With the Girl Scout Cookie Program® less than a month away, eastern Missouri Girl Scout and G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) Board member, Dana Creswell, took the time to answer some questions about her cookie-related experience and offered up some tried and true leadership advice.

GSEM: Dana, this is your 11th Girl Scout Cookie Program season, do you have an elevator pitch you feel comfortable sharing?

DC: It really depends on who I’m talking to. With my friends I say, “[winks] you should buy some cookies!” But if it’s a teacher or someone at our booth, I am much more polite. Sometimes I’ll get a no and that’s okay! I’ve learned how to read people, like I don’t have to take a formal approach with my friends because, they’re my friends. But with other people, it doesn’t pay to take an informal approach because it comes off as unprofessional which is something you don’t want.

GSEM: Some Girl Scout troops use their cookie proceeds to pay for programs or community service projects. Others often use their earnings to take a memorable trip. What is your troop doing with your Girl Scout cookie proceeds?

DC: We are saving for a trip to Chicago! Our troop is planning on going our senior year in high school! Right now, all money we earn is going directly toward saving for that trip – we need all cash on deck!

GSEM: Your troop has had some pretty epic booth moments, one year you did a Girl Scout Cookie vending machine and then last year you created an interactive slot-themed one. What are you doing this year?

DC: We haven’t decided yet, we all have different ideas! One theme we came up with last year which we didn’t do was a circus theme. I don’t know if we’ll do it this season, but it’s not completely scrapped. We could create some mini games that go along with the theme.

GSEM: It sounds like your troop averages around hosting four Girl Scout Cookie booths a year, what do you look forward to most during the season?

DC: You know, I like delivering the cookies. I like it when the boxes come in and I get to give them to everyone who ordered! Sometimes I get, “finally I’ve been waiting for these for such a long time!” And I’m like, “I know you have! You’ve been asking me about them every week for the last two months!”

GSEM: How would you say participating in the Girl Scout Cookie has helped you develop entrepreneurial skills?

DC: Well, things have definitely changed. So, when we do booths, we always have a parent present. We do most of it ourselves. Of course, we have a parent there and they’ll play cashier or something for a little while but, we have to get out there and get the experience. It’s definitely helped us grow as people because the whole program is for us, not for our parents. We have to learn how to approach customers and diversify our approach. Everyone has a different way they want to be approached – you don’t want to take a canned approach to all of these people.

GSEM: What advice do you have for those new to the Girl Scout Cookie Program?

DC: Know your audience! And don’t let your parents do the work for you. Because again, this program is for you. You are here for you. You are here to learn for yourself, build your skills. You’re not going to build skills if your parents are out there advertising for you, cashiering for you, doing everything for you. You have to do it yourself. I’m not saying you can’t have help; your parents are there to help, and you will need their help, but you have to take on the responsibility. It’s a big responsibility to participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program and you have to put in the work.

Thank you, Dana – we hope you meet your troop goal of 950 Girl Scout Cookie packages! For questions or more information about the Girl Scout Cookie Program, contact Michelle Johnson, Director of Product Programs at mjohnson@girlscoutsem.org.