I had to learn to communicate with my customers. I use this skill today more than any other.

Business ethics. Considering the lack of morality threatening to overtake us, learning to be “honest, fair and responsible” are refreshing traits to teach our kids. Doing the right thing and feeling good about a job well done does wonders to build confidence. Maybe some of these confident, ethical girls can teach a few things to our elected officials and one day run for office themselves!

Do yourself, your community and your future a favor — support a Girl Scout cookie dealer. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

LaMonique Hamilton Barnes is a reporter and copy editor for The Wilson Times. She blogs about arts and culture at iamlamonique.com.