The Girl Scouts’ Disappointing New Business Model

The Girl Scouts’ Disappointing New Business Model

If you frequent the grocery store, you have probably noticed the variety of products labeled,   “Contains Real Girl Scout Cookies.” Everything from ice cream to Nestle Crunch Bars is now co-branded with Girl Scout cookies.  This mass distribution and leverage of the Girl Scout Cookie brand is undoubtedly an economic boon for the Girl Scouts of America’s finances.

However, what’s good for the Girl Scouts of America Inc. is bad for Girl Scouts. As the father of two girls who benefited tremendously from selling Girl Scout cookies, I am not particularly excited about this change. I saw both my children muster up the courage to walk up to a stranger’s door and ask for a sale. I watched them both gain confidence and poise from this process. I watched them set goals and work to achieve them. I saw their troop bond and pull towards a common goal. I saw the troop use the monies earned from selling cookies for a special troop event. With Girl Scout cookie flavors easily available from grocery stores instead of Girl Scouts, I worry that this time-honored tradition may die.

girl scout biz model

I have no statistics, but I am certain that the proliferation of Girl Scout cookies in dozens of products will cut into the special “only available once a year” nature of the cookies. Many people used to look forward to Girl Scout cookie season and make large purchases to get them through the eleven months they weren’t available. The local scouts and troops benefited from the demand for Girl Scout cookies.

Now, that demand is being pushed towards products that benefit the national organization at the expense of the local chapters. Even if the new system generates more profits than the old system, what does this say about the priorities of The Girl Scouts of America? By diminishing the demand for door to door cookie sales, the national leadership is choosing profits over the personal development of the very young women they serve.

This brand-lending by the Girl Scouts may be a necessity of the times. However, I encourage the Girl Scouts to create new traditions that replace the character-building effect lost as cookie season goes away.


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