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.

Anything.

A few months ago I finished reading: “The Advantage” by Patrick Lencioni. There was one particular quote that resonated with me. It reminds me of previous job situations and how we sometimes really do not know our bosses or employees well. Should we?

“A friend of mine worked for a management consulting firm for about six years. He was paid well, but after putting up with as much neglect and politics as he could stand, he finally decided to leave. When he was called in for his exit interview with a senior manager who had never taken an interest in him before, he was asked, ‘What could we have done to keep you here longer?’ My friend was a little stunned by the hollowness of the question. After a moment, he just smiled and replied, ‘Anything’.” (page 168)

I love this. It actually brings tears to my eyes, and for those of you that might read my blog regularly, tears do not flow that freely for me. It has to affect me either deeply, or in a way I would not normally expect. Usually the unexpected emotion means it hits a part of me that understands and relates. I wonder how many of us could say the same thing as this individual, that they could have done anything to keep us. I could count more than my fingers and my toes the number of people in my life that have felt this way. Is it because at a deep level we all want to feel valued and appreciated? Even in just the smallest of ways?

Yes. Should that be that hard to make happen in any and all organizations? No. Feeling valued and appreciated on a daily basis to me is like drinking water, when you are parched, dehydrated, thirsty, all it takes is a glass of water. It nourishes us and helps to quench our thirst. We are relieved and refreshed. A little appreciation goes a long way, it nourishes and hydrates us for a long time. What are you doing to share your gratitude and appreciation to your co-workers, employees, and even your boss? Do you think about the reciprocal potential of sharing your appreciation to leadership, peers, and direct reports? It is a two-way street.

It amazes me how easy we can reach out to another person in our life. Do something. Do anything.

“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!