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Courage, Confidence, Character and Cookies: The Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Selling Girl Scout cookies is often the first business and entrepreneurship opportunity young females have. Girls Scouts of Eastern South Carolina in Myrtle Beach teaches girls about business and so much more building tomorrow's strong women.

Many of today's doctors, lawyers, teachers, pilots, politicians or veterinarians were once Girl Scouts. Local law enforcement has said that that girls involved in a troop do not wind up on the wrong side of the law showing the positive influence Girl Scouts has on the women of tomorrow. "Girl Scouts mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character," says Communications Manager Donna Lee. "As far as what it teaches, those opportunities are endless."

Girl Scouts began in 1912 and has its roots in Savannah, Georgia. Any girl from Kindergarten through 12th grade can be a Girl Scout joining a local troop where they will earn badges for accomplishments, participate in groups meetings, go on field trips and attend summer camps. There are affordable annual dues to pay and the Girl Scout Promise and Law to share. All members recognize and adhere to safety guidelines, too.

Currently, there are 30,000 girls waiting to join a local Girl Scout troop. Volunteers are very much in need and must pass a background check. They are taught CPR, first aid and leadership training. Communications Manager Donna Lee explains: "Sadly enough, and not unique to Girl Scouts, we have far more girls wanting to join Girl Scouts than we have leaders with troops who can accommodate them. We are always reaching out to connect with adult volunteers. Anyone with the creativity, energy and drive to give that experience to a group of girls is qualified to be a leader or adult volunteer."

It's not just about sales and making money, it's about the skills and character development these girls learn that they can use throughout their lives. Decisions are a collective event where each girl gets to have her say. Whether at camp or though events, Girl Scouts learn about community and the environment while building lasting relationships with other troop members.

Back to those cookies, the main way Girl Scouts gets funds on the national level and for local troops. Lee notes, "There are five skills gained in the business model of selling Girl Scout cookies: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics- aspects essential to leadership, to success and to life." Girls today are savvy leaders, taking credit cards and each year further building up their cookie empire.

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