Girl Scout Cookies bring more than just sweetness to local girls

Emily Broyles, Associate News Editor

When some people think ‘Girl Scouts,’ khaki, badges and the long-awaited cookies sold every January through March may come to mind. One local Girl Scout said cookies do play a role in her Girl Scout career, but for reasons one might not expect.

“It actually turned out to be a lot more fun, not the stereotypical crafts that you hear about. It’s more like leadership learning and skills that you don’t learn as a regular girl,” said Ann Mellon, a Girl Scout of 10 years. “Probably if you’re not a Girl Scout, you don’t learn how to change a tire when you’re 8 years old.”

Ann Mellon joined Girl Scouts in kindergarten after her mother, a former Girl Scout, mentioned the organization. Now a freshman at Watauga High School, Mellon serves as a media spokesperson for the Girl Scout organization at 15 years old.

“She’s learned interview skills. She’s doing really well with five or six years of radio experience,” said Amber Mellon, Ann’s mother and troop leader.

Amber Mellon said while leading her daughter’s troop, she has tried to prepare them for the ins and outs of the real world in the comfortable setting of Girl Scouts.

“One of the things our troop emphasizes is travel and the importance of travel, getting out, and getting out of your comfort zone because in Boone, like (Ann) said, you don’t run into somebody you don’t know,” Amber Mellon said.

Ann Mellon said that being older, she now appreciates the life skills and values practiced through Girl Scouts, especially through exposure.

“We went to Atlanta four years ago and that was the weekend of the big Black Lives Matter march. Say if we didn’t go to Atlanta, we wouldn’t get exposed to all the stuff like that,” Ann Mellon said. “That’s really important for girls this age, to learn how to be independent.”

Amber Mellon educates her troop by taking them on trips outside of the High Country. But, they reunite every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. to plan “trips” throughout Boone — trips to sell their Girl Scout Cookies. 

“Cookies, that’s what you see, but it’s not just about selling cookies. It’s about customer service, it’s learning how to project yourself and how to ask a stranger, ‘Will you support me?’ It’s learning about your mission,” Amber Mellon said. “It’s also learning about budgeting. Those budgeting skills that you guys are learning as college students, they’ve had those experiences from third grade.”

Ann Mellon said that selling cookies every year is not only a growing experience for troop members, but a team effort between the Girl Scouts and their parents.

“Selling cookies is one of the most professional experiences an 8-year-old can have. When I was 6, I learned how to count change, which most people don’t get until they’re 11 or 12,” Ann Mellon said. “People see us as ‘mini bosses,’ and that’s not really on our end, that’s (the parents’) end, and there’s a lot of behind the scenes things that people don’t see.”

What people don’t see is the shipment of cookies arriving, parents counting each box before distributing them among scouts and safety precautions when selling the cookies.

Safety comes first when selling cookies, especially in the wintertime, Ann Mellon said.

Ann Mellon, who has sold more than 10,000 boxes of cookies total, said selling door-to-door is just a way she “can branch out to people,” especially “busy” App State students.

Amber Mellon, who teaches math at App State, said her troop leader life also mixes in with her campus life, as former students email her asking for boxes or release dates.

Sarah Robinson, senior marketing manager for Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont, wrote in an email that all Girl Scout Cookie profits go to the local community and benefit girls in troops. 

Paola Bula Blanco
Girl Scouts of troop 10807 sold Girl Scout Cookies the morning of Jan. 25.

As a former Girl Scout, she wrote the cookie program, along with Girl Scouts in general, offers so much more to girls.

“My favorite thing about Girl Scouts is probably the widespread sisterhood that people who have been a Girl Scout seem to take with them all their lives,” Robinson wrote.

Sarah Kate Rankin, a junior communication sciences and disorders major, also grew up a Girl Scout. She now serves as president of App State’s chapter of Kappa Delta, in which Girl Scouts is one of the sorority’s philanthropies.

“All of us have the same values and ideas of wanting to help these women. It’s really cool that we each have our own perspective on it,” Rankin said. “It’s just basically just trying to empower them, just making them feel along with it and helping them with their badges or things that they need.”

Kappa Delta hosts a “Confidence Workshop” and a “Daddy Daughter Dance” on campus for Girl Scouts in the area. Rankin said projects like these break the stigma of sorority life and give young women the empowerment Kappa Delta aims for them to achieve.

“We also had paper bags and have them write down 10 things that they loved about themselves, 10 things that made them confident. And last year, I worked with a girl, and she couldn’t think of anything to write on her bag. She was like, ‘I am so ugly, I don’t know what to write.’ And so, we probably spent like 30 minutes, but by the end, she had 20 words in her bag of things that she loved about herself,” Rankin said.

Kappa Delta and the local Girl Scouts of Boone will sell cookies in Plemmons Student Union the week of Feb. 11.