March 14, 2014

Cookie Controversy: Why I Say ‘No’ To Girl Scouts. ~ Jenna Backus

Girl Scout billboard

Lately I’ve received a bit of backlash, mostly in the form of “What the %*!^ is wrong with you?!” due to my particularly unique view on a beloved, not so trivial subject: Girl Scout cookies.

Now, my opinion below is not intended to offend, but simply question what seems to be overlooked by so many.

Every year in the dark depths of winter, humans everywhere find a beacon of light in the form of a form. Not just any form, but one that will bring them cookies in just a matter of months. I don’t know about you, but when I hear ‘cookies’ I think of a cozy kitchen with delicious smells and warm, soft treats emerging from the oven—not a box of sodium filled hard snacks with who knows what ingredients inside them.

Quite honestly, I just don’t get the hype. Are they really that good? I feel as though I could name 50 desserts that are astronomically better, store bought or not.

Or, do people buy them because it’s simply a cultural phenomenon turned seasonal event? Or, do they believe they’re supporting a good cause by doing so, which I personally hope is the case.

While by no means am I a self-proclaimed saint, I do believe I’m still human most days, which usually means I’m all about supporting a good cause that pulls at my heartstrings. I’m a firm believer that when you drive by a lemonade stand, you get out of your car and give those kids a dollar and some praise.

But as harsh as it may sound, the little I know about the Girl Scout cookie sales goes against any good cause I’d like to support.

A cause I’d like to support is youth entrepreneurship and empowerment. This means that one’s parents should not be taking forms into work in order to get their child a badge. What is that badge supposed to represent, exactly? Perhaps we should all ask the girl in California (now SHE is going places, maybe we should all Tag-A-Long!).

Another great cause which I have supported for years is youth health and wellness. Perhaps it’s just my personal belief, but the youth probably shouldn’t make a habit of eating whatever is in those “cookies” if we want them to grow up to be strong, powerful women like the boxes suggest—especially if one serving size includes only two quarter-sized cookies reigning in at 200 calories. Turns out thin mints aren’t so thin!

Whatever cause cookie buyers believe they are supporting is fine, but do they really know where their money is going? Back to the Girl Scouts? That would be great—but what do the girl scouts do besides sell cookies? Unless you were once one or have a child who was, you probably don’t know. So, I’m writing this not to sound ignorant or bitter, but to have someone tell us, really tell us, what is so great about the girl scouts? There has to be something.

I was once a “brownie”, but I truly couldn’t tell you a single thing I learned from it. Perhaps I was too busy chasing boys on the playground and designing my Barbie dream house, but to me that is a major fail. I do remember the sports I played, the summer camps I attended and even the extra writing courses in which my dorky self was enrolled.

The Girl Scouts have an amazing opportunity to make a difference just as many other youth programs do. They are an incredibly large, well-known organization, with what some believe to be a successful fundraising campaign.

But, I challenge them to come up with a better campaign through their efforts.

Tell us, what are you doing with those values branded on those boxes of baked goods?

Please, change my mind. I want to hear more stories of Girl Scout graduates making it through the ranks and making a difference.

Make me a cookie I want to eat, and give me a cause I want to support. The youth of America deserve to be a part of something special—I want to know what that special something is (besides Samoa flavored ice cream).


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Editorial Assistant: Paige Vignola / Editor: Renee Picard

Images: Incase / Hinnosaar at Flickr

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