Girl Scouts in the region will be ringing in the New Year by putting their entrepreneurial and leadership skills to work through the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

Girl Scouts in the region will be ringing in the New Year by putting their entrepreneurial and leadership skills to work through the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

January 2012 marks the beginning of the 100th anniversary of the organization, and Girl Scouts of all ages will be celebrating with cookies. Girls will begin taking orders for these ‘cookies with a mission’ on Jan. 14 and continue through Jan. 29.

The cost of the cookies will remain $3.50 per box with proceeds supporting local troops and programs for the girls. The classics such as Do-si-Dos, Dulce de Leche, Samoas, Tagalongs, Thank You Berry Munch, Thin Mints and Trefoils will return, along with a new flavor that is sure to be a favorite among cookie enthusiasts. In honor of the 100th anniversary, Girl Scouts is introducing a new cookie called Savannah Smiles that will take the place of the Lemon Chalet Crèmes from previous years. Savannah Smiles will help commemorate the rich history of Girl Scouting by honoring the birthplace of the organization, Savannah, Ga., and by reminding everyone of that world-famous “Brownie Smile.” As in previous years, Girl Scout cookies remain trans fat free.

The Cookie Program is an important part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.

“Through Girl Scouting, girls learn to be leaders in their daily lives and prepare for bright futures. The Girl Scout Cookie program is a great way to help girls develop five key skills: Goal Setting, Decision Making, Money Management, People Skills, and Business Ethics,” explains Diamonds Council CEO, Denise Stewart.

For nearly 100 years, the Girl Scout Cookie Program has proven to be a successful tool in promoting leadership among girls, while encouraging creativity and fun. Stewart, notes, “Girl Scouts are part of a team during the cookie sale, all working towards a common goal, with all girls striving to do their best. Girls are able to earn money towards fun and exciting Girl Scout activities, as well as, contribute to their Council’s ability to provide Girl Scouting in the community.”

As the organization embarks on its 100th anniversary, it is important to note that the Cookie Program has been around for most of its existence. In 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts, members of an Oklahoma Troop began baking cookies in their kitchens to sell at their school cafeteria as a way to raise money for their activities. As early as the 1930s, Girl Scouts were selling commercially-baked cookies in that now-famous Trefoil shape.

“The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the country and generates immeasurable benefits for girls, their Councils and communities nationwide. Girls set cookie goals to support their chosen activities for the year, to fund community service and leadership projects, to attend camp, to travel near and far, and to provide events for girls in their community,” said Stewart.

For individuals who are not cookie fans, but want to support Girl Scouts, there are the Gift of Caring and Cookies to Troops programs, which allow consumers to donate boxes of Girl Scout cookies to good causes. Gift of Caring benefits a cause that the specific troop has chosen, such as a children’s home, animal shelter, etc. When consumers purchase cookies for Gift of Caring, the Girl Scout troop will deliver the boxes of cookies to the chosen location(s). Cookies to Troops is the Council-wide Gift of Caring initiative, which is structured as a virtual donation. Through the Cookies to Troops initiative, consumers may purchase cookies and the Girl Scouts – Diamonds Council bakers, Little Brownie Bakers, will coordinate the shipment of donated cookies to approved military bases overseas.

For more information on purchasing cookies, contact the local Girl Scout office at 800-632-6894, or visit www.girlscoutsdiamonds.org