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Local Girl Scouts face cookie crisis

HARLEM VALLEY — With a motto of “Be Prepared” ingrained into their training ever since their founding in 1912, Girl Scouts have been ready to take on whatever they face — but the year 2022 has been especially challenging as Mother Nature has put a serious damper in their cookie fundraising efforts.

Since the now famous Girl Scout cookies were first sold in Muskogee, Okla., in 1917, proceeds from the ever-popular treats have gone a long way toward funding the Scout programs for millions of girls, including 28 of whom attend the North East (Webutuck) and Dover Union Free Central School Districts.

This year, however, the weekend sales have been stymied despite the best efforts of supporters Kelly’s Creamery (Dover Plains), Orlando Family Hardware Store (Wingdale), Boyce Park (Wingdale), Savarese Septic Service (Wingdale) and Wingdale’s Mobile, which provided an indoor spot for cookie sales for a time.

In past years, by now the troop would have placed at least two re-orders on their cookie stock. But as of press time on Tuesday, May 10, the troop had more than 1,500 boxes remaining from its original order yet to be sold.

A passionate and determined supporter of the program, Troop Leader Wendy Carey McDougall said she is determined to meet their goal.

“My girls will never go without,” she said, explaining that without earning proceeds from their cookie sales, members of Troop 10478 must pay for badges, medals and other expenses themselves. That’s not easy, as Dover and Webutuck are neighboring communities that are “almost 50% in poverty,” noted McDougall.

“Normally troops would charge the parents for badges and medals, but we have multiple families that don’t even have a vehicle,” she said, so the sales allow for a level playing field for any girls who want to be Girl Scouts.

McDougall noted that because the Scouts receive only a small percentage of the cookie profits, the girls are always especially appreciative when cash donations are also made.

The always frugal McDougall said, “We use our resources wisely,” adding a shout out to the generous community members who consistently support request lists and drop boxes left at local schools and at the Salisbury Bank.

“They leave craft supplies and paints, so I try to save as much money as I can on the supplies so that we can put that toward adventures” said McDougall; the girls learn and also earn rewards.

Troop 10478’s most recent outing was a camping trip at Rock Hill Girl Scout Camp in Mahopac.

Earlier, the younger girls not yet ready to be Girl Scouts known as “Daisies” earned  a visit to Build-a-Bear in Poughkeepsie, with the older Cadettes planning an outing in June to Six Flags in Lake George.

Looking forward several years, the group is also planning a dream adventure to  Savannah, Ga., the home of Girl Scout Founder Juliette Gordon Low, which will involve a number of Scouting activities.

While cookie sales benefit the Girl Scouts, the treats themselves also help them to live up to their slogan: “Do a good turn daily.”

That’s because the troops often donate the famed baked goods to first responders, nursing home residents, families in need and military service personnel. A variety of care packages are actually sent to the members of the military four times a year, with special efforts being made during the COVID pandemic when cookies could not be sold in person.

McDougall said as the girls progress through the years, they earn recognition at various levels — bronze, silver and gold. Not all Scouts make it to the end of the program, but those who do are often met with scholarships and even a boost in rank if they decide to enlist in the military.

McDougall said she expects during the coming graduation season, those who stayed with the Scouts to make it to the end and further pursue the military, and to mark their accomplishments by wearing golden tassels.

McDougall said she herself is a lifelong Scout whose mother was “the best Scout leader ever.” In addition to her family, especially her husband Sam and brother Joe Carey, who recently taught an astronomy course for her troop, she partners with Nikki Savarese, Denise Smith, Lehanne Ottley, Lisa Blake and Meaghan Iozzo.

McDougall is hopeful that all the troop’s remaining cookies will soon be sold at locations listed on the troop’s Facebook page, with the Dover Elementary School parking lot being a likely spot.

Anyone in the area as far north as Millerton wanting a delivery of “any number [of boxes] — no minimum!” may call or text her at 845-821-8532 to arrange for a delivery of or to pickup the delectable delights. Payment may be made through Venmo@troop10478. Donations are also always appreciated.   

This year, as a result of the pandemic, S’moores are not available, said McDougall.

Available cookies:

• Thin Mints

• Tagalongs

• Do-Si-Dos

• Lemon Ups

• Trefoils

• Samoas

• Adventurfuls

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