Etcetera - 03/19/10

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Girl Scouts will kick off their annual cookie selling season today. Scouts in the Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho Girl Scouts Council will sell the tasty tidbits through April 11, said Kelly Thompson, the region's product sales manager.

New this year is an online "Cookie Locator," to find cookie stands outside stores in the area. Just put in the ZIP code at www.GSCookieBiz.com

"This is going to be great because it'll connect the customers and the Scouts," Kelly said. Once the zip code is entered, a calendar comes up with sites listed by venue. Click on each venue to get a map of the location and a daily list of which troops will be there and what times.

In addition to Thin Mints and Samoas, favorites in this area and which make up about half the total ordered, a new flavor is being introduced. The Thank You Berry Munch features cranberries with white fudge chips and crispy rice.

Project Troop to Troop is also in full force this year. Consumers can buy their favorite cookies and support U.S. servicemen and women around the world. Girl Scouts donate customers' purchased cookies to the armed forces.

In years gone by, thousands of boxes of cookies have been delivered to Fairchild Air Force Base and to Soldiers Angels for troops locally and as far away as Afghanistan.

With every season of Girl Scout cookies another generation of girls learn to set goals, make decisions, manage many, learn people skills, and develop business ethics. As young women they will need these skills for their future. The sale of every box directly benefits girls through program, volunteer training, camp and other activities.

Girl Scouts serves girls ages 5 to 17 in 30 counties, from the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains to Montana and from the Oregon border to the Canadian border. For more information about Girl Scouting see www.gsewni.org or call 800-827-9478.

About 60 percent of the Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho Girl Scout Council's budget comes from cookie revenues. Individual troops can derive as much as 90 percent of their income from cookie sales.

There are two U.S. bakers authorized to bake Girl Scout Cookies, which sell for $4 per box in this area. All told, there are eight cookie varieties, including the three mentioned and Tagalongs, Trefoils, Lemon Chalet Cremes, Do-Si-Dos and Dulce de Leches. In 2008, Michigan Girl Scout Jennifer Sharpe sold a record 17,323 boxes.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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