Really, Girl Scouts? Even H.S. Seniors Need Adult to Supervise Their Cookie Selling?


At first I read these official Girl bnttsyisrz
Scout Safety Tips
as saying girls age 6-12 must be supervised by an adult when selling door to door.

Then I read them again, particularly Tip #4:

Safety Tips: All girls who participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program use 10 Basic Safety Guidelines

4. Partner with Adults Adults must accompany Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors when they are taking orders, selling, or delivering product. Girls grades 6–12 must be supervised by an adult when selling door-to-door and must never sell alone. Adults should be present at a cookie booth in any public place at all times.

So a high school senior WITH another high school senior is not considered ready to knock on a neighbor’s door, or even stand outside the local supermarket selling cookies?

I thought maybe this was a typo, as elsewhere the rules say that girls must never sell at night unless accompanied by an adult. This seemed to suggest that sometimes, by glaring light of day, they CAN sell without an adult. But then I found another official Scout site that reiterated that even Girl Scout “Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors” (middle-through-high school age girls) can’t sell door to door without an adult.

And we wonder why college kids seem so fragile of late. Could it be because we OFFICIALLY treat them like babies right up until the day they arrived on campus? It’s like expecting a person to walk barefoot through the woods who has worn socks and shoes till that very instant.

In our belief that ogres are wait at the door either handing out sugary treats (at Halloween) or purchasing them (from the Scouts), we are shaping young people who believe they are always threatened unless there’s a grownup keeping the terrifying world at bay.

The idea that selling cookies this way builds the skills “essential to leadership, success, and life” seems woefully delusional. Sure, the girls will get something out of it. It’s an activity. But being shadowed by adults and told to hand the money over to them as soon as possible seems to make the kids into props, not pros. – L.


You must be over 16 to sell these without an adult guardian.

STOP! You must be over 16 to sell these without an adult guardian.




, , , , , , ,

67 Responses to Really, Girl Scouts? Even H.S. Seniors Need Adult to Supervise Their Cookie Selling?

  1. BL March 28, 2016 at 5:52 am #

    They could be attacked by the Cookie Monster!

  2. andy March 28, 2016 at 6:54 am #

    I honestly think that the idea that selling cookies teaches leadership no matter what setup is delusional on it self. Overcoming shyness aspect of it is good, but other than that what is wrong with calling it fund raising it is in the first place?

    The primary goal of rules like this is to cover back of organisers should something happen or someone complain. I am not sure how to change that, but they are largely responding to incentives pushed on them.

  3. David (Dhewco) March 28, 2016 at 7:39 am #

    Well, Devil’s advocate, there was an episode of Dumbest Criminals (TruTV) where a girl scout cookie table got robbed by some older teen girls. Maybe they think it’s harder for the girls to be robbed if there’s an adult present. I don’t know the specifics of the above case, if there were adults that just weren’t watching the table but I think it’s unlikely. I willing to bet there were several girls around, but probably were being watched by older scouts rather than an adult. You used to see that alot.

    I don’t know why adults have to watch girl scouts knock on doors…but I’ll be blunt. In this area, girl scouts don’t knock on doors anyway…unless it’s the upper class areas. I didn’t even know GS had their selling period until it was over. It’s disappointing, I love Thin Mints.


  4. Beth March 28, 2016 at 7:39 am #

    I love Thin Mints, but that photo looks like lines of poo!!

  5. Nicole R. March 28, 2016 at 8:44 am #

    At first, I read it as AGES 6-12, then realized it said GRADES 6-12. I think it’s nuts! And that this:

    “…we wonder why college kids seem so fragile of late. Could it be because we OFFICIALLY treat them like babies right up until the day they arrived on campus? It’s like expecting a person to walk barefoot through the woods who has worn socks and shoes till that very instant.” – is a really good insight/analogy.

    This kind of policy is all about covering their you-know-whats so they can’t be sued if, by some tiny chance, something goes wrong. I bet the people forced to make this rule secretly hope the older girls break it and do sell on their own, because it’s far, far more likely that good things will happen than bad.

  6. Crystal March 28, 2016 at 9:48 am #

    When I was a kid, I used to shoot down mistletoe from trees with my BB gun, package it up with pretty ribbon and bike to the grocery store in town where I would sell it for $1 a bunch to make my Christmas money. I was probably 8 when I started, and there were definitely no adults supervising me! And I’m only 31, so it wasn’t that long ago.

  7. Emily March 28, 2016 at 10:03 am #

    I think it’s a typo, and they mean “ages 6-12,” because they said “Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors.” Age 6-12 covers roughly those three levels, although, I’m pretty sure that Daisies starts at age five, not six, because it starts in kindergarten, like Sparks does here in Canada, and Gumnuts does in Australia. So, maybe it’s just a poorly edited website, and the girls aren’t really required to have adult supervision selling cookies until the moment they become adults themselves. First of all, if it’s really “grades 6-12 need adult supervision,” then what’s the protocol for Girl Scouts who are below grade six, who make up the majority of kids who participate in programs such as Scouts and Guides? Second, I think “grade six” (or whatever the grade is) is more Canadian dialect than American. The “American” way to say it would be “sixth grade,” so again, I think the person who wrote that list of rules accidentally mixed up the words “ages” and “grades.”

    Anyway, if I were to be approached by a Girl Scout (or a Girl Guide here in Canada), and asked to buy cookies, I wouldn’t blame the girl if there was a supervising adult or two in the vicinity (Scouts and Guides are big on “two-deep” adult supervision, to prevent allegations of abuse), but I’d be more likely to buy those Thin Mints, if the girl(s) handled the sale as independently as possible, given age and abilities. After all, it’s the kids who are trying to earn their cookie merit badges, or earn money for their groups for a field trip or a charitable cause; not the adults. But then, maybe part of this “kids must be supervised 24/7” craze is from adults striving to earn a “merit badge” of their own, for “good parenting,” or “child protection,” or “avoiding judgement from the police, child protection agencies, and random busybodies. So, it becomes immaterial whether or not this level of supervision is healthy or necessary, because the focus gets shifted to “how does it look to others?”

  8. pentamom March 28, 2016 at 10:04 am #

    A 12th grade girl could easily be 18 1/2 years old, or even 19, if the parents chose to delay entry into school (as has become more common in this generation.)

    There are 18 1/2 year olds toting M-4s around Afghanistan in the name of the United States.

    But a girl that age “must not” go door to door in her own neighborhood in broad daylight, selling cookies.

  9. pentamom March 28, 2016 at 10:08 am #

    Not sure, Emily — it could mean that Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors must be accompanied every step of the way in ALL conditions, but girls grades 6-12 (Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors) only when selling door to door. I actually think that’s the more likely reading.

  10. Emily March 28, 2016 at 10:13 am #

    P.S., I still think that even requiring supervision for kids 6-12 during cookie sales is excessive. I was walking to and from school, and around the neighbourhood, before I was twelve, and anyway, I think it’s misguided to have a blanket rule from the top down, because the powers-that-be don’t know each individual Girl Scout or Girl Guide’s circumstances–how mature and responsible they are, how safe their neighbourhoods are, et cetera, or even concerns unrelated to safety; for example, you might want to have an adult along during cookie sales to help a child who’s not great at math. I think there are a lot of problems that arise when bureaucracies try to tell people how to parent, or how to handle things with kids in their charge. If you have kids, or if you get to know a gaggle of kids over a long period of time, then you’ll naturally come to know each individual child’s abilities and limitations, so as to be able to make the best decision for that child.

  11. Wendy W March 28, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    I agree with Emily that the 6-12th grade was probably a typo for door-to-door sales. As for the supervision selling at a table, I bet that has more to do with who is responsible for the money than with safety, regardless of how they phrase it. A girl alone is responsible for her own sales money, but at a table it’s the troop’s money, and there are rules for financial accountability. Most locations that allow them table space probably also require an adult to be present.

  12. Tiny Tim March 28, 2016 at 10:40 am #

    When I was a kid my elementary school would have fundraiser which involved kids selling chocolate bars door to door. This was stupid, but no one thought it was unsafe.

  13. m March 28, 2016 at 10:59 am #

    Remember when we were told that being women was about being confident, strong and capable?

    How do we raise strong, confident and capable women if we feel the need to be guard and shield them from everything?

    The Victorian age is descending on us. Young women are being seen a fragile flowers who are completely unable to take care of themselves, can’t be trusted to make their own decisions, and need others to protect them from all danger.

  14. jb March 28, 2016 at 11:01 am #

    At least this policy assumes that the girls are actually selling the cookies, and not that the parents are circulating the list among their coworkers.

    I have multiple coworkers/acquaintances who try to hit me up for cookie orders, but I always buy from the girls who set up a table in the local commercial district (they definitely have parents present, and look like they are 10-14). Only problem is they routinely run out of the more popular cookies. Definitely need more training in sales projections.

  15. Ravana March 28, 2016 at 11:41 am #

    I remember going out on my own to sell cookies in the neighborhood when I was 8. Some other scout had gotten to the houses before me so I decided to walk to the “bad side” of town. Everyone was excited to see me because a girl scout had never come there and each household bought at least one box of cookies. The guy who had skulls and animal parts all over his front porch bought 20! My mother was appalled when she had to drive me around to drop off the cookies in that area. If she had had to be with me to sell I’d have sold nothing and all those folks would have been cookie-less.

  16. Denise March 28, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    I remember at 7-8 how great it felt to go up to the doors and knock. I went by myself and walked for hours. It was a fond memory and helped a kid with low self esteem really feel good about myself. I was looking forward to letting my daughters do the same…. but another reason we won’t do girl scouts.

  17. Mark Roulo March 28, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

    The older girls do *NOT* need to be accompanied by an adult:

    “Adults provide supervision and guidance for all grade levels, and must
    accompany Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies and Juniors when they are selling,
    taking orders for, or delivering products. Adults oversee Girl Scout
    Cadettes Seniors, and Ambassadors, and must be aware of how, when, and
    where the girls are selling products. In addition, an adult must be readily
    accessible to girls when they are participating in product sales. This can
    be accomplished by an adult being present with the girls or by having the
    adult and girls exchange telephone numbers. ”

    Cadettes are grade 6-8, so about 11+ years in age.

  18. Suleymania March 28, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    As early as third grade my elementary school expected us to go door-to-door selling sponsorships for read-a-thons and jog-a-thons. Those were a lot harder to explain to people than cookies and involved a much greater degree of building trust. And because all the other kids in the neighborhood were doing the same thing, we didn’t have the luxury of skipping the “creepy” houses.

  19. sexhysteria March 28, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    Consider the possibility of a high school senior suffering a flasher indecently exposing himself. She would probably be traumatized for life. No wonder some law enforcement agencies dedicate three times as many staff (300%) to suspected sex offenders against children compared to suspected terrorists.

  20. Dana March 28, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

    This is totally another subject but I was talking to a senior in Hs and how a bunch of them are going on a Spring Break trip with their friends, and how all the moms are going. And I asked her mom if they still go on spring break trips in college and how it’s 1 year away…and the mom was like “I know, it is ridiculous, but most of the moms insist on going.” This like doesn’t make sense to me. College is months away. They will be doing whatever they do in college with no parents in just a few months. Maybe I can understand parents staying in another hotel or something. I just think it’s crazy to expect kids to magically start acting like adults without any preparation even a few months ahead of time. I know spring break is probably a poor example but I went on a trip with 5 friends and no adults and we had no issues.

  21. Sarah March 28, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

    I have no idea if it is a typo or not. Thing is like Alfie Kohn said in The Myth of the Spoiled Child, you get either on one hand parents are neglecting their kids and not paying attention or they are giving too much oversight. Yes a few percentage of people have an unhealthy emotional attachment to their children. But involvement is not bad. I think most parents strive for a reasonable balance. I see it in our suburban neighborhood. The kids are out in groups but they are checking in with their parents.
    In fact I was hanging out in a “fort” with my 4 year old that a group of kids ages 8-11 built. It was in a well traveled area. They were brilliant in not only confronting a parent as a group who was irresponsibly trying to start a fire with pine needles nearby they also took votes on things and decided there was no leader as they would “not want to give it up.” Then again they also rigged a trap for any person walking into their “fort.” It was brilliant and dangerous as if you tripped the string a rock would come flying out from the tree on a string. My young son was thankfully a few inches too short but the next kid who was 5 and a bit bigger would have had a rock whamming them in the head.

    And yes we did door to door stuff by 7th grade. We were required to do it and I hated it. It is interesting as no on really conceived that anything bad could happen. But we also did not lock our doors out in the boonies. Different era.

  22. Dean Whinery March 28, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    I wonder if my old Cadette GS troop, 30 years ago, would have been among the top sellers in the council if there had been so many silly rules. Sometimes I was told that my 60 members were girls, thus were not able to do whatever they had planned. Sometimes, they’d already done it.

  23. Marybeth March 28, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

    I’m 51 on Wednesday…So one could say that my statistically less safer elementary school years I walked all over a large neighborhood bisected by a major road. At least one of my parents knew what I was doing but they did not know exactly where I was at every moment (no cell phone tracking!) and I was usually by myself in a uniform. It was more about being the first one to a neighborhood street so you could get the sale.

    Also, back in those days you had to return a few weeks later with the product and hope the person was home and ready to pay. I met all kinds of strangers in houses and apartments.

    Above all it taught me that I did not love direct sales though I’m not sure I understood that lingo at the time. I also got a lot of exercise. It never occurred to me that I was working hard…it’s just what a Girl Scout did for the biggest fundraiser each year.

  24. Michele Greenup March 28, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    The rule about selling with an adult is not for all Girl Scouts every where. The council that I’m a part of requires older girls to sell cookies with a buddy not an adult. Also there is a badge that girls can earn as 4th and 5th graders that requires them to go to a store without their parents and buy something. So Girl Scouts does encourage independence in girls.

  25. Richard March 28, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

    My daughter had to abide by these rules. She turned 9 during the process and I would have liked for her to be able to do some of it herself, but I understood them not wanting her to do that. My bigger problem was with the blanket rule not to go door to door at night. Cookie season is in the middle of winter. By the time I would get home from work, it would be dark. This rule made it impossible to go door to door except on the weekend.

    Also, I hate to rain on people’s parade, but the cookies aren’t all that efficient of a fundraiser. A box costs $4, and of that approximately $0.75 goes to the troop. The troop is better off if you make a $10 troop donation than if you buy an entire case of cookies, which will run you $48.00.

  26. JulieH March 28, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

    Mark has it right. Just as I, as an adult, made sure that I worked with a buddy and that my husband knew where I was going and what time I expected to be finished and made sure to have a cell phone on me when I was campaigning door to door for a local election…Girl Scouts advises that “older girls” (which is 6th-12 GRADES) follow those basic safety ideas – go door to door with a buddy, make sure an adult knows where and when they will be – common sense things to do. They also advise that the older girls have a way to make regular “money drops” with an adult so that they limit the amount of cash they have on their persons when going door to door – which is something I would do for myself for safety.

    As for having adults present at cookie booths, that is a general policy that helps make businesses more willing to have booths on their premises – they don’t want to take on responsibility for a minor – which I can completely understand from the business owner side.

    Younger girls (grades K-5th, generally 6yo – by the time cookie sales start – to 11 or 12 yo) are expected to work with an adult door to door. While Girl Scouts may have this approach for safety reasons for this age, my personal observation is that it isn’t a bad idea just from the making change/handling money aspect. My troop spends a LOT of time practicing totaling a customer’s bill and making change/counting money in our meetings. But even then, some of the 4th/5th graders are pretty proficient and self-sufficient…others still need a lot of guidance and assistance. We try to do a lot of booth sales so that I can work with the girls on it (without parents jumping in and doing it for them).

  27. JulieH March 28, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

    Richard is right on. We are always appreciative of direct donations.

    Most of the time the girls in my troops decide that they want to use those funds to buy cookies that are sent to soldiers…which is their prerogative. Sometimes they put it toward a specific purpose or project that they are working on – for example purchasing a tree that they are planting at the park. Rarely do they choose to put it into the general fund for their personal benefit. Love seeing the girls put others first.

  28. John March 28, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

    When I was living and working over in Caesarea, Israel back in the mid-90s, one warm summer afternoon I was sitting in my lounge chair in my living room when 3 boys ages 7-10 appeared right outside my screen door. They were on a scavenger hunt and a couple of the boys spoke and understood English. So instead of shouting at me through the screen door, which was pretty far from where I was sitting, they just opened the door and walked in and sat down on my living room couch where we had a great conversation! Even back in the mid-1990s, kids in the United States would have been decried for doing something like that and I would have probably gotten into trouble for allowing kids I don’t know to talk into my house! Heck, in the United States, a parent probably would have been present with them going door to door.

    I certainly hope that Israel has remained free range with their kids like they were back then and have not caught on to so many of America’s bad habits of helicoptering anybody under the age of 18!

  29. Vaughan Evans March 28, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

    If I were a parent-training a boy-how to act toward women and girls, here are some things I would do:
    (a)tell them to avoid condescendingly. In old England, women could not do women’s parts in Shakespeares’plays.All parts in ballet were done by males. Rope skipping used to be strictly a boys’ activity. They thought girls were too delicate to jump.
    (b)explain why boys and men do certain favours for a girl. A respectful boy or man would offer to carry something heavy-for a girl-because women do not always have the same upper body strength as men. As a teenager, my mother told me about the “periods”that young adolescent girls have. My said, that I should NOT say, ‘What is the matter with you if she decides not to swim on a hot day.
    (c)some rules how boys and men act towards female persons are good discipline towards m,embers of heir own sex. In the army, they have sports activities-to build fellowship. The same is true of policemen and firemen. One reason why firemen are trained in first aid-is so that they could help another fireman-who gets injured-in the course of duty.

  30. NY Single Mom March 28, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

    An 18 year old is an adult, no? Drives. Votes. Will graduate from HS in June. But that 18 year old can’t sell cookies I was allowed to sell door to door at age ten?

    It not fear of predators. It is fear of predatory lawyers. If anything untoward happened the lawsuit (inevitable) would bankrupt the GSA.

  31. bluebird of bitterness March 28, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    When my daughter was a teenager she was always looking for ways to make money by selling her handcrafted stuffed animals. This was before internet selling, so she had to find craft fairs and other venues where she could sell in person. The local winter farmer’s market allowed crafters to set up booths, so I had her apply. The winter farmer’s market happened once a month from fall through spring and was hosted by various churches in the area. When we got the application form, I was dismayed to learn that anyone under the age of 18 who wanted to sell had to be accompanied by an adult AT ALL TIMES. To sell stuff at a farmer’s market. On a Saturday morning. In a CHURCH.

  32. Sarah Vaizman March 28, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

    Thanks for this useful article, For me i can’t stop Selling Cookies :p

  33. Diane March 28, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

    Wow, crazy! I was only in Scouts for a couple of years, through 4th grade, and we rode all over the place to sell cookies. And yes, the small amount (the leader I talked to said $0.60) goes to the actual troop, a slightly larger amount goes to the local group over several troops, but still, better to make a donation. When my oldest was 14 and 15, she was online with her computer and active in the Second Life online game. She did drawings, scanned them, and sold them online to people through the game. She set up a Paypal to get payment, and over one summer, made about $400 selling pencil drawings for roughly $15 apiece, plus shipping. Mail from all over the world to her, and she’d have me drive her to the post office to send out her drawings. Some of the people from overseas would also send her postcards of the local sights in their areas of the world.

  34. Donald March 28, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

    This page on my blog talks about eyes. They only detect light. The image is developed in the brain. Therefore whatever you ‘feed’ your head determines what you see. If you are told from birth that danger is everywhere, that’s what you’ll see.

    Perhaps an organization such as the scout or a school are only thinking about legal stuff. However the byproduct of this is ‘learned helplessness’.

    This page starts off talking about blame. (that’s not really the issue in this case) However it ends up talking about repetitive chanting and how it affects your belief system.

    Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere. Danger is everywhere.

  35. martinimom March 28, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

    This does not surprise me. We will be quitting GS after this year (after 4 years), and that is partially because every activity requires an Act of Congress – permission forms are so ubiquitous that I have even needed to fill out a permission form for an event when I WAS GOING TO BE IN THE SAME BUILDING – just, gasp, not in the exact same room. (Say! – It was for the Cookie Sale Rally.)

    Every event requires so much planning and permissions that I dread them. They never go camping (OK, stretching the truth, they camped once, but with so many required adults present that the girls may have been outnumbered – Daisies cannot go without one parent present). I don’t think they teach them knife use, fire-building, or any other useful survival skill, because … just THINK of all the liabilities.

    GS is so scared of lawsuits that they have really (and sadly) limited the experiences of the very girls who are supposed to grow from being in GS. Boy Scouts has, in our experience, been much more lenient about all this stuff.

  36. James Pollock March 28, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

    “So a high school senior WITH another high school senior is not considered ready to knock on a neighbor’s door, or even stand outside the local supermarket selling cookies?”

    It doesn’t say that. It says that they need to be supervised by an adult when selling door-to-door. And “supervised” might be construed as meaning “an adult knows where you are”, and not necessarily as “and must be standing right there.”

    I have no quibble with this.

    (When they ARE selling from a card table in front of a supermarket, they need to have an adult present because the stores would prefer to deal with adults when there’s any kind of complaint… and yes, people do sometimes complain about girl scouts selling cookies in front of the store… and in case there’s a question about which troop is supposed to be there at which times and on which days. The various youth groups TRY to avoid fund-raising at the same time(s), but it isn’t always possible.

    I think if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that any group that employs women and/or children going door-to-door, you’ll find similar concerns expressed. Schools that have sales fundraisers definitely do… some will suggest only going door-to-door to people you know, and there’s been a significant drop-off in the number of times people have knocked on my door for youth-oriented fundraisers over the decades. Partly it’s security concerns, and mostly it’s a transition to Internet commerce affecting fundraising sales, as well. The only group that still consistently drops by is the local Boy Scout groups that offer Christmas Tree recycling, and they tend to leave flyers rather than actually trying to talk to anyone (as far as I can tell.)

  37. Donna March 28, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

    “I just think it’s crazy to expect kids to magically start acting like adults without any preparation even a few months ahead of time.”

    I don’t think helicopter parents really expect their kids to magically start acting like adults when in college. Helicopter parents still expect and WANT to be parenting their children in college.

    I was recently reading some blog or article or something where the writer was talking about her college freshman daughter, who attends school out of state, choosing to go to Florida with friends instead of coming home for spring break. The author’s stance was definitely not “ack, it is too scary out there for my precious baby to be alone” and was just the bittersweet musings of a parent dealing with their now adult child pulling away from the family. The vast majority of commentors insisted that the mother should not have allowed her child to go at all, as if she really has control over that beyond refusing to fund it. One insisted that her child would not have gone unless there were chaperones. Chaperones! For college students! College students who live away from home at least 9 months of the year!

  38. Donna March 28, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

    My daughter is a Girl Scout. There are some rules given for door-to-door cookie sales. I don’t even remember what they are — and we just stopped selling cookies a few weeks ago. I simply allowed my kid to do it however we were comfortable doing it (which was not to sell cookies at all this year). It is not as though a Girl Scout monitor was coming to our neighborhood and following my daughter around to see how she sold cookies.

    This is nothing more than CYA. Girl Scouts can say “we told them not to do it” if something happens, but nobody is monitoring how cookies are actually sold nor is there a penalty for doing it in ways that don’t completely comport with the guidelines.

  39. Teri March 28, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

    I have not had a Girl Scout of ANY age knock on my door in the 23 years I’ve been a homeowner. What I have seen, and it gives me pause EVERY time, is a table set up outside the local grocery store staffed with a clutch of scouts and an exactly equal amount of mothers. 7 scouts, 7 mothers. 10 scouts, 10 mothers. This makes me think. Is this necessary? Do you need a 1:1 ratio to sell cookies? And honestly, don’t these women have anything better to do? Couldn’t they draw straws and have a third or even half as many adults stay and the other half can go home and take a nap? (Because really, what sane mother would say no to a free nap?) But ok, whatever, I’ll move on…

    I always buy cookies (the things I can do with Thin Mints would make your hair stand on end) and I always make note of the transaction. One would figure with the excess of adult support and instruction the sales experience will be cutting edge. A real demonstration of salesmanship, fiscal transactions and trefoil tinged small talk, right? I engage, I ask questions, I look and direct everything at the girls. 99% of the time the response is stoney silence from the line of scouts, a caffeinated background buzz of chatter from the mothers, and the frantic attention of the the one mother who is attending the money box and filling the order.

    I walk away every time slightly depleted. I feel like I might as well just picked up the equivalent cookie back in the store and be done with it. I find upon reflection that the greatest disappointment is the complete absence of any relationship to what I had experienced and learned from selling cookies. I was a Business Women! My brother had his paper route but I had the cookie concession! I handled every aspect and I LOVED it. Back then, the individual scout was credited a token amount per box towards summer camp. I went to camp every summer. For free.

    I hate that none of those little girls will get to experience the responsibility and giddy freedom cookies brought me. Additionally, as an adult, I feel sorry for that gaggle of mothers. I know my mom would, too.

  40. Jennifer Griffin March 28, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

    As a leader for 16 years, I can tell you that a good troop leader will do 95% of the work in kindergarten, 80% by 2nd grade, 50% by 5th, 20% by 7th and 2% by high school. However, no matter how smart or well trained, even the best girl scout can be distracted by a cute boy and get hundreds of dollars stolen, which comes out of their pocket, not council’s. Also, by 6th grade, “supervision” means an adult within eyesight, not watching over a shoulder.

  41. SanityAnyone? March 28, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

    I talked to a leader friend and she said it has nothing to do with trust in girls. They place a high value on girls developing independence, responsibility and self reliance. She said this is all about liability and a reality GSA has to deal with in terms of youth protection and also protecting kids from adult allegations of kids’ supposed wrongdoing when dealing with money, approaching homes, etc. It’s a litigious society problem more than a child trust problem.

  42. Donna March 28, 2016 at 7:29 pm #

    Teri – No, GS does not require. 1:1 ratio. Although it seems to require either 2:1 or 3:1.

    However, do you know for a fact how far the girls had to travel to get to the booth? Our city is the host for cookie booths for 4 or 5 of the surrounding counties. Most of those troops are traveling 30+ minutes from home to get to the booth. Some of the girls in my daughter’s troup are as well. The girls generally work 2 hour shifts (so there is plenty for everyone). I wouldn’t make 2 45 minute trips to a cookie booth in a 2 hour period.

    I also occasionally stay at my kid’s events because I enjoy talking to the other parents who are present. The parents of my daughter’s friends tend not to be my friends, but I enjoy talking to them for an hour or so here and there.

  43. andy March 28, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

    @martinimom “very event requires so much planning and permissions that I dread them. They never go camping (OK, stretching the truth, they camped once, but with so many required adults present that the girls may have been outnumbered – Daisies cannot go without one parent present). I don’t think they teach them knife use, fire-building, or any other useful survival skill, because … just THINK of all the liabilities.”

    So, what is the point of joining scouts then? I thought the whole point is learning camping on the next level and get those practically useless but otherwise fun and cool outdoor skill. If they do not go camping what they do besides of selling cookies?

    I would be vary of sending my kids to gender segregated non-heavy-sport club, but I thought they are unique in teaching that outdoor skill. If they dont, what is the point?

  44. Puzzled March 28, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

    Yes, I think we might be asking the wrong question when we say “how do they expect the kids to be mature in college?” I teach college, and, well…

    Also, I’m planning on going to law school. I have been going to admitted student programs at a few schools. I recently went to one and was happy to see another what I thought was another “non-traditional” student. I started chatting with her, and quickly realized I was wrong. She was, in fact, the parent of an admitted student. She said “my daughter is so young, I couldn’t let her go all the way here on her own.” Her daughter is graduating in May – and going to law school – likely right at the place she couldn’t possibly go alone. Sigh.

    Also, the only times I’ve been asked to buy GS cookies it’s been by coworkers who have kids.

  45. John March 28, 2016 at 8:19 pm #

    I have reviewed the girl scout guidelines and what “Girls grades 6–12 must be supervised by an adult when selling door-to-door and must never sell alone” means is that older girls must be “supervised”–but not accompanied by an adult. (Young girls must be accompanied by an adult.)The older girls’ selling plan must be approved by an adult and they must have exchanged phone numbers with an adult. The actual selling can be done with a buddy, without an adult, but if selling alone the scout must be accompanied by an adult.

  46. Daisy Mom March 28, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

    There is a typo. It should read:

    Girls AGES 6 to 12.…

    Older scouts are called Cadets, Seniors, and Embasadors (not list)

    Girl Scout Daisies (grades K–1, ages 5-7)
    Girl Scout Brownies (grades 2–3, ages 7-9)
    Girl Scout Juniors (grades 4–5, ages 9-11)
    Girl Scout Cadettes (grades 6–8, ages 11-14)
    Girl Scout Seniors (grades 9–10, ages 14-16)
    Girl Scout Ambassadors (grades 11–12, ages 16-18)

  47. Donna March 28, 2016 at 9:12 pm #

    “If they do not go camping what they do besides of selling cookies?”

    This varies greatly by troop and even group within the troop. In my daughter’s troop, at the beginning of each year, the girls in each group (Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, etc.) decide which of the many available badges they are interested in getting that year and then they work toward obtaining those badges. Some of the badges are outdoors skills. Some are practical skills. Some are creative skills.

    My daughter’s troop is going camping twice this year in conjunction with a community service project they are doing that involves repairing and maintaining the equestrian trails and facilities in a local State Park. They went a couple weeks ago and stayed in a cabin. Two other cabins were inhabited by a wedding party and the bride invited the girls to the wedding. They had a blast. They are going again to do more work in a few weeks and staying in a tent.

    This year they have also done a ropes course, gone ice skating, studied first aid, and made pasta from scratch. In years past, they’ve gone horse riding, hiking, volunteered at an animal shelter, made pottery, and taken dance classes. My daughter is going to a summer camp that involves spending a week doing challenge courses and canopy tours.

  48. BPFH March 28, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

    The logic behind having an adult (ostensibly not involved in selling the cookies) was explained to me as a twofold thing: first, you’ve got someone to keep an eye on the cashbox, and second, you’ve got someone who can step forward and ask a potential perv, “What the **** do you think you’re doing?” Older girls (particularly if we’re talking about 10th-12th grade–that’s 15-18 years old, if you’re not familiar with the US education system) have probably figured out how to deal with #2, but the younger ones (for example, my daughter), perhaps not.

  49. Donna March 28, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

    “’Girls grades 6–12 must be supervised by an adult when selling door-to-door and must never sell alone’ means is that older girls must be “supervised”–but not accompanied by an adult.”

    This post emphasizes a very common misconception on this blog – the belief that “supervision” means “the adult must be right there breathing down the child’s neck the entire time.” That may be necessary supervision in some circumstances, but supervision can also have a very different look. If I am teaching a 5 year old to cook, I am probably going to be very eyes on. I am unlikely to leave the room. On the other hand, I have an intern that I supervise, and far from me breathing down her neck, she largely works from home completely independent of me and I just review her work. The only time I have to be physically present with my intern is if she is representing clients in court.

    The guidelines clearly state that grades 6-12 DO NOT need adult accompaniment. It states: “Adults must ACCOMPANY Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors when they are taking orders, selling, or delivering product. Girls grades 6–12 must BE SUPERVISED by an adult when selling door-to-door and must never sell alone.”

    There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for that to be separated or phrased differently if Girl Scouts actually intended for ALL scouts, regardless of age, to be accompanied by adults when selling cookies. Clearly, Girl Scouts is envisioning this adult supervision to be something other than adult accompaniment for the 6th to 12th graders.

  50. Chris March 28, 2016 at 10:55 pm #

    One thing I’ve not seen in any comment is the number of people that think it’s reasonable to scream obscenities at Girl Scouts selling cookies and accuse them of killing babies, in spite of all facts to the contrary. I’m an adult and I am sincerely disturbed by the way some people act; I wouldn’t want to subject my daughters to that at any age.

  51. Richard March 29, 2016 at 8:36 am #

    I think martinimom’s experiences with girl scouts are atypical and are probably more a result of local leadership either at the troop level or at the next level up. We don’t have those issues with our GS activities, and I think they do a really good job of promoting learning and independence. There are occasional permission slips, but really only for things like overnight activities. I am not thrilled with the cookie experience though, ever since I learned just how much of the money collected goes to places other than the troop. Maybe I’m mistaken, but when I did fundraisers as a kid for my school, the school generally kept about 50% of the proceeds. For GS, it’s more like 20%, even though the cost markup seems pretty extravagant.

  52. lollipoplover March 29, 2016 at 9:31 am #

    I guess our local Thin Mint supplier is a rebel…she’s been selling cookies solo for the past 3 years (since she was 8) and was even selling them after a recent snow storm by pulling her stash on a sled (vs. her usual wagon). She goes to houses of families she knows. We have been loyal customers who will always buy, even if I have no cash and have to steal from piggy banks to pay her. I like her ambition and appreciate the effort she puts into selling door to door. Her single mom has better things to do and obviously trusts her- she’s a really good kid.

    As for adults supervising sales, I never buy from the tables outside stores with adults present, especially when the moms ask me to buy cookies. I also despise the social media pleas from parents to buy girl scout cookies for their daughters. Last month, I dropped off my daughter at basketball practice and had an hour to kill. I drove around and saw a Girl Scout with a table of cookies set up in her driveway. Yeah! I would buy cookies from her. Then I saw her parents, with large signs waving at drivers to buy cookies. I decided not to buy, even though those Thin Mints were calling my name. Something about the adult involvement sours the whole cookie-buying experience.

  53. Brooks March 29, 2016 at 9:52 am #

    The Boy Scouts have a rule that scouts, even seniors who swim on the swim team, have to have a life jacket on at all times when on a dock, etc. Any water over 10 feet if I recall correctly.

    My rule is that if you can’t swim, don’t be at the water.

  54. LauraL March 29, 2016 at 10:51 am #

    As a high school senior, my eldest turned 18 in January, but of course didn’t graduate until June. Still, she was a legal adult in all the ways you don’t need to be 21 for – she could join the military (no), buy cigarettes (big no), no longer have to share her medical info with us, her parents (HIPAA), but I still had to sign a “permission slip” for her to go on a field trip. I thought that was pretty ridiculous! I can’t give a legal adult “permission” to ride a school bus to a class event. I think there was one about a film they were showing too – might have been an R rating but the topic was legit (her school pushed boundaries, man…) and I again asked why I had to give a legal adult permission.

    Daughter asked the teacher, and it came back as, “Just making you aware we’d be leaving the school…” and as to films, I signed it but made a note on it regarding Daughter’s legal age status. A good more than half of the kids in her class turned 18 before graduation so it was all just routine, but still…

  55. Donna March 29, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    “As for adults supervising sales, I never buy from the tables outside stores with adults present”

    Troops are not allowed to sell outside stores without at least two adults present. The troops can control how involved the adults are in the cookie selling process, but not their actual presence. That is mandated by the Girl Scout Council.

    Those cookie booths are actually very regulated by the regional Girl Scouts Councils and are not things arranged by the troops themselves. The Council sets them up and the troops then select the times and locations that they want via a lottery system of sorts.

    It is possible for individual girls to set up cookie booths where ever they want and under whatever rules they want, but that could require an large outlay of money on the part of the individual girl’s family. The family would have to buy the cookies upfront and would be responsible for paying for the entire amount whether the cookies sold or not. While my daughter thinks she could sell hundreds of boxes of cookies if she took them onto the local college campus – and this is likely true – I certainly don’t have thousands of dollars to invest in this plan.

    Ultimately, the troops only get a small portion of the cookie sales (like $.25 – $.50 per box), but the money is vital to the local organization being able to do anything as it is often the only income source for the troop. Punishing local troops because of the rules of the Girl Scout Council and then complaining that Girl Scout troops never do anything seems a bit unfair.

    I refuse to buy cookies from adults. I will not buy from coworkers. I will not buy from friends. I will buy from kids who are accompanied by parents as long as the kids sell the cookies and not the adults. Adults can help add and make change if the booth is being manned by Daisies and Brownies, but beyond that it should be all the girls, with the adults a quiet presence in the shadows.

  56. lollipoplover March 29, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    “Those cookie booths are actually very regulated by the regional Girl Scouts Councils…”

    Do you know why?
    Has there been a rash of crime with these booths or lawsuits?

    I agree with everything you said about only buying from the girls and not the adults. More and more, parents *take over* the control and sales from the girls themselves and that part (can happen with any organization) is what bothers me most. I’m surprised with the low margin of profits that go to local troops why so many parents are willing to put in so much time to this. I have so many better things to do on the weekends than watch my kids make a 20% profit on overpriced cookies. But oh, Thin Mints…

  57. James Pollock March 29, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    “‘Those cookie booths are actually very regulated by the regional Girl Scouts Councils…’
    Do you know why?
    Has there been a rash of crime with these booths or lawsuits? ”

    Neither of these. The stores are private property. They can (and sometimes do) prohibit solicitation on their property. The Girl Scouts (and others) are there on the sufferance of the property owners. The organizations therefore want to be careful of their relationships with the property owners, because they can be told to scram, and if that happens, there’s no much they can do about it.

    So… there are a limited number of grocery stores and shopping centers, and a larger number of Girl Scout troops (and other organizations who would like to fund-raise via similar processes). Some locations are clearly superior to others, and some times are better than others. You don’t want 12 troops all showing up at the supermarket to set up tables… firstly because the competition would be brutal, second because the store is going to decide that they’d rather not have any, and can make that stick. So, the organization decides who gets what locations, when… and thus it makes a big difference whether you have a new troop leader who doesn’t know when to go sign up for slots, or which ones to try for, or an experienced hand who knows when to ask and what to ask for…. which is not fair, but it’s closer to fair than if each troop leader had to approach each property owner to ask permission.

  58. Lyndsay March 29, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

    I’m actually dealing with cookie sales for our township right now. I won’t rehash what others have said, except to say that, yes, the control on booths is out of respect for business owners so that they will keep letting the girls sell there. It only takes one troop of misbehaving kids for an entire chain to declare itself off limits to sales. And that misbehavior can be as simple as being too aggressive and customers complain.

    As for people who have said they won’t buy A”from adults”, I work at a secure site. My daughter is not, generally, allowed to come to work with me and there are plenty of people at work that want to support her but don’t live near us. I do keep her form with me at work and sell “for her.” In exchange, she makes a video thanking people and she is responsible for counting the money and sorting the cookies with me (she’s six and a half).

    It’s not always that the parents are doing things for their kids because they can’t, but because, in a practical sense, the logistics just don’t work out. We have been practicing with the girls how to behave and how to calculate costs, etc. While there will be 1:1 adults at our booths this weekend, the girls will certainly be doing the work. We are there (1) because we like each other’s company (2) because there have to be 2 adults present at all times and we have the girls working in pairs and (3) because they are first graders and still need a little help handling money and overcoming shyness.

  59. Papilio March 29, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

    Hahaha. I sold some sort of charity lottery tickets door-to-door with my friend when we were 10, in 5th grade.
    Last Christmas the 11-year-old son of one of my cousins told me that since a couple of months he was allowed to visit his grandma by train by himself (which is, for this small country, Very Far Away: over 2 hours with multiple transfers). He even admitted that he cried the first time (so cute! – which I didn’t tell him of course), but added that it was ‘just normal’ for him to make such a trip at his age. So either my family consists of a bunch of child neglectors, or we’re not doomed 😛

  60. Peter March 29, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

    There are 18½ year olds toting M-4s around Afghanistan in the name of the United States.

    But a girl that age “must not” go door to door in her own neighborhood in broad daylight, selling cookies.

    Or at least they should be toting M-4s. It might help improve sales.

    Scout: “Hey, mister! Wanna buy some cookies?”
    Mister: “Uh, no thanks.”
    Scout: “But these cookies are healthy!”
    Mister: “How is a chocolate sugar cookie considered healthy?”
    Scout: (menacingly) “Let’s just say it might be healthier for you if you bought a box. Or two…”

  61. Jill March 29, 2016 at 5:21 pm #

    Some houses contain men. Men are either (a) creepy or (b) downright dangerous, m’kay?

  62. melz March 29, 2016 at 7:03 pm #

    Now I need to say this. Girl scout cookies need to be sold so they can get the funds to grow. Unfortunately they don’t get the amount of money they should get but then again that’s business. It is the biggest fund raisers of all. What is hard sometimes is that where they sell and the general area the cookies are sold have to be scrutinized. Girl Scouts go in groups and generally there is an adult present to oversee the transactions. The girls should actually be free to do the interaction and selling of the cookies and of course handling the money. This also depends upon what age group they are at for being responsible. Now, selling door to door is another matter. Friends, neighbors and relatives that are known, no problem. People that are strangers, you just have to use some common sense and precaution. An adult should be always be present. No night time selling of cookies, period!

  63. Steve Gilroy March 29, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

    Interesting article but I suggest you check out Joan D’Alessandro from Hillsdale N.J. and Joan’s Law. Check out what really happens.

  64. Puzzled March 30, 2016 at 10:13 am #

    Steve, do you drive? Risk is measured in terms of relative frequency, not “this happened once, therefore, this is what always happens if you do this thing.”

  65. lollipoplover March 30, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    “No night time selling of cookies, period!”

    Everyone knows night time is when sparkly vampires are on the prowl.

    Better to realize any time of day is an opportunity for crime than fear the dark:

  66. jimc5499 March 30, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

    I’m betting that is a case of CYA to avoid any potential lawsuit, if anything were to happen.

    I was a Petty Officer Third Class in the Navy two months before my 19th birthday and had already been in two shot up helicopters. (Grenada and Lebanon)

    Now we have 18-22 year olds who feel threatened by political messages written in chalk on their college campus.

  67. Another Katie April 5, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

    Our older daughter is a Daisy and we just finished up cookie sales a few weeks ago. At booth sales, Daisies (K-1st grade) aren’t supposed to handle money at all, but Brownies (2nd-3rd grade) do with adult supervision. Since we technically have multiple troops of Daisies and Brownies that meet together, the Brownies manned the cash box while the Daisies bagged customer purchases and handled replenishment of the booth display.

    The adults kept an eagle eye on the cash box because in our service unit 2 years ago a cash box was snatched at a booth sale outside a supermarket – the thief just walked up, grabbed it, and ran. There are also cases every year at certain booth sale sites where customers will try to scam the girl manning the cash box on how much change they’re owed – like buying a $4 box of cookies, handing the Brownie a $10 bill and telling her they need a $20 back. It doesn’t actually WORK (we practice with the girls how to make change) but it’s best to have adults present to take over in handling those situations.
    Aside from controlling the cash box, the requirement for adult supervision of the booth sales is primarily because booth sales are held on private property and holding them is dependent on proprietors of businesses allowing us to set up outside their doors. If the girls are hassling customers, being loud or boisterous, or preventing employees from doing their jobs, we run the risk of losing a booth sale site in the future. In a service unit with a lot of Girl Scouts and relatively few good booth sale sites, that’s not a risk we want to take.

    Older girls have to be “supervised” by an adult, not necessarily accompanied. It’s primarily for liability reasons that the “supervision” requirement is even there. I was a Girl Scout in the 80s and 90s and this was the rule even back then, except the wording was along the lines of “Make sure that your parent or guardian knows that you’re going to sell door-to-door”. If older girls go door-to-door without an adult they’re encouraged to use the buddy system with other scouts. Regardless, cookie sales usually drop off once girls are Cadettes (so, middle school aged) and above. Frankly the younger girls have the advantage in cookie sales because it’s harder for a lot of people to say “no” to a 5 year old Daisy than to a 17 year old Ambassador.