Arts & Life

Tagalong with the Girl Scouts

Behind popular cookies like Thin Mints and Caramel Delights lay girls with big dreams and inspiring endeavors.

The Girl Scouts’ mission statement is, “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”

“Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles (GSGLA) serves more than 33,000 girls in partnership with more than 17,000 adult members and volunteers,” said Katie Nielsen, senior manager of PR, communications and events of Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles.

“It is the largest girl-serving nonprofit agency in Los Angeles, with programs in entrepreneurship, life skills, outdoor and STE(A)M,” Nielsen said.

Long Beach has a service center located at 4040 N. Bellflower Blvd. which is part of the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles.

From left to right: Leilani Aguilar, Arie Cossio and Monica Cossio. Part of troop 2193 in Lakewood, CA their goal is to raise $650.
From left to right: Leilani Aguilar, Arie Cossio and Monica Cossio. Part of troop 2193 in Lakewood, CA their goal is to raise $650. Photo credit: Lizet Ibarra

For Jennifer Dillon, mom of 11-year-old Girl Scout Izzy Dillon and 6-year-old Girl Scout June Dillon, it is something all too familiar.

“My favorite part about the Girl Scouts is that we try to make it as girl-led as possible, which means that even at a young age, their opinions matter and they get to decide what they want to work on,” said Dillon.

Dillon has led her daughters’ troops since September 2016.

The Girl Scout meetings have both badge-earning and other activities. There is not a specific amount of badges that a Girl Scout needs to earn and it’s not mandatory, but there are badges for different levels of troops.

The Girl Scouts are versatile in that, “they are able to be outdoor troops, create arts and crafts, do service projects and sell cookies as well,” Dillon said. “Even though cookies are not everything, it is a very important part of our troops because it is what we use to pay for all of our experiences.”

The mother of two enjoys having two different age groups of troops because she has been able to see the Girl Scout members grow.

“As a mom, it is something I love to do with my girls, it’s a really neat opportunity. But I don’t just do it for them, I do it for the other girls too,” Dillon said. “It’s been really great to see them come together and be themselves and get to be with people they have known for so long.”

Girl Scouts start selling cookies at booths from January through April but it varies by location.

The booth outside Stater Bros. on Alondra Boulevard in Paramount, Calif. was helmed by 10-year-old Girl Scouts Arie Cossio, Leilani Aguilar and mom Monica Cossio.

As the wind blew, they all proudly exclaimed “Girl Scout Cookies” while customers walked in and out of Stater Bros.

“Girl Scouts is about coming together, learning how to sell, planting, visiting, donating, coming together to know each other,” Monica Cossio explained.

She explained that the hardest part of cookie selling is the long hours and trying to find the best spots to sell, as well as trying to meet the goal of cookies sold.

Cookie booths can be located through the Girl Scouts website by ZIP code.

Both Leilani Aguilar and Arie Cossio agreed that their favorite part about the Girl Scouts is that there are a lot of activities to do.

“Because you get your cookies directly from a Girl Scout (or troop), you’ll enjoy them even more knowing you’re helping local Girl Scouts gain the business experience and confidence to take on the world, one cookie at a time,” said Nielsen.

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