Greene County’s Girl Scout Troop 80016 is still a new troop, but that is not stopping the girls from having success with selling cookies. The troop began in Sept. 2021 and is run by Kellie Hardie, Tracy Dohn Cummins and Angelica Good.
“It was actually inspired by my daughter Madison. She wanted to be a Girl Scout and there was not a troop that actually met in our Waynesburg area. Dr. Tracy Dohn Cummins, her daughter, Helena, actually wanted to be a Girl Scout too,” Hardie said. “We connected, Tracy and I, and we decided to be troop leaders.”
After they connected, they officially started the troop. It was small in the beginning but has grown significantly through the years. Hardie is Waynesburg University Dean of Students. Dohn Cummins is Assistant Professor of Biology in the university’s Department of Biology, Environmental Science and Health Science.
“When we started, we had Madison, Helena, and two other girls. Since then, in that short period of time till present day, our troop has grown to 17 total girls,” Hardie said.
Since having a larger number of girls, the cookie sales this year were more successful than the previous year. Hardie said that last year’s sales were half of what they sold this year.
“This is only our second time selling cookies as a troop,” Hardie said. “Tracy and I know what we are doing now and know what to expect.”
This year, the Girl Scout Troop raised $1,857.60.
A total 1,333 boxes of cookies were sold. Of the boxes, 273 were Thin Mints, 214 were Tagalongs and 192 were Samoas.
“Some people bought one box to support my daughter because she asked, other people bought for whole family groups because their grandparents didn’t know a Girl Scout either. I have some people put some of those larger orders for one nuclear family, then they distributed them themselves,” Dohn Cummins said.
One person who bought cookies was a co-worker of Hardie’s, Mary Anne Dispenza.
“I love to support the Girl Scouts or any organization. That’s my favorite thing to do,” Dispenza said. “The lemon ones are great and the new ones Adventurefuls.”
The girls have many different ways to sell their cookies and raise money for their troop.
“Each girl sells them,” Hardie said. “I can speak on behalf of my daughter, she sold them at church. I sold them here at work. We walked around her neighborhood and she sold them there. A lot of family members purchased them.”
“I have my daughter try and do a lot of the work so she set a goal for what she wanted to sell,” Dohn Cummins said. “As a Girl Scout, it is supposed to be her enterprise and her business and so she is the one who decided how she was going to market those, and a lot of that was just asking friends from church.”
“We had one girl sell over 500 boxes,” Hardie said. “You should have seen my office, this whole section over there, the entire table and that wall all the way across was full of boxes!”
When the girls sell a certain number of boxes, they get special prizes for raising money for the troop.
“Internally with our troop we started a tradition, it was called the ‘Cookie Queen’ and we gave the Girl Scout a sash and a little tiara because that individual sold the most cookies,” Hardie said. “This year it is going to be the girl who sold 500 boxes for sure.”
The success of cookie sales brings new opportunities to the girls in the troop.
“That cookie fundraiser funds the badges that they earn, their lesson supplies, those service projects and field trips,” Hardie said.
The activities and badges the girls do throughout the year teach them valuable skills that they will need in life.
“There’s a lot of good skills and values that Girl Scouts uphold and we like instilling that into our meetings as well. So things like supporting each other and being a sister to all the other Girl Scouts and girls who aren’t Girl Scouts,” Dohn Cummins said. “Learning that in the troop first to expect differences, to let everyone play, those kinds of skills are really important in the world. Those leadership skills and speaking up when you have something to say kind of things are important when making decisions.”
“The Girl Scouts is all about female empowerment and learning skills that they would learn outside of the classroom,” Hardie said. “Like team bonding, things like STEM activities and learning how to sew. We had classes on line dancing, yoga, scrapbooking and service projects.”
“For March, with Women’s History Month, we had them all choose women within history who have done something neat and give presentations on them. It teaches our girls research skills and presentation skills,” Dohn Cummins said. “Having the ability to stand up and do a presentation in front of your Girl Scout sisters as a kindergartener is not an opportunity a lot of girls have.”
Despite expanding significantly in the last year, Dohn Cummins wants to continue that path and include a new leader to grow their troop more.
“We need troop leaders. There are more girls interested than the number of troops you have,”
Dohn Cummins said. “We have three troop leaders currently and that gives us up to 18 girls. We are thinking of adding a new troop leader for next year because we are already at our maximum capacity.”
The Girl Scout Troop meets from 5:30 until 7 p.m. on the first and the third Thursdays of every month at Waynesburg University. For more information on the Girl Scouts, visit girlscouts.org.