DES MOINES, Iowa -- It's the most wonderful time of the year for cookie lovers. Girl Scouts of Central Iowa distributed thousands of cookies to local troops from a top-secret location in the metro Saturday, as a kick off to the cookie selling season.
"It`s the best kept secret in Des Moines is the place where we store all the cookies," laughs Antoinette Berich, a spokesperson with Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa. From Thin Mints to Shortbread cookies, nearly 16,000 cases are stored in a warehouse, handed out to troop leaders, then ultimately into the hands of cookie craving Iowans.
The process looks somewhat like organized chaos. "We have people coming in with U-Hauls. People coming in with three or four vehicles making sure everyone gets the cookies they need," says Troop 232 leader Amy Dagtiz. "The volunteers count them, the cookie moms count them and then everyone goes away with a car full of cookies."
As troop leaders picked up their initial batch of cookies to sell this season, it's the start of the moment young girls like Bella Gerk dream of. "It's going to be exciting because I've never sold Girl Scout cookies before." Gerk is a member of Troop 492 and says her fellow scouts have their goals set high this year, hoping to sell as many boxes as possible.
While it's easy for the consumer to get caught up in the cookie craze, for the seller it's a valuable lesson on decision making, people skills and money management.
"We hear from grown women a lot that their first sales job was actually being a part of the Girl Scout cookies program, so we know those skills that they are learning at aged 5 and aged 10 are really sticking with them throughout their lives," says Berich.
Online cookie sales have already begun and booth sales start next Friday. Cookie lovers can also download to the Girl Scout cookie finder app on their smartphones to help locate the nearest cookie booth.