about time. The tradition-rich Girl Scouts have finally
appropriately the news was delivered on Cyber Monday.
Scouts, who have been selling boxes of cookies for
nearly 100 years by knocking on doors, setting up booths
in malls and grocery stores, and sending order forms to
the workplaces of moms and dads, are going digital for
the 2015 cookie-selling season.
in January, many Scout organizations plan to participate
in the national online program called Digital Cookie.
how it will work: Using an overall design template from
the Girl Scouts of the USA organization, members will
create customized e-commerce websites that could include
a digital thermometer that tracks sales, a story about
what the troop intends to do with the proceeds and other
will also build an e-mail contact list and reach out to
friends, family and other people they know. Only those
who have received an email invite can order online. The
cookies will be shipped directly to buyers — with
shipping fee included — much sooner than the
some troops will take orders for individual boxes
online, others, including the Kansas City area Scouts,
will sell cookies only by the case, half case or
worry. There will still be plenty of girls selling those
$4 boxes of Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Patties and
Savannah Smiles the old-fashioned way.
cookie sales online is a big step for the national
scouting organization, which studied this option for
about five years. It’s also about money — no
question, going digital should broaden the reach of the
sales force, generate more dollars for the troops and
make the distribution system more efficient over time.
Internet sales also have raised concerns from many
parents and privacy experts — and rightfully so —
about potentially exposing teens and younger children to
the dark sides of the Web, such as hacking,
cyberbullying, identity theft and sexual predators.
Girl Scouts say they have addressed those potential
threats. Given the regularity of online mayhem today, I
hope they’re right.
a girl’s first name will be part of her customized
site; no other identifying information will be listed.
Customer credit card information will also be encrypted.
There are also safeguards to prevent someone a Scout may
not know from ordering directly online.
addition, girls participating in online sales must take
an Internet safety pledge, and there will be lessons
about safety issues online.
Garvin, the brand and marketing vice president for the
Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri, acknowledges
the online safety risks. But in the end, she said,
technology is a reality that cannot be ignored.
need to strike a balance between being safe and giving
girls the opportunity to experience new
technologies," said Garvin, whose regional council
oversees about 25,000 Scouts in 47 counties.
the thought of allowing children to sell cookies online
makes me a little uncomfortable, overall I think the
modernization makes sense. How can you teach
entrepreneurship to today’s generation of Scouts
without developing their online skills?
the 2.3 million Scouts nationwide with hands-on website
experience also fits well with national efforts to steer
more females into the STEM fields of science,
technology, engineering and mathematics.
a role for parents in this venture. Just as they need to
monitor neighborhood door-to-door sales, they need to be
good digital parents. That means being involved in the
content that appears on their Scout’s cookie website
and to talk to their daughter about the good and the bad
of social media, the Internet and technology.
you need conversation starters, the Family Online Safety
Institute has extensive materials to help parents and
children learn about Internet safety and navigate the
networked world we live in.
is a family program," said Garvin. "We want
parents to be 100 percent engaged."