Should We Boycott Cookies?
The decision of whether or not to sell cookies is one that each troop has to make individually.
Girls should discuss the facts and make an informed decsion. They should be able to explain their decision to their parents and others. This year, no matter what they choose to do, there will be people asking them about their choice. If they do not sell cookies, they will get people confronting them about the lack of cookie availability. If they choose to sell cookies - especially at a booth - people are likely to ask them about camps.
- The cookie sale is primarily a fund raiser for the council.
- Troops get a small percentage of the profit. There are individual incentives.
- The newly re-formatted girl programming touts the cookie sale as a "financial literacy" program. There are now something like ten different badges and two daisy leaves based on different aspects of the cookie sale.
- Participation in the cookie sale ( and the fall product sale) is a pre-requisite for a troop to be able to do additional money-earning projects.
The council needs the cookie sales more than the troops do.
A troop that decides to boycott cookies may have a lean year, but they can still function as a troop. The financial burden for camp or travel expenses may be thrown onto the parents and troop sponsors. In some cases, it may be that the parents would prefer working extra hours at their regular job rather than delivering cookies or supervising a booth. In families where this is not an option, the girls in the troop are going to have to think through the type of programming they want, and figure how to manage with a decreased budget.
The council office needs the cookie sale. They have a payroll to meet, a mortgage on the macedonia office, rent on satelite offices, a retirement fund for employees that they are required to contribute to. LIzbeth Kohler from GSNEO staff spoke at a service unit meeting earlier this year and said that if we want camps, a boycott is NOT the way to go, because without the income, council won't be able to support much of anything. This is true. But the board already said that they are closing the camps. And we are still waiting for them to say otherwise. The choice to withdraw from cookie sales is in response to the board's choice to sell camps - not the other way around.
Most of us had always taken it for granted that the council was using the cookie funds to provide camps - but now we know that less than 10% of the GSNEO budget goes for camp programming and maintenence. If the board sells camps, money from the sales will be supporting the camps that are left - so they may not have to fund camping at all for a couple of years. Timberlane, Ledgewood, and Sugarbush will be able to function until the camp sales money is gone. fter that...........it's anyone's guess.
Lessons in financial literacy: Money talks. The power it commands is enormous. Shifts in economic power have built and brought down empires. This is the one of the most profound financial literacy lessons girls will ever get. This is not just about camp and cookies, this is about setting priorities. We make choices every day about what is important to us, about what we are willing to pay for, about what we refuse to support. You either think for yourself, or you let advertisers do your thinking for you. Don't believe something just because someone says so. THINK about if it makes sense. If you are going to survive economically you need to make a conscious choice. Be aware of the consequences of your purchases.
When making the decision, it doesn't have to be "all or nothing" . Some troops may choose to sell minimal cookies in order to be able to do other fundraisers. This may be especially true if they already have plans for large trips.
Support girls even if you can't support council policies. If you can't buy their cookies, make a donation to their troop.
We all may be able to avoid disaster by getting the message to the GSNEO board of directors BEFORE the camps are gone or cookies remain unsold. Unfortunately, volunteers have sometimes been released form their volunteer positions for disagreeing with the council, which tends to make people hesitant about expressing an opinion. Do what you feel you have to.