Girl Scouts like their cut of the dough

February 10, 1997


Staff Writer

Girl Scout leaders in the Tri-State area say they feel satisfied with their troops' cut of cookie sale profits.

Unlike leaders of 27 troops in southern New Jersey, who engaged in a selling slowdown in January to protest their council's refusal to give them an extra dime per box, local troop leaders said they have no complaints about their return on sales.

Girl Scouts in Mount Laurel, N.J., a middle-class suburb of Philadelphia, earn 50 cents on each $3 box of cookies they sell. That's 10 cents a box more than last year's share, but 10 cents short of what Mount Laurel Girl Scout Community Coordinator Jan Snyder wanted.

Snyder argued that the South Jersey Pines Council, which gets $1.69 per box and uses the money, in part, to maintain three Scout camps, was keeping too much of the proceeds. The remaining 81 cents per box goes to the bakery.


Area troop leaders were unsympathetic.

"I think it's a shame. I think they need to realize the council is doing a lot for them," said Kelly Waltz, co-leader of the new Troop 40 in Maugansville. "I have no problem with what we're getting ... I think it's fair."

Waltz's troop, which includes her daughters Angela, 8, and Sarah, 7, sold 88 cases - 1,056 boxes - of Girl Scout cookies in January, she said.

The Shawnee Girl Scout Council, with headquarters in Martinsburg, W.Va., sells cookies for $2.50 a box.

The girls earn 45 cents for each box they sell up to 85 boxes; 50 cents for each box after that up to 200 boxes; and 55 cents per box beyond that, said Dee Covey, executive director of the Shawnee Council.

The cookie company gets 86 cents of each sale and the council takes the remainder, between $1.09 and $1.19, Covey said.

The Shawnee Council oversees about 480 troops with 5,500 Girl Scouts in Western Maryland, West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, part of Bedford County, Pa., and Northern Virginia.

Last year the troops made about $190,000 and the council got $473,440.22, Covey said. Sales figures weren't available for this year.

The council uses its share of the cookie proceeds to publish and distribute its newsletter to troops, to provide financial aid for troops and Scouts to participate in activities and to maintain a camp in Capon Bridge, W.Va., she said.

Covey said she has heard no complaints on the council's recipe for cookie profit-sharing.

"Our membership really knows where the money goes. The board of directors is very open," she said.

Waltz said that in the past year she has gone to three free council-sponsored training seminars - on leadership, camp certification and cookie sales.

The council also provides financial aid for troops and girls who can't afford to participate in some Girl Scout activities, Waltz said.

Troop 40 will use the money it has made selling cookies to help pay for the girls' trip to Washington, D.C., on May 31 for a sing-a-long celebrating the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Girl Scouts, a weekend camping trip and picnic meetings in the summer, she said.

The cookies were sold door-to-door from Jan. 1 to Jan. 25, and will be sold in booths at selected locations in March. Cookie sales are the Girl Scouts' biggest fund-raising event, Covey said.

The days of Girl Scouts, who range in age from 5 to 17 years, ringing doorbells to sell cookies may be rapidly ending because of increasing concerns for the girls' safety.

"There is more of a trend to booth sales," Covey said. "It's just not a safe world anymore."

Some troop leaders and Scouts descend on neighborhoods as a group in "cookie vans."

Waltz said her daughters sold cookies through their church, their father took an order form to work and she accompanied the girls to some neighbors' homes.

"I wouldn't take them to someone's house I didn't know," she said.

Thin mints are the best-selling Girl Scout cookie and the fourth best-selling cookie among all cookie brands, Covey said.

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