Tyler’s Lemonade Stand

If you were an adult in my world when I was a kid, you probably would have thought that I would have gone into sales. Now the thought of it kind of grosses me out. Why sales? I was a Girl Scout which means I sold Girl Scout cookies. I think the only reason I even stayed in the troop for the many years that I did was because of the competition (with myself and others) of selling Girl Scout cookies. I am not going to go into details, as I have other blog posts about that.

My elementary school also raised money by selling nuts and candy every year. I cannot even remember the prize — maybe it was just knowing I sold near if not at the top of my class. At the same time I also had my own paper route. I delivered the “The Star Press” which meant it was the evening/afternoon newspaper. (Thank goodness, as I am so not a morning person). Every few months our manager would ask us to go “canvassing” where basically he would take us to strange and sketchy neighborhoods, often at night and ask us to go door-to-door to see if we could get folks to sign up for the newspaper. That was the least glamorous of all the gigs even with the random prizes and money he would throw in each night to see who would be encouraged to try harder and come out on top. Mind you — I was nine at the time.

And, yet, I am not in sales and I do not even dream of ever being in sales as a career. (My dad would have been so bummed). I often wonder what propelled me to want to excel and do so well selling things door-to-door. I was not a crazy outgoing kid, but somehow going door-to-door, selling on college campuses, and the competition of it all was an adrenaline rush for me.

Fast forward to 2015 and I come across “Tyler’s Lemonade Stand Fundraiser.” Tyler lives in Grafton, NY and decided to raise money for a police sergeant that was battling cancer and could not work. See this video of the long line of police cars that come to pay Tyler a visit and show their support. So far Tyler has raised $1500. Amazing. Now that is sales and talent put to good use. You rock, Tyler.

Nostalgia of Girl Scout Cookies

I will always have fond memories of being a Girl Scout. I was pondering the impact it had on my elementary school days as I waited for Chris to break into our box of Samoas. You should have seen my face on Monday when I received my boxes of Girl Scout cookies. A huge smile, and pride for what those girls are hopefully learning about themselves, leadership, competition, friendship, and service.

There is a lot I do not remember, but I have tiny morsels of events from being a Brownie (pre-Girl Scout) and then the years I was a Girl Scout. I remember some of the ceremonies we had, that we each had to take turns bringing in the treat for our meetings each week, earning merit badges, and even dad and daughter campouts. I remember learning how to make blueberry muffins on an open fire by baking it in an orange peel. I know, strange that I remember that so vividly. I remember events my troop went to, prizes we won, and even scary moments, such as driving back from an event and almost getting hit by a drunk driver (seconds from impact).

However, what I remember most, and what was my absolute favorite month of the year was selling Girl Scout cookies. I was a fanatic. I lived, breathed, and slept with the idea of selling those sugar filled treasures. I mean, like Christmas, they only come once a year. Each year I attempted to sell more than the year before. I competed against myself and my own goals, the other girls in my troop, and the other girls in my county. See, I was a poor girl, and selling cookies not only benefited and gave funds back to my troop, but it meant winning prizes (such as tickets to a large amusement park, a TV, and a 12 speed bike). All things that were not in my realm or remotely accessible to me. So I sold, I charmed, I conquered. Want to see me in action?

I recently read this Fast Company article: “Lessons from Inside the $800 Million Girl Scout Cookie Selling Empire.” I agree with their five points discussing selling cookies, leadership, and entrepreneurship. It taught me a lot about what is mentioned in the article: money management (it felt like a lot of money to deal with at the time), overcoming shyness (that was never really an issue for me), business ethics (I sold ever single box, no help from the parents), setting goals (whatever the biggest prize was), and group decisions (not something I remember much about).

A message to little Girl Scouts out there: Make sure you make the sale and exchange the cash. Having your parents do it for you teaches you nada. While I am not one to encourage sugar indulgence, it is definitely hard to resist. Especially when you are walking into the grocery store. Go buy a box, and maybe let that girl creatively get you to buy two, three, or ten more.

What did you dream about?

What did you dream about? Not last night. And, not while you were sleeping. What did you dream about as a child? Did you think you could figure out how to make world peace happen? Or, find a way for women to be respected and not harmed? Or did you dream about having the white picket fence, 2.5 children, husband or wife, and a dog? Or was that the Barbie world of Ken dolls, Corvettes, and G.I. Joe? How about a dream of opening a bakery, or becoming a lawyer?

This Daily Worth article by Amanda Steinberg is a tribute to Jody Sherman, former CEO of ecomom.com. Jody recently took his own life. This is an excerpt from her tribute:

“Girls (so I thought) were supposed to dream about carpeted split-levels and baking cookies for their kids. As a 7 year-old, I’d fantasize about flying planes over Somalia to deliver food, or marching into Palestine to ask, Can we resolve this already? I feel most at home when I’m not home—out in the mess of the world, working on solutions to huge, systemic problems.”

Amanda’s look back at her childhood makes me think back to mine. My dreams ebbed and flowed. I did not have the wedding notebook, or dream about kids. I think the experiences I had as a child were a bit limited so I had no idea how much of the world I was truly missing out on. The memories I have of my dreams, were about writing and being an author (which I find so interesting today), being an artist, and being an entrepreneur. I think the art I did at school, selling Girl Scout cookies, canvasing for my paper route, and selling candies and nuts for school, made me think about what other kinds of business ideas I could come up with in the future. It is interesting to look back on what engaged me when I was young compared to where I am today.

I also remember having a dream to be able to take care of my family. For me that meant being able to pay my bills and having food on the table. Sometimes our dreams have more to do with what we do not have, and wanting the security and fulfillment to know we do not have to worry anymore. I am grateful that dream has come true.

Do you remember your childhood dreams?

“Year of the Girl”

Randomly the other day I was reading a publication for a time share company. An ad in this publication was for Girl Scouts. Having been a Girl Scout myself, I was interested. Upon further reading I realized that the ad was actually for: “Year of the Girl.” Girl Scouts are celebrating 100 years and they have dedicated 2012 as the Year of the Girl. What a cool idea. This year has been such a full year for women, it always reminds me that rights for women have come so far, but that we still have so much more to do for women’s rights!

This link on the Girl Scouts website, discusses the many thing that girls are doing in their community. Strong leaders, saving the earth, and many other success stories. I wanted to share a few nuggets of information from their website:

  • Only one in five girls believes she has what it takes to lead.
  • Fifty-nine percent of girls say the fashion industry makes them feel fat.
  • Eighty-five percent of middle-school students say they’ve been cyberbullied at least once.
  • Although more than 90 percent of girls in fourth grade want to continue studying math, by twelfth grade that number drops to 50 percent.

While I do not remember if my years as a Girl Scout taught me about leadership, I do remember many of the campouts, activities, merit badges, and friendships. Due to all that I learned, I am hopeful and confident that what the Girl Scouts organization is doing for girls today will help them to feel confident about themselves and create leaders for the future.

Go 2012! Go Year of the Girl!