Pictured are Columbus Grove Girl Scouts (back, left to right) Autumn Stechschulte, Kylee Fisher, Reagan Bryan; and (front, left to right) Lauryn Halker, and Mariska Spencer - Putnam Sentinel
Pictured are Columbus Grove Girl Scouts (back, left to right) Autumn Stechschulte, Kylee Fisher, Reagan Bryan; and (front, left to right) Lauryn Halker, and Mariska Spencer. (Putnam Sentinel/Martin Verni)

COLUMBUS GROVE — “Helping the community,” comes the immediate response from all five Girl Scouts during their troop’s meeting this past Monday at the Columbus Grove VFW. They were responding to a question on what they liked about being Girl Scouts. When asked how they help their community, Reagan Bryan answers, “We usually take some of our money and go Christmas shopping for families that can’t afford to buy Christmas presents. That’s my favorite way.”

The scouts also use the funds they raise to purchase fabric for making blankets. They create these blankets for seniors living in area nursing homes. They do the same for a local dog shelter, altering the design so that a pillow can be inserted, creating a dog bed.

The primary way these scouts raise the funds that go towards these and other efforts of bettering their community, and the reason for this day’s visit, is, of course, cookie sales. The annual effort began in early January, and deliveries will soon start in early February, followed quickly by booths.

For Girl Scouts, this annual effort is not just about selling cookies, it’s about learning how to sell cookies and all of the entrepreneurial skills that come with it. “I’m learning how to be a better businessman and talk to people,” says Reagan.

How do you learn to talk to people?

“We go over how to look them in the eye,” she answers.

Like you’re doing right now?

“Yes,” Reagan enthusiastically responds, adding, “We learn how to use words to make an item appeal to different people.” She then offers a person who says they’d rather not spend their money on cookies, as an example. In response, she says she has learned to say, “Well, you’re really helping out the troop. Because you’re giving money to help us go to camp.”

This year, Girl Scouts is introducing a brand new cookie called Lemon Ups. According to Reagan, “It kind of tastes like the Trefoil, but then they added lemon into it.” She adds that she likes the new cookie.

On February 15, the Girl Scouts will have a booth outside of the Rowdy Rooster Cafe in Columbus Grove from 8-10 a.m. They will also have a booth at a Columbus Grove American Legion Fish Boil on Feb. 28. And, booths will be hosted at the Dairy Whip in Columbus Grove after it reopens in March. “And also, if they live in town, we might be taking a wagon around on a nice day and selling door-to-door,” Reagan adds.

Supporters also have the option for their cookie purchase to be donated. An example is offered of a person who is diabetic. They may want to support the troop, but they can’t eat the cookies. This year, this Girl Scout troop will be donating such cookie purchases to Ronald McDonald House. In the past, those cookies have also been sent to area hospitals and the national organization facilitates donations to the military for active duty soldiers.

The troop is also collecting bottle caps to make a buddy bench for Ronald McDonald House, and aluminum cans for a financial donation.

The troop agrees that they’re most frequently asked what they do with the money raised when selling cookies. As for an answer, Reagan says, “We go Christmas shopping, and we bought the fabric for the blankets. And, this year, we’re going camping, kayaking, and laser tagging. For the past two years, we went to Marmon Valley [Farm in Bellefontaine] and went horseback riding, and spent the night there.”