Thin mints and valuable lessons: Girl Scouts visit Simmons College

By Jennifer Ives
Contributing Writer

needham girl scouts selling cookies
Photo: Lisa Nault

Monday, Feb. 16 dawned like any other of this semester, classes being held which is now a rare occasion. However, at noon, it became apparent this was not just any ordinary day. The Girl Scouts had arrived. Accompanied by several parents and bearing 410 boxes of product, four members of Troop 65177 of Needham, MA arrived in the Fens just before noon.

Before they could even finish setting up, the young entrepreneurs were quickly swamped by dozens of students clamoring to buy their wares. Not jewelry or the latest tech gadget— what they were selling was rarer and more valuable: Cookies. Available only for a month or two in each Councils’ region, Girl Scout Cookies are not only delicious and well-beloved by generations, but they also instill priceless lessons for the Scouts.

By selling cookies, Scouts learn five basic skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. And the members of Troop 65177 could not have received a warmer or more encouraging welcome than they did here at Simmons. Just an hour into their time slot of noon to 3 p.m., the Scouts were doing brisk enough business that they took turns answering a few questions while the others took orders and counted change.

When asked what they liked best about being a Girl Scout, their answers ran parallel to each other. “I like the food at the meetings,” said Sophie. “I like doing booth sales the best” was Grace’s answer. Lauren and Audrey’s answers were identical and unanimous: “Selling cookies!”. While this was Troop 65177’s first time doing a booth sale at Simmons, the results looked promising, with Scouts estimating they would either sell out or come very close by the end of their time slot. Only an hour in, they had already sold out of Peanut Butter Patties, apparently far and beyond the crowd favorite despite Thin Mints historically claiming the top 25 percent of total sales in the U.S., according to

The Scouts themselves appeared to be greatly enjoying the opportunity to flex their entrepreneurial skills, confidently calling out order sizes and counting change while directing some customers to what was a welcome addition at one end of their booth: a card scanner, capable of taking payment via debit or credit, assisted by one of the den mothers in attendance. This development, which must have considerably increased the potential customer base, was excitedly spread by students on Facebook and other sites.

One anonymous post on YikYak simply titled “COOKIES” read “GIRL SCOUT COOKIES IN SIMMONS FENS AND THEY’RE TAKING CREDIT/DEBIT NOW.” A commenter on the post added that “Girl Scouts will rule the world if they keep this up.” Considering Girl Scout alumnae include such names at Taylor Swift, Hillary Clinton, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Sally Ride, strong role models for young people of all genders, one can only imagine what the next generation of Girl Scouts will achieve.