Girl Scouts turn 100, offer new cookie

Published 12:15 pm Saturday, March 3, 2012

As part of a 100-year celebration, the Girl Scouts are offering a new lemon cookie called Savannah Smiles. -- Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribune

There is a new Girl Scouts cookie. This year consumers have the option of a new lemon-flavored cookie. They are called Savannah Smiles and are being offered in celebration of the Girl Scouts’ centennial.

The 2012 cookie selling season is in full swing for the Girl Scouts in the Council of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys.

Local Scout leader MaChar Kingstrom said the name of the cookie was chosen in honor of Juliette Gordon, the woman who founded their parent organization, Girl Scouts of the USA in Savannah, Ga., in 1912.

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Kingstrom said the cookies have been a good fit.

“Whenever we get a new cookie, people like to try them,” she said. “They are very tart and sweet at the same time.”

Sara Danzinger, the public relations manager for Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys, said eventually the Savannah Smiles may become a permanent choice, but for now it’s exclusively for 2012 as part of the centennial celebration.

“It’s doing well, but of course we always have the loyalists in the top three and chocolate lovers,” Danzinger said.

The top three flavors the Girl Scouts sell are Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs.

Danzinger said last year the Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys council was the No. 1 cookie seller, at 5.4 million boxes sold.

The new cookie is just one part of the 100-year celebration, though. On March 10 and 11, there will be 50,000 Girl Scouts, alumni, volunteers and family taking part in the Great Girl Gathering at the Mall of America.

Danzinger said the gathering allows the Girl Scouts to highlight some of their programs.

“We’re more than cookies, crafts and camping,” Danzinger said. “For the 100th anniversary we’re really taking the opportunity to change people’s perceptions about girl scouting.”

Kingstrom said the Girl Scouts are more about teaching girls leadership roles, embracing the fact that they are women and celebrating the diversity among themselves.

“It’s exciting, fun, and challenging,” said Kingstrom, who has been a leader for nine years. “Sometimes I see a bigger picture they’re not seeing.”

Kingstrom said the girls develop relationships that make them want to help each other to shine.

Besides the Great Girl Gathering and the cookie sales, there will be two more large events going on for the Girl Scouts this year.

The second will be on April 21. There will be a centennial awards gala at the Minneapolis Convention Center to honor 100 local Girl Scout alumni.

The third will take place on Oct. 13.

“It is a celebration of our commitment to service,” Danzinger said.

The Girl Scouts will work with the Fresh Water Society to clean storm drains and educate the public about not dumping into them. Danzinger said it is estimated that by the Girl Scouts doing the project for one day it will save the state of Minnesota $6 million.

The cookie sales run through March 25 and the girls are offering eight varieties to choose from including the new Savannah Smiles.