Girl Scouts

I am writing this column in praise of Girl Scout cookies.

This is not just because we are quickly coming up on the one hundredth anniversary of Girl Scouting (mark your calendars: March 12, 2012!). And it is not just because the Girl Scouts are one of the most inclusive, accepting, and character-building organizations out there. (Unlike other, similar organizations, the Girl Scouts don’t judge a girl because of her sexuality or religion—or even her lack of religion. In fact, in earlier days they were among the first to stop judging girls based on race; no less a person than Martin Luther King, Jr. himself described the Girl Scouts as a “force for desegregation.”) And, believe it or not, it’s not because the Girl Scouts have recently come under attack from the nut jobs in the Christian Right, who interpret their policy of teaching girls “honesty, fairness, courage, compassion, character, sisterhood, and confidence” as just another sneaky way to turn girls into feminists. (Although, if you believe the Christian Right’s definition of feminism—the radical notion that women are equal to men—then I guess they’re right: the Girl Scouts are pushing a “feminist” agenda. And I couldn’t be happier.) And, finally, it’s not even because my Great Aunt Lu, one of the strongest, most determined women I ever knew, considered herself to be a Girl Scout from the time she joined in the early 1920s to the moment she died a few years back.

No, the real reason I am writing this column in support of Girl Scout cookies is because I really, really, loves me some Samoas. (Sure, I love Thin Mints, too. And Tagalongs, Do-Si-Dos, and yes, even Trefoils—but my first love will always be the Samoa.) And it’s the actual loving part of Girl Scout cookies that is the most important to me, because, unlike all of the other products I have ever been asked to help sell to raise funds for my children’s activities, (popcorn, wrapping paper, mexican dinners, wrapping paper, frozen cookie dough, wrapping paper, magazines, wrapping paper, calendars, wrapping paper), Girl scout cookies have been, by far, the easiest to sell. Believe me: no one has ever come knocking at my door at ten o’clock at night looking to place a last minute subscription for Marie Claire. I have had that experience, however, with Thin Mints.

There has also never been a fund-raising event that has even come close to Girl Scout cookies when it comes to organization and efficiency, which is an incredible bonus. The Girl Scout cookie selling machine—there’s no other way to describe it—is such a well-oiled one that I have no doubt that when the time finally comes to have our first female president, she will be a proud former Girl Scout.

Of course, it hasn’t always been that easy: my Great Aunt Lu used to tell me that when she was a young Girl Scout there were no boxed cookies—the expectation was that after you took the orders you (or more likely, your mother) would then have to bake them. “But what if your mother was a terrible baker?” I asked her. “Well, then,” she said, “you didn’t sell many cookies.”

Fortunately, however (for all of us Samoa lovers), this is no longer the case. So while there’s still a few weeks left in cookie season, do the Girl Scouts (and yourself) a favor, and make a commitment to buy a box the next time you see that table set up outside the grocery store. (And don’t give me any of this “gluten free” or “low carb” crap—you do know that you can buy a box from the Girl Scouts and ask them to donate it to a worthy cause for you, right? That’s what I thought.)

I’m sure the future Madame President will thank you.

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