It’s that time of year again. It’s a new year, and to paraphrase the 1989 cult classic Troop Beverly Hills, “It’s cookie time!” They’ve been deep fried at state fairs and incorporated into a Sprinkles Ice Cream seasonal flavor. Everybody, it seems, has their favorite flavor. They’re sold in offices, in front of grocery stores, by the girls themselves, often with the support of parents, grandparents, and friends. Like them or not, they’re a part of the cultural landscape every midwinter.

“This cookie season is a landmark one for our iconic Girl Scout Cookie Program,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “In responding to an important consumer trend, we’ve brought back our delicious gluten-free cookie varieties, allowing even more cookie customers to indulge while supporting girls and their communities. And with Digital Cookie 2.0, Girl Scouts are able to further explore STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), while still engaging in more traditional, including door-to-door, sales and giving back to their communities.”

However, as an organization that keeps evolving (a Girl Scout organization in Western Washington recently refused a $100,000 donation from a donor that stipulated the funds not be used in support of transgender scouts), there are new changes to the cookie program every year, so examiner.com has listed some fun facts about Girl Scout Cookies you may not be familiar with.

To find cookies in your area, visit girlscoutcookies.org.

The tradition is almost a century old

The tradition is almost a century old Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts, used with permission

The tradition is almost a century old

The sale of cookies to finance troop activities and philanthropy began as early as 1917 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The cookies were home baked, and the girls sold them in their high school cafeteria. Girl Scouts were selling cookies as a fundraiser less than five years after the organization began in the United States.

Cookie sales teach five essential skills

Cookie sales teach five essential skills Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts, used with permission

Cookie sales teach five essential skills

In addition to raising money for their local troop, Girl Scouts learn five essential skills from the sale of cookies: Goal Setting, Decision Making, Money Management, People Skills, and Business Ethics. Buying a box of Girl Scout cookies helps prepare girls with the confidence, drive, and experience that they’ll need to succeed in whatever their chosen field may be.

You can donate cookies

You can donate cookies Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts, used with permission

You can donate cookies

Whether purchasing directly from your Girl Scout Troop or via their digital sales program Digital Cookie 2.0, newly upgraded this year, purchased boxes can be donated back to the Troop for them to donate as they see fit. Girl Scout Cookies often go to shelters, food pantries, and emergency relief organizations.

There's a whole weekend dedicated to Girl Scout Cookies

There’s a whole weekend dedicated to Girl Scout Cookies Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts, used with permission

There’s a whole weekend dedicated to Girl Scout Cookies

National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend is a new national holiday for Girl Scout Cookie fans and will take place February 26-28, 2016. This year, the weekend will honor girls who use their cookie revenue to benefit their communities, such as girls who fundraised to purchase a bulletproof vest for a female police officer to others who created care packages for patients at a children’s cancer center.

Cookie sales have gone digital

Cookie sales have gone digital Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts, used with permission

Cookie sales have gone digital

Using Digital Cookie 2.0, girls can track their sales, learn about running a business, set sales goals, and explore ways to invest their earnings in their communities. Over 90% of councils are using the Digital Cookie platform. Customers can use the Girl Scout Cookie Finder app to find girls selling cookies, or log on to girlscoutcookies.org. In 2015 350,000 orders for 2.5 million boxes of cookies were placed using Digital Cookie.

Girl Scout Cookies have a hashtag

Girl Scout Cookies have a hashtag Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts, used with permission

Girl Scout Cookies have a hashtag

Girls, parents, and customers can use the hashtag #CookieBoss to find stories about cookie sales, goal achievements, and community projects supported by cookie sales on social media.

There are gluten-free cookies

There are gluten-free cookies Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts, used with permission

There are gluten-free cookies

Two gluten-free Girl Scout cookie varieties were introduced last year, and they’re returning this year due to popular demand. The cookies are produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility and are NSF-certified to be gluten-free. The two flavors are Gluten-Free Trios, made with peanut butter, chocolate chips, butter, and gluten-free whole grain oats; and Gluten-Free Toffee-tastic, buttery cookies with golden toffee bits.

Girl Scout Cookies inspire girls to futures in STEM

Girl Scout Cookies inspire girls to futures in STEM Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts, used with permission

Girl Scout Cookies inspire girls to futures in STEM

Girl Scouts of the USA held the first-ever Girls’ STEM Summit at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year, where attendees discussed a future for girls in STEM and addressed gender barriers that start during childhood, in order to compel the next generation of women in STEM.

Cookie names vary regionally

Cookie names vary regionally Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts, used with permission

Cookie names vary regionally

In some parts of the country, they’re called Samoas, in others, they’re called Caramel deLites. Some buys may know them as Trefoils, while others may have grown up with Shortbread. Same with Peanut Butter Patties and Tagalongs. Different bakeries are the reason for the name variations, but the cookies are very similar despite the difference. A full listing of all the Girl Scout Cookies available this year can be found here.

Thin Mints are the most popular cookie

Thin Mints are the most popular cookie Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts, used with permission

Thin Mints are the most popular cookie

Thin Mints are the most popular cookie sold, and not surprisingly the most popular cookie sold through Digital Cookie last year. Perennially popular Samoas gave Thin Mints a run for their money, but the Gluten-Free Trios were also among the top-selling cookies last year.

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