MARIETTA - Girls in green sashes are marching up porch steps and knocking on doors, offering their chocolate, peanut butter, mint, coconut, shortbread, caramel and lemon-flavored cookie concoctions to the masses.
Girl Scout cookie season has arrived. And though the price of a box of cookies rose 50 cents this year, local girl scouts are hoping that solid sales will help fund the service projects, field trips and merit badge activities they have planned for the upcoming year.
"It appears people are still willing to purchase them," said Michelle Secrest, troop leader for Junior Girl Scout Troop 629 of Marietta.
Girl Scout troops retrain 65 cents for each box of cookies sold-up five cents from last year, according to the Girl Scouts of America website.
"It helps us do a lot of things. At our monthly meetings we work on merit badges. It also helps get some of the merit badges we get from doing outside activities," said Secrest.
It also helped fund Troop 629's service project, which included filling jars with candy and passing them out at Heartland of Marietta around Christmas time, said Michelle's daughter Lakyn Secrest.
Girl Scout Cookies
* Sales started Jan. 3 and continue through Jan. 31.
* Cookies cost $4 per box, a 50 cent increase over last year's price per box.
* Cookies available locally include Thin Mints, Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos, Samoas, Savannah Smiles, Dulce de Leche, Thank U Berry Munch, and Tagalongs.
* A new gluten-free cookie - Chocolate Chip Shortbread - was introduced in test markets this year but is not yet available nationwide.
Source: Marietta Times research.
"It was cool to see how happy the people were to see us there," recalled 10-year-old Lakyn.
Cookie sales have remained strong this year, said Lakyn, who has already sold around 200 boxes.
"I go to neighbors. I go to my church. I ask all my relatives," she said.
The annual cookie sales help girls develop five important life skills-goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics-according the Girl Scout website.
Ambassador Girl Scout Troop 424 of Marietta is focusing very hard on goal-setting this year, said troop leader Laura Dye.
The group of older girls, all sophomores and juniors, have forgone the Girl Scout incentive program, which offers rewards based on sales. Instead they will earn 75 cents per cookie, which will be put toward their big senior year goal, said Dye.
"They are saving their money because when they get to be seniors they want to do a big field trip," she said.
The girls in Ambassadors 424 will each pitch an idea on where to go. Marietta High School junior Marcy Huffman is hoping for King's Island.
"We only have one year left and we want to do something as a troop," she said.
Huffman has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten, and some of her fondest scout memories involve field trips. When she was much younger, her scout troop got to have a unique slumber party when they visited the Akron Zoo.
"We got to stay the night at the zoo. It was so cool," she said.
Fellow Ambassador Troop 424 member Sarah Dennis, 16, remembers using her cookie money to attend Girl Scout camps.
"I used to go to Mount Vernon for a horse riding camp," recalled Dennis, a Marietta High School junior.
While the activities made possible through cookie funds have always been memorable, so too have the cookie sales themselves, said Dennis.
"When I was younger, my best friend and I were in Girl Scouts together. We would go door to door selling and people would tell us 'You're so cute.' It was always so fun," she said.
Cookie sales started Jan. 3 and run through Jan. 31, said Secrest. While a new gluten-free cookie was introduced in some test markets this year, it is not yet available locally.
People can still get the classics-Thin Mints, Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos, Samoas, Tagalongs, Savannah Smiles, Dulce de Leche and Thank U Berry Munch cookies-from their local Girl Scout or by waiting until March when cookie booths will begin popping up outside of local retailers, she added.