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Posted: January 10, 2013 10:28 p.m.

Cookie Time

Girl Scouts are out in force selling cookies

The holidays may be over, but you may not want to start your weight lost programs just yet as cookie lovers will be pleased to know that the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta have kicked off their cookie sells.

Girl Scout troops around Atlanta and in Newton County have begun accepting pre-orders for boxes of their cookies for 2013. Membership specialist Lisa Wust who represents Newton, Rockdale and Butts counties said the organization kicked off their cookie sales on Jan. 4 and will be accepting orders until the last week in January. Cookies will be delivered on Feb. 8, which is National Girl Scout Cookie Day.

The "super six" - Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Do-Si-Dos, Samoas, Trefoils and Savannah Smiles - are available for purchase and are $3.50 a box. Wust said Girl Scouts used to carry other varieties of their cookies, but it was decided by the organization to just carry the most popular ones. The organization even has a "Cookie Locator" App for smartphones to find cookies in specific areas and some of the troops will accept credit cards with mobile credit card devices.
Here in Newton County, troops have been collecting names of people who are interested in filling up their pantries with the cookies that are only available for a short period of time every year.

Last year, Newton County's 39 troops sold 69,017 boxes of cookies, which amounted to 5,751 cases. Though many people think of cookies when Girl Scouts come to mind, Wust said the organization - which is the largest running female-run business in the nation - is more than tasty baked treats.

She said the organization has a number of programs that focus on teaching girls leadership skills. One of those programs includes the STEM Program, which introduces girls to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The organization also has specific programs that help teach young girls about financial literacy, healthy living, environmental leadership and global citizenship. Wust discussed some of the programs.

"We have started to implement some one-day events so that the girls can be a part of," Wust said. "If the girls are not able to find a troop, they can still kind of get an idea of what Girl Scouts is all about through participating in some of the activities that we have."

"We're doing the reading literacy program for kindergartners and first graders which are Girl Scout Daisies later on March 17 and the other thing that we have going on that is really exciting is that we are partnering with Charlie Elliot Wildlife Center to do a big outdoor event festival for girls to come and learn outdoor skills. It's for Rockdale, Newton and Butts counties," Wust said.

Through their programs, Girl Scouts have reached many girls and built them into leaders. Troop 10549 leader Lonnie Allen said her troop consists of 11 girls who are in middle school. Allen has been a troop leader for four years and she said she got involved with the organization because of her daughter.

She said her troop has recently been active in the community by collecting food for the Newton County Food Pantry and toys for the Salvation Army in Newton County.

Allen explained why Girl Scouts was beneficial to young emerging girls.

"I think this organization is important because we're showing the girls that they are important enough to become leaders," Allen said. "It's giving them the tools and the knowledge to become who they are meant to be."

To learn more about Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, visit their website at girlscoutsatl.org.

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