Monday, January 25, 2010

Confessions of a Girl Scout Leader

I could call this blog, "Confessions of a Girl Scout Leader."  I don't have anything particularly titillating to share, (GS frowns on stuff like that.) but sometimes being a GS leader seems to take over my life.  If it's not related to tonight's meeting or to this weekend's event or to cookie sales for the next three months, then it's not getting done.

I have only seven girls in my troop, and two of those are sisters, meaning that they are hitting up the same relatives and family friends for cookies.  This year, my girls just sold 854 boxes during the individual sales part of cookie sales -- that's the door-to-door part.  I'm astounded.  Maybe they did better this year than last because I scared the bejeebers out of them with the grim predictions about booth sales.  Anyway,  854 boxes of cookies is a per girl average of 122 boxes, and that doesn't include booth sales, which don't start for 3 weeks.

Once cookies are bought, there's no returning them, so any cookies left unsold by the end of March are cookies that my troop has to pay for.  That's $2.90/box that I have to send to Council to reconcile my troop's account.  Here's the part that has my heart pounding and my stomach clenching:  I ordered 586 boxes for booth sales.  And as mentioned, the predictions are grim and the competition is fierce for the few locations we have.  Last year, we got burned.  I followed the  advice of experienced leaders and ordered a good number of boxes for booth sales, and we ended up with over 30 unsold -- and that was after I debased myself in any number of ways, one box at a time.  Do the math...  Not only didn't we get to keep the profits from those boxes, but we also had to use our profits to pay for the cookies.  And we didn't have a lot of profits to begin with.

So why did I order 586 boxes for booth sales this year?  What possessed me to do that which causes me to wake up overnight with panic attacks?  Because my co-leaders are sure we're going to sell them.  All.  And have to get more before booth sales are done.  Oh, my little Pollyannas!  Did you learn nothing from last year's ordeal?  Well, neither did I, apparently, because I placed the order.  On February 4th, I will load 120 cases (1,440 boxes) of Girl Scout Cookies into the back of my minivan.  And pray.  (Is it blasphemous to pray to sell 586 boxes of cookies?  I worry.)

You might ask why we need to sell so many boxes.  Aren't we just being greedy?  The answer is:  My girls have plans.  My girls want to do things.  My girls have no clue how much stuff costs.  They need to earn to pay:

• the full fee for the Lighthouse Overnight in April ($150)
• the 2nd donation in Matthew Ennis' name to the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation ($25)
• each girl's Early Bird registration fee for next year ($84)
• SU Encampment ($100)
• World Thinking Day ($28)

That alone takes $387 of the $512.40 profit from individual sales.  But the balance from individual sales plus booth sales profits also need to cover:

• snacks for the remainder of the year
• crafts for the remainder of the year
• awards for the remainder of the year
• end-of-year "wish list" item:  that fun pool place in Calvert County
• end-of-year "wish list" item:  Build-A-Bear
• end-of-year "wish list" item:  final party
• end-of-year "wish list" item:  ???

I love Girl Scouting.  I love that my girls are learning about budgeting and having a work ethic.  I could wish for some anonymous philanthropist to take it upon him/herself to support my troop.  Then the cookie money would be gravy.

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