Girl Scout cookies are here. I repeat, Girl Scout cookies are here.
Girl Scout cookie selling booths are open already in select areas, and more are coming by the end of January and early February. Additionally, Girl Scouts are already busy taking online orders and making deliveries, and some girls are getting swamped.
“I did four or five [deliveries] today and a lot yesterday, and I have 20 more to do,” Oak Cliff resident and Girl Scout Penelope Trujillo said. “I get like four or five more [orders] each day.”
The pandemic makes cookie selling this year much more difficult to accomplish while abiding by health and safety guidelines, so the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX) has had to get creative. This year, Girl Scouts are partnering with Grubhub to fulfill contact-free orders in select areas, and the Digital Cookie platform allows customers to order cookies from a specific troop and get them delivered to their door by Girl Scouts. Grubhub is already live for people to preorder cookies, and the Digital Cookie platform goes live Feb. 1, but customers can fill out an online contact form to get in touch with a Girl Scout directly.
“Cookie selling teaches [Girl Scouts] so much about leadership, confidence, self esteem, being confident taking risks,” GSNETX CEO Jennifer Bartkowski said. “It’s a really crucial part of our programming, and it’s so important that we were able to find a way to continue it this year.”
Where possible, in-person booths are open too, and more are opening on Jan. 29. So far, only family booths have been allowed, but starting Friday, troop booths will be outside local partners where COVID-19 restrictions allow. To find a booth, you can type in your zip code on the Cookie Finder website, download the Girl Scout Cookie Finder app or text COOKIES to 59618. All cookie sellers and booths have to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines, including mask-wearing, social distancing and plenty of sanitization.
“We’re excited to be out and about and instill some sense of normalcy again with cookie selling,” Bartkowski said. “I think there’s a lot of positivity and a lot of interest circulating. There’s a lot of buzz about it right now.”
New this year, GSNETX is also partnering with autonomous driving technology company Waymo. So far, GSNETX has used Waymo Via, Waymo’s trucking and delivery service, to transport Girl Scout cookies between warehouses in south Dallas.
“It’s a brand new thing, and we’re super excited about this opportunity,” Bartkowski said. “It’s cool to get to partner with something so modern, and it’s a great opportunity for our girls to connect to the STEM field.”
Girl Scouts are also a partner of Waymo’s Let’s Talk Autonomous Driving (LTAD) initiative, which “supports public dialogue around and understanding of autonomous driving technology.” LTAD is GSNETX’s first STEM-focused education partner.
“It’s giving [girls] the opportunity to understand the background needed to invent and work in that space,” Bartkowski said. “Waymo approached us and they were really excited about the partnership and the STEM program because it connects [girls] to emerging technologies and gets them excited about tech and STEM. They’re also interested in ensuring that women are a part of this future workforce pipeline, so we’re really excited about it.”
There have been a lot of changes to Girl Scouts programming and cookie selling this year, but the Girl Scouts are just happy to feel like a part of the program again.
“We like to sell cookies and have fun with each other,” Preston Hollow resident and Girl Scout Tamara Podolsky said. “I actually enjoy it.”
“I love selling cookies because you get to interact with customers, even though it’s hard with COVID,” Trujillo said. “It’s like, fun. Really fun.”