It's time to get down to cookie business for the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.
"This is the largest girl-driven business in the United States," said Jane Ransom, the organization's chief executive officer. "The girls are learning about running a successful business, and they're working on their business skills."
The Girl Scouts officially kicked off the sale season on Saturday with Cookie Rallies and Cookie College events at Grace Fellowship Church in North Codorus Township and in Harrisburg.
Taking orders: The Girl Scouts -- which have close to 3,000 members in York County -- have been taking pre-sale orders since Thursday. They'll complete their pre-order process Tuesday, Jan. 21.
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The direct sale begins Friday, Feb. 14, and runs through Sunday, March 16. The Girl Scouts will have booths set up to sell cookies outside department stores and malls, Ransom said.
Each cookie package is $4, an increase of 50 cents since last year. The cookie price had been $3.50 since 2007, Ransom said.
This year's goal is to sell at least 2,200,000 packages of cookies. Last year, the Girl Scouts sold 2,179,045 packages, according to Ransom.
The varieties: For their cookie purchases, the public can choose from Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, Samoas, Tagalongs, Trefoils, Dulce de Leche, Thank You Berry Munch and Savannah Smiles, a sugar powdered lemon treat called named for the Georgia hometown of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low.
The popular Savannah Smiles were first sold in 2012 to commemorate the Girl Scouts' 100th anniversary.
Cookie sale proceeds are used to fund programs and camps run by Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania and its troops. The organization consists of girls from ages 5 to 17.
About business: Ransom said she hopes cookie purchasers understand they also are helping the Girl Scouts become confident young businesswomen.
The girls are learning goal setting, decision making, money management, business ethics and people skills, she said.
"They keep sale records, track orders, interact with customers, learn how to run a business honestly and fairly," Ransom said. "They're solving problems as a team, thinking creatively about marketing. Overall, we think the cookie sale (provides) them opportunities to develop a positive work ethic."
Cookie sale locators are available on the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania's website at www.gshpa.org or through the organization's app for mobile phones, including Android phones and iPhones.
For the phones, the locator can be downloaded in the "Android Marketplace" or by dialing **472665437.
For information, call the Girl Scouts at 233-1656 or 800-692-7816.
--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.