Girl Scouts get grand surprise!

0
255
Scouts1web.JPG

BY COLLEEN JANSSEN: Cue the sad music: Girl Scout cookies sales for 2017 have ended.

The annual event concluded March 12 nationwide.

At Westminster Mall, Troop 629 from Garden Grove was set up and ready near the inside Westminster Mall entrance for Target to sell cookies from 11 a.m. to 1:30 pm. The tablecloth with the Girls Scouts logo was draped over the tables. Signs explaining the program were displayed on the table top. A giant cookie box was installed next to the display, and the Scouts were ready.

BY COLLEEN JANSSEN: Cue the sad music: Girl Scout cookies sales for 2017 have ended.

The annual event concluded March 12 nationwide.

At Westminster Mall, Troop 629 from Garden Grove was set up and ready near the inside Westminster Mall entrance for Target to sell cookies from 11 a.m. to 1:30 pm. The tablecloth with the Girls Scouts logo was draped over the tables. Signs explaining the program were displayed on the table top. A giant cookie box was installed next to the display, and the Scouts were ready.

Then, a completely unexpected event occurred. David Vu showed up and asked if he could buy 18 boxes of the tasty treats.  The girls were thrilled. It was a big sale, a really-big sale.

Vu left, went to an ATM and returned. This time, he bought the 27 remaining boxes on the table. Just when the girls were using higher math skills to figure out his cost, he threw in a donation of $65 for the troop.

“He paid $290,” said Daniel Swett, father of two of the Scouts.

“I do it every year,” said Vu. “I find out when the last week of cookie sales is and spend $3,000 to $4,000 each year buying cookies.”

When asked “Why?” Vu replied “Why not?”

“I know how it feels to set a goal and sell,” Vu continued. “I don’t want them to be in a mall all day. It’s a good cause, but I want kids to be active. I like the program. It gives them a sense of achievement; the chance to meet a goal.”

“I’ve been doing this since 2012. I like to do random things every day.”

So, what constitutes a random thing? For Vu, it’s things like buying out a cookie booth or, maybe, raising a duck.

“I started raising ducks. My rooster died, so now I have a duck named Waffles,” Vu continued. “I already looked it up. Ducks can’t eat the cookies; there’s too much sugar.”

So, what do you do with 45 boxes of cookies? Vu is an insurance services coordinator at AAA. He plans to bring them to the office to share with his coworkers. 

“I also pass them out to random people. I give them to homeless people and anyone I meet.” Vu waved goodbye and thanked the Scouts for their work,

“I’m going to look for more Scouts selling outside a grocery store and buy all of their cookies next.”

The girls reminded him that another group of scouts were due to arrive later that day to set up the table outside Target and sell their troop’s cookies.

Sisters Samantha, 10, and Megan Swett, 8, were still excited after Vu was gone.

“We couldn’t believe it,” said Samantha. “He bought half, then came back.” 

Samantha is an expert cookie-seller, having participated in the program for five years. She showed the patches on her vest that she earned last year for selling many cookies.

“This one is for earning the Smart Cookie badge,” said Samantha, a Junior Girl Scout.  “It’s for participating in cookie sales and learning the skills needed to sell cookies.”

She also had patches for selling more than 200 boxes, selling online, attending the cookie rally to get pumped up for selling, selling 50 boxes as a goal-getter, a cookie booth badge, Cookie Share for donating cookies to others, and the Inchworm Badge for service in the community. The entire back of her vest was filled with patches.

“The biggest sale we had before today was 12 boxes,” said Megan, a Brownie, participating for her second year. “A relative bought them.”

Asked about their favorite cookies, Megan was quick, “I like Thanks-A-Lots. They are shortbread with chocolate on the bottom.” Samantha’s favorite is “Caramel deLites. They have caramel, coconut and chocolate.”

Their parents, Lisa and Daniel, are active with the troop. Mom helped at the booth, while dad, who works for a forensic software company, is the cookie coordinator for the troop. Both are proud of their daughters and their cookie sales.

So, what happens with the money Troop 629 raises? “We are debating in our troop,” said Samantha. “We might go to Camp Sherman, a Girl Scout camp, or maybe, Mammoth for a weekend.”

This troop is active, having helped the homeless by preparing toiletry kits. They work to earn patches, sell cookies, and spend time having fun with their Girl Scout friends.

“We have 20,000 girls and 14,000 adults in Girl Scouts of Orange County,” said Emma Donahue, marketing manager. “Our coordinator here today is Marti O’Neill. She oversees 66 troops with 850 girls, along with overseeing the Cookie Cupboard in Cypress.”

“The first three days, we moved out 1,4000 cases of cookies each day, and restocked those cases each day,” said O’Neill. “All work is done by volunteers.”

“I like doing this work. It gives me a more community-wide understanding. I get to meet and talk to the troops when they pick up their cookies,” said O’Neill.

 “We are always looking for volunteers who want to build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place,” said Donahue.

 “If someone has an interest, we can find a place for them,” said O’Neill. “We also need people who can help with STEM topics and the creative arts programs. We can always use cookie warehouse volunteers, people to speak at events, people who can give girls career tours of their business, help with the Lego robotics program and the Raspberry Pi coding program.”

For more information on any topics related to Girl Scouting or for volunteer information, check their website: GirlScoutsOC.org.