From Girl Scout Cookies to Capitol Hill

Girl Scouts of the USA and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus host a event in the US Capitol on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leslie E. Kossoff/LK Photos)
From left to right: Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chavez, Girl Scout Marie Sgouros, Rep. Madeleine Bordallo, Girl Scout Helen Sgouros, Girl Scouts of the USA National President Connie Lindsey.

During the Girl Scout Cookie sale, girls earn funds for their Girl Scout activities and learn essential skills that help them throughout their lives—but that’s not all. The Girl Scout Cookie sale gives girls a unique opportunity to network and connect to their community.

This summer, Girl Scouts Helen and Marie ran a four week summer camp for Burmese-Chin refugee children in Catonsville for their Girl Scout Gold Award projects. The summer camp aimed to help the children improve their English speaking and reading skills, learn about American culture and acclimate to their new environment. Quite an undertaking for two girls, you might think. But, Helen and Marie had help from volunteers that had a special connection to the refugee children, all because of their efforts during the Girl Scout Cookie sale.

“We were going door-to-door with our mom selling Girl Scout Cookies in the neighborhood and told our customers that we were using the proceeds from the sale to help Burmese-Chin refugee children adjust to American culture and their new environment,” Marie said. “We were talking to a woman who lived just a couple of blocks over and explained the background of our Gold Award projects. It turned out that she was a volunteer as a tutor to Burmese teenage girls at her church!”

Through that connection Helen and Marie were able to meet the girls and discuss their project ideas and challenges. The girls volunteered during the summer camp and served as their translators for several of the children.

“Unless we had been out selling Cookies that day, we never would have met the woman or the girls who volunteered for us,” Helen said. “Having girls there who were Burmese and had the same background as the children was really helpful because they knew the Burmese culture and the difficulties the children might be facing adjusting to a new home.”

Earlier this year Helen and Marie were invited to present their Girl Scout Gold Award projects to members of Congress on Capitol Hill during a briefing of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. They said that the cookie sale prepared them for that experience as well.

“Participating in the cookie program also helped us gain skills we used in the presentation of our projects. Selling Girl Scout Cookies definitely prepares you for talking to people you don’t know and pitching your ideas,” Marie said.

So, when you’re out there selling Girl Scout Cookies, be sure to talk to your customers—tell them what you’re using the proceeds for and community service projects you’re working on. You never know where it might take you!

Categories: Community Service, Cookies, Gold Award

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