Girl Scout Cookies are cookies sold by Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) as one of its major fundraisers for local Scout units. Members of the GSUSA have been selling cookies since 1917 to raise funds. Girls who participate can earn prizes for their efforts. There are also unit incentives if the unit as a whole does well. As of 2007, sales were estimated at about 200 million boxes per year.
Girl Scout Cookie History
- 1910s: Girl Scout Cookies had their earliest beginnings in the kitchens and ovens of our girl members, with moms volunteering as technical advisers. The sale of cookies as a way to finance troop activities began as early as 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouts in the United States, when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project.
- 1920s: In July 1922, The American Girl magazine, published by Girl Scouts of the USA, featured an article by Florence E. Neil, a local director in Chicago, Illinois. Miss Neil provided a cookie recipe that had been given to the council's 2,000 Girl Scouts. She estimated the approximate cost of ingredients for six- to seven-dozen cookies to be 26 to 36 cents. The cookies, she suggested, could be sold by troops for 25 or 30 cents per dozen.
Throughout the decade, Girl Scouts in different parts of the country continued to bake their own simple sugar cookies with their mothers and with help from the community. These cookies were packaged in wax paper bags, sealed with a sticker, and sold door to door for 25 to 35 cents per dozen.
- 1930s: In 1933, Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council baked cookies and sold them in the city's gas and electric company windows. The price was just 23 cents per box of 44 cookies, or six boxes for $1.24! Girls developed their marketing and business skills and raised funds for their local Girl Scout council. A year later, Greater Philadelphia took cookie sales to the next level, becoming the first council to sell commercially baked cookies.
In 1935, the Girl Scout Federation of Greater New York raised money through the sale of commercially baked cookies. Buying its own die in the shape of a trefoil, the group used the words “Girl Scout Cookies” on the box. In 1936, the national Girl Scout organization began the process of licensing the first commercial bakers to produce cookies that would be sold nationwide by girls in Girl Scout councils.
Enthusiasm for Girl Scout Cookies spread nationwide. By 1937, more than 125 Girl Scout councils reported holding cookie sales.
- 1940s: Girl Scout Cookies were sold by local councils around the country until World War II, when sugar, flour, and butter shortages led Girl Scouts to pivot, selling the first Girl Scout calendars in 1944 as an alternative to raise money for activities.
After the war, cookie sales increased, and by 1948, a total of 29 bakers were licensed to bake Girl Scout Cookies.
- 1950s: In 1951, Girl Scout Cookies came in three varieties: Sandwich, Shortbread, and Chocolate Mints (now known as Thin Mints). With the advent of the suburbs, girls at tables in shopping malls began selling Girl Scout Cookies.
Five years later, flavors had evolved. Girl Scouts sold four basic types of cookies: a vanilla-based filled cookie, a chocolate-based filled one, shortbread, and a chocolate mint. Some bakers also offered another optional flavor.
- 1960s: During the 1960s, when Baby Boomers expanded Girl Scout membership, cookie sales increased significantly. Fourteen licensed bakers were mixing batter for thousands upon thousands of Girl Scout Cookies annually. And those bakers began wrapping Girl Scout Cookie boxes in printed aluminum foil or cellophane to protect the cookies and preserve their freshness.
By 1966, a number of varieties were available. Among the best sellers were Chocolate Mint (now known as Thin Mints), Shortbread, and Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies.
- 1970s: In 1978, the number of bakers was streamlined to four to ensure lower prices and uniform quality, packaging, and distribution. For the first time in history, all cookie boxes—regardless of the baker—featured the same designs and depicted scenes of Girl Scouts in action, including hiking and canoeing. And in 1979, the brand-new, Saul Bass–created Girl Scout logo appeared on cookie boxes, which became even more creative and began promoting the benefits of Girl Scouting.
Girl Scout Cookies for sale during the 1970s included Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos®, and Shortbread/Trefoils® cookies, plus four additional choices.
- 1980s: In 1982, four bakers still produced a maximum of seven varieties of cookies—three mandatory (Thin Mint®, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos®, and Shortbread/Trefoils®) and four optional. Cookie boxes depicted scenes of Girl Scouts in action.
- 1990s: In the early 1990s, two licensed bakers supplied local Girl Scout councils with cookies for girls to sell, and by 1998, this number had grown again to three. Eight cookie varieties were available, including low-fat and sugar-free selections.
GSUSA also introduced official age-appropriate awards for Girl Scout Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, and Seniors, including the Cookie Activity pin, which was awarded for participating in the cookie sale.
- 2000s: Early in the twenty-first century, every Girl Scout Cookie had a mission. New cookie box designs, introduced in fall of 2000, were bold and bright, capturing the spirit of Girl Scouting. Two licensed bakers produced a maximum of eight varieties, including three that were mandatory (Thin Mints®, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos®, and Shortbread/Trefoils®). All cookies were kosher. And, much to the excitement of our youngest Girl Scouts, Daisies started selling cookies!
- 2010s: With the announcement of National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend (the next one is February 23–25, 2018) and the introduction of our very first gluten-free Girl Scout Cookie, the decade was off to a big start. But the really big news was the launch of the Digital Cookie® platform in 2014. A fun, safe, and interactive space for girls to sell cookies, Digital Cookie takes the iconic cookie program digital and introduces Girl Scouts to vital 21st century lessons about online marketing, app usage, and ecommerce. But most importantly, Digital Cookie retains the one-to-one personal approach to selling that is essential to the success of the program and the girls who participate.
- Today: Who can forget the amazing moment in 2016 when Girl Scouts took the stage at the Academy Awards to sell cookies to Hollywood’s A-list? It was a stellar beginning to the nationwide celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts selling cookies. The centennial festivities continued with the introduction of Girl Scout S’mores™. Paying homage to an iconic Girl Scout outdoor tradition— Girl Scout S’mores quickly became the most popular new cookies to launch in our history. As the largest entrepreneurial program for girls in the world, the Girl Scout Cookie Program is powering the next century of girl entrepreneurs toward greatness.
List of Girl Scout Cookies
|Thin Mints||Crisp wafers covered in chocolaty coating. Made with natural oil of peppermint.|
|Girl Scout S'mores||Crunchy graham sandwich cookies with creamy chocolate and marshmallowy filling.|
|Samoas||Crisp cookies, coated in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut, and striped with dark chocolaty coating.|
|Tagalongs||Crispy cookies layered with peanut butter and covered with a chocolaty coating.|
|Trefoils||Delicate-tasting shortbread that is delightfully simple and satisfying.|
|Do-Si-Dos||Crunchy oatmeal sandwich cookie with creamy peanut butter filling.|
|Toffee-tastic||Indulgently rich, buttery cookies with sweet, crunchy golden toffee bits. A gluten-free variety offered only in select markets for as long as supplies last.|
|Lemonades||A Shortbread cookie with lemon icing|
- All Abouts
- Aloha Chips
- Apple Cinnamons
- Dulce de Leche
- Mango Cremes with Nutrifusion
- Rah-Rah Raisins
- Shout Outs!
- Savannah Smiles
- Thank U Berry Munch
- Double Dutch
Where the Money Goes
When you buy delicious Girl Scout Cookies, you’re helping to power new, unique and amazing experiences for girls—experiences that broaden their worlds, help them learn essential life skills, and prepare them to practice a lifetime of leadership. And guess what—100 percent of the money stays local! That means you’re not only supporting girls’ success, but the success of your community too—sweet!
Whether it’s a trip to a breathtaking place they’ve never been before, an opportunity to attend Girl Scout camp and revel in the power of the great outdoors, or the chance to try something new, every experience helps them find the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™within to do amazing things for herself and for her community.
Our cookies are on a mission: to help girls learn five skills that are essential to leadership, to success, and to life.
Skill #1—Goal Setting
"I know I can do it!"
“We're all about trying new things and having fun. Selling cookies is about both. My friends and I work together to set our team goal for the season; maybe we'll donate to our local animal hospital or go on an adventure. Sure, selling the cookies is great. But what we do with the money we earn is even greater.”
Skill #2—Decision Making
"I make smarter decisions."
“When I sell cookies with my Girl Scout forever friends, we make our own decisions, like how many boxes we want to sell. We all have to agree on what we'll do with the money, which means talking it out and being okay not getting our way sometimes. And we have to figure out how to solve problems, like what to do when one of the girls is sick and can't help out. Our decisions matter.”
Skill #3—Money Management
"I make change happen!"
“It's cool that I get to make change when someone buys cookies. I'm really careful about it. I count it out twice, so I know it's totally right. And I know each box sold gets us one step closer to our goal.”
Skill #4—People Skills
"I get a lifetime supply of confidence in every box."
“I've met so many new people at our cookie booth. And I've gotten really good at chatting with them about how we are doing more than just selling Girl Scout Cookies. We’re earning money to achieve our cookie-season goals and do great things.”
Skill #5—Business Ethics
"Selling cookies is more than just business."
“The other day at the cookie booth I made my friend's mom laugh really hard and she totally forgot her change. I made sure she got it back. She was so impressed she bought another box of cookies. Now I'm even closer to reaching my goal for robotics camp.”
Did you know the Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world? It’s true—and it’s pretty amazing!!
All of the net revenue raised through the Girl Scout Cookie Program—100 percent of it— stays with the local council and troops.
Or they may use the money earned to fund a project that will improve their community, or donate the money to a worthy cause.
The Cookie Activity pin is a big deal for Girl Scouts! It lets the whole world know they’re a real-life Cookie Boss!
All girls who participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program are eligible to earn the annual Cookie Activity pin. The pin recognizes the “5 Skills" girls learn and practice during the sale, and a differently colored pin can be earned each year.
Plus, Girl Scouts at every level—from Daisies to Ambassadors—can earn badges representing proficiency in skills ranging from financial management to business planning and more. Learn more about the badges a girl can earn by selling cookies.
Your cookie purchase equals more new, unique and amazing experiences for girls. This year, think about stocking up to support her success.
Together, we can help girls embark on a lifetime of leadership and confidence!
Cookie Business Badges
Earning Cookie Business badges give Girl Scouts the chance to hone their skills and gain an understanding of the world of business.
|Daisies||Count It Up|
|Brownies||Meet My Customers|
|Ambassadors||Research and Development|
|Ambassadors||Profit & Loss|