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Girl Scout Cookie Season: How Cookies Led Me to Become an 'Honorary' Girl Scout

Though I never did become a Girl Scout, I was thrilled when my daughter did.
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It's Girl Scout cookie time! Time to order your favorite cookies from your neighborhood girl scout. So, what's it going to be? Thin Mints? Samoas? Trefoils?

Of course, these days, girls have to be careful about how they sell cookies, and most only go to neighbors they know, as well as family and friends. It's not unusual, too, for parents to help their daughters by bringing their order forms to the office.

So, prepare to be inundated. For these girls are sure to reach you, one way or another, with their tasty treats. But remember, it's all good because, if you ask me, selling Girl Scout cookies is for a very worthy cause. About 70 percent of the dollars raised goes toward building girls' courage, confidence and character, and it seems to me that empowering girls to become well-rounded individuals goes a long way to contributing to the well-being of our society.

I've always loved the Girl Scouts and believe in what they're trying to achieve. In fact, when I was a kid growing up in Queens, I wanted nothing more than to be one. I would have given anything for a chance to earn one of those merit badges. But, alas, it was not meant to be.

In first grade, I'd sometimes see a few of my classmates come to school wearing their Brownie uniforms. When class was over, these girls would gather in the cafeteria for their troop meeting. Being a Girl Scout looked so cool to me, and I remember the feeling I'd get when I'd hear them saying their Girl Scout pledge, as I woefully walked past the cafeteria doors to board the bus for home.

But my Latino parents hadn't been in this country long, and, seeing how I was the first daughter after four boys, Girl Scouts was not on their radar. They didn't see my friends wearing their Brownie best, or hear them talking about their troop activities. My parents were way too busy learning the language while trying to eke out a living in a new country -- which is why joining the Girl Scouts wasn't an option for me.

Who knows how different my childhood could have been if I had joined. Maybe, it would have been just the thing to help me come out of my shell. Instead, I made do with pining from a distance. And, though I never did become a Girl Scout, I was thrilled when my daughter did.

When she was in second grade, she brought home an invitation to become a Girl Scout. She joined and, for the next seven years, she had some pretty amazing experiences with her troop, from going star-gazing to learning about nature and the great outdoors to discovering a world of other cultures.

And then there were the cookie sales. We loved this time of year but, before you knew it, we were buying almost as many cookies as she was selling. We had eight boxes of Thin Mints in the freezer (it's the only way to eat them, if you ask me), six boxes of Tagalongs in the pantry, and my son took his allowance and bought up the remaining boxes of Samoas, which he stashed away somewhere in his room.

The rest were sold by me, at my work, and by my daughter through phone calls to her grandparents, visits to our neighbors and -- perhaps the most efficient way -- by setting up a table with her troop and hawking the cookies in front of the grocery store in our neighborhood.

Our local Girl Scouts service unit had this process down to a science. Each troop was given a few shifts that they were then responsible for staffing. The girls would put on their Girl Scout vests and sell, sell, sell. They even made up a song for the occasion: "Cookie Queen," sung to the tune of ABBA's "Dancing Queen."

Being a member of a Girl Scout troop helped set my daughter on the path she's on today: studying economics at the university of her dreams. And, I, living vicariously through my daughter, got to take part in the Girl Scout experience. Not only did I watch her thrive as a member of her troop, I even learned the Girl Scout pledge!

Which is how this grown woman finally became an 'honorary' Girl Scout.

So the next time you see a girl or a parent selling the cookies, go ahead and order some, knowing they're for a great cause. And if you already did place an order with another scout, just let them know. They'll understand and they'll thank you for it.

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