In the past decade, more than one million boxes of Girl Scout cookies have found a temporary home in Cindy Dougherty's dining room.
Dougherty has spent the last 10 years serving as cookie chair for Service Unit 1 for the Chesapeake Bay Girl Scout Council. That means that all the cookies sold, at least 20,000 boxes per year, by girls from Conowingo to North East, were in Dougherty's care at some point.
"I've been cookie manager for 10 years (for the council). I've been cookie mom (for her daughter's troop) for 12 years," said Dougherty. "I love scouting. And this is a team." Dougherty has been active in scouts as an adult since 1982. She was a scout from 1965-1975.
The sales goal for this year is 32,000 boxes for Service Unit 1. "We need a lot of help," said Dougherty.
On Saturday, January 10, the Cookie Kickoff rally was held at American Legion Post 194 in Rising Sun. During this event, girls of all ages played games, earned prizes, learned about cookie selling safety, and of course, sampled the goods.
This year, about 160 girls - from kindergarten through high school seniors will be selling cookies for Service Unit 1. That number comes from 18 troops in the unit.
The Thin Mint is the most popular cookie. Samoa is second. Tagalongs and Do-si-Dos tie for third for buyers. Other cookie varieties include Savannah Smiles, and Trefoils. Each of these varieties sells for $4 per box. Rah-Rah Raisin is new for 2015 and is also $4. This year, the gluten free ToffeeTastic cookie has been introduced. Those will sell for $5 per box. Also new this year, the Thin Mint hasn't changed ingredient-wise, but is now declared vegan.
Pre-orders started over the weekend. Booth sales will begin February 13. Established booth sale sites include North East Walmart, Sun Pharmacy, Royal Farms stores in North East, Conowingo, Port Deposit, and Perryville, North East Wawa, Perryville Denny's, and Hibbett Sporting Goods in Rising Sun.
Scout troops earn 60-80 cents per box sold depending on the number of boxes sold. Dougherty said the experience they gain through the sales is invaluable.
Dougherty's daughter, Carol Dougherty, 17, has been selling about 250 boxes per year for the last dozen years. She said that it's easier to sell cookies if you actually have them in your possession. "I'm not cute and little anymore. It doesn't work as easily as it used to. Be polite," she said.
There are programs where cookies can be donated to deployed military through the Taste of Home program. There is also a program where local charities benefit from cookie sales. This year, St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Perryville will receive cookies for their food pantry. Cookies can also be ordered online this year through the Chesapeake Bay Girl Scout Council website.