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Edible Empowerment: Girl Scout Cookies Promote Leadership Skills, Confidence, and Responsibility

(left to right) Girl scout Susie Todd, troop leader Jenni Todd, and membership development specialist Kris Adams visit Sounds Good to talk about the ongoing cookie sale and its long-lasting impacts on the young girls who participate.

The Girl Scout cookie season is in full swing! Membership development specialist of Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, Kris Adams, troop leader Jenni Todd, and girl scout Susie Todd visit Sounds Good to discuss the long-lasting benefits of the organization and how to snag that last box of Samoas.

"I want to begin [with] what Girl Scouts do for our girls," Adams says. "Girl Scout cookie sales not only help support the troop and activities that they want to do, it also helps fund camps and programming that we can provide for these girls, as well as provide them with opportunities and experiences they may not have had otherwise."

The first known sale of Girl Scout cookies was in 1917. Although the tradition itself is significant, Adams explains that "this is more than just selling Girl Scout cookies. Girl Scout cookie sales is the number one girl-led business for girls across the world. We teach them to treat it like a business. We want them to learn money management skills. We want them to learn what it really feels like to run a business. When we are working with these girls to sell cookies, we want them to think of it as their own business. It's more than just selling cookies. It's really a learning opportunity for them."

Girl Scout troop leader and membership director of WKMS, Jenni Todd, describes her troop's process for planning the yearly sale. "We talk with the girls and have them vote on different things that we get to do, different badges that we get to work towards. Last year, [the girls] knew that once we sold Girl Scout cookies...we'd be able to plan a big event."

"They were able to choose from a lot of different options, and last year we chose to go horseback riding. They get that planning part of [the sale]. It's something they work toward throughout the year. Then they get that pay-off at the end. Not only that, but those amazing life skills...talking to strangers that you don't know when we're at cookie booths and money management skills."

The Bear Creek Service area currently has "15 troops right now selling Girl Scout cookies," Adams says. "For their troops, they've earned more than $13,000, and that's still with a month of cookie sales left to go. They are doing great things running that business. We couldn't be more proud of the girls and the troop leaders who are helping them."

Adams says that while the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana continue to see a growth in young participants, the organization can always use more volunteers. "We always have girls who want to participate in Girl Scouts. Sometimes we struggle getting those volunteers who want to come out and help lead a troop."

For those interested in volunteering with the Girl Scouts, Adams says, "they can give me a call [at] 270-908-4651. We can help them get started. We've got a really easy program to kind of help them get going. We kind of lead them along the way and guide them along the way. Even if they're a little nervous and thinking, 'oh, I don't know if I can do that,' we will help you do it."

"With girl scouting, to volunteer for this organization, you don't have to be a woman," Todd adds. "Men can help, too. Our first year, we had a male cookie chair. He did a great job. Anybody can be involved in this organization. We would love to have you, and we'd hope you consider it. Thank you to everyone who is supporting these young entrepreneurs because they are learning so much, and you're getting yummy cookies."

If you're still looking for a box (or two, or three) of those yummy cookies, Adam says they now have an app available for iPhone and Android that can help track down that last Thin Mints box. "It's called the Cookie Locator," Adams says. "Put in your zip code, and it will tell you all the locations where girls are going to be selling cookies."

"Generally, you can see girls selling cookies at Walmart and at Lowes. We'll have girls selling cookies at the mall in Paducah. All around our Bear Creek service area, which includes 13 counties, you're going to see girls at Walmart or Lowes or little mom-and-pop places. So when you get that cookie craving, you just punch that zip code into your cookie locator, and it will tell you where you can go buy cookies."

Tracy started working for WKMS in 1994 while attending Murray State University. After receiving his Bachelors and Masters degrees from MSU he was hired as Operations/Web/Sports Director in 2000. Tracy hosted All Things Considered from 2004-2012 and has served as host/producer of several music shows including Cafe Jazz, and Jazz Horizons. In 2001, Tracy revived Beyond The Edge, a legacy alternative music program that had been on hiatus for several years. Tracy was named Program Director in 2011 and created the midday music and conversation program Sounds Good in 2012 which he hosts Monday-Thursday. Tracy lives in Murray with his wife, son and daughter.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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