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Girls Scouts Learn Life Skills at Cookie University

By Larissa Donovan

The region’s Girl Scouts came together for Cookie University last Thursday to sharpen their cookie-selling skills. Dozens of girls from around the Bemidji area, representing 10 Girl Scout troops, gathered in the Bemidji Middle School’s cafeteria to learn the skills of the iconic cookie trade.

“Cookie University is about helping the kids learn the basic things they need to know to sell cookies,” said Carolyn Towler, coordinator of the event. “We have one booth called ‘Bling Your Booth,’ to make it really exciting.”  The event also boasted booths teaching money management and goal setting skills.

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Girls Scouts ranging K-5 learn skills for selling cookies at one of the stations available at Cookie University. Photo by Larissa Donovan.

“We’re teaching the girls business ethics and how to pay attention to the Girl Scout law: to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful,” Towler said.

The girls ranged from grades K-5, and some of them have never sold Girl Scout cookies before.

“They’re practicing their people skills, such as addressing a person, how they say ‘hello.’ Some of these girls are Kindergarteners, so it’s a big deal for them,” said Towler.

The girls, in groups assorted by grade level, raced through the life skill booths in 15-minute periods during the two-hour event.

Cookie University also brought with them a Girl Scout shop, where the girls could use their “cookie dough”, small slips of paper that acted as Girl Scout money, given as rewards to the girls for their achievements. The closest Girl Scout shop to Bemidji is in Duluth, so the coordinators of the University brought a mobile version with them. The shop sold uniforms, trinkets and toys in exchange for “cookie dough.”

This is the first year of Cookie University; in years past it was called Cookie Pep-Fest. Upcoming events for the local Girl Scouts include Laura Ingalls Wilder camp and a space seminar at the Headwaters Science Center. The Girl Scouts are celebrating their 112th anniversary this year.