Girl Scout Cookies arrive on Martha’s Vineyard

Isabella Webster, Genevieve Hyland, and Samantha Caldwell holding up signs to entice customers. — Photo courtesy of Adrienne Forge

What every Islander in the winter needs: Thin Mints in the freezer, a small comfort that brings back nostalgia for the young and old.

Starting this month, Islanders will be able to get their fill on Thin Mints, Caramel deLites, Peanut Butter Patties, Thanks-a-Lot, Lemonades, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Shortbread, and new this year, Cranberry Citrus Crisps and Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies through cookie booth and door-to-door sales.

For some, purchasing Girl Scout Cookies is an annual tradition.

“I usually give my husband a case of Thin Mints for Christmas each year,” Lynne Silvia of Vineyard Haven said. Her supplier moved off-Island, leaving her husband, Jack, without his favorite cookie this holiday season.

“When Loralei came in to the Boys & Girls Club with her order form, I knew I had to order my husband’s present,” Ms. Silvia said. “It will be his birthday present this year instead.”

Loralei and her twin sister Juliette Forgette moved to the Island this August from Maryland where they were involved in Girl Scouts for the past three years.

“I like selling cookies because you learn more things every time you do like learning how to count, subtract, make more friends, and learn how to keep track of money,” Loralei said.

Suzanne Reppert and Kathy Smith are the leaders of the remaining high school troop on the Island and have helped organize

cookie sales over the past six years. Suzanne’s daughter, Premala, was the top seller last year, selling 634 boxes.

“She even went out in a snowstorm to sell cookies so Islanders could enjoy cookies, perhaps with hot chocolate that night or next day when school was cancelled,” Suzanne said.

The troop has used cookie profits to attend council-led camping trips off-Island and used saved profits to fund a sightseeing trip to New York City. Last March, Suzanne’s troop was able to spend the night at the Boston Museum of Science with Girl Scouts from all over the region.

“We slept in the room next to the Tyrannosaurus rex,” Teika Lampart said. Teika was the second highest seller of cookies last year, selling 437 boxes.

Alice Robinson has been involved with Girl Scouts on the island for the past 37 years. “Except for a period of 14 years, I have been either cookie manager or assistant cookie manager since 1981,” she said.

In that time, she has seen the organization ebb and flow.

“During the 1980s we had up to 184 girls in the program at one given time. Last year, our only Island troop sold 3,500 boxes of cookies with only 12 members,” Alice said.

This year, Island troops pre-ordered approximately 3,000 boxes of cookies. At the first cookie booth sale at the Edgartown Stop & Shop, the Girl Scout Brownie Troop sold 384 boxes of cookies in three hours. The third grade girls collected money, made change, and kept track of the number of boxes sold.

“I love Lemonades because I love lemons,” Addy Craft-Rudnick said.

Lemonades were the first cookie to sell out of the booth sale, perhaps because of Addy’s persuasive sales techniques. Thin Mints and Caramel deLites, however, were the overall top sellers.

“I love Thin Mints because they are minty and are covered in chocolate,” Girl Scout Daisy Isabella Webster said. “Caramel deLites are really good too. They are sugary and have coconut in them.”

West Tisbury third grader Genevieve Hyland sold 157 boxes in her first two days as a Girl Scout.

“I usually have to drag her out of bed on a school day, but the day after she got her cookie sale sheet, she had me wake her up at 5 am to start texting and calling people for sales,” Genevieve’s mother, Casandra, said. “She spent her recess break at school the first day running to classrooms selling cookies to teachers and staff. She has made all of the phone calls on her own and set up delivery.”

While the cookies sell themselves, Alice Robinson points out that it’s the process that is most beneficial to the girls. “Being an entrepreneur for young women is entirely different than it used to be,” she said. “Before, girls would learn how to bake cookies, now they are learning how to sell cookies, how to present the product, and how to keep track of the money. “Fundraising is secondary to helping the girls build entrepreneurial skills. Presenting themselves to the public, teamwork, marketing, are all a much more important part of the educational goal.”

Casandra Hyland has already seen a difference in her daughter since she started the Cookie Sale Program. “She has always been pretty shy,” she said. “I’m surprised at her determination and dedication.”

Interested in becoming a Girl Scout? A representative from the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts will hold registration event on February 18 at 5:30 pm at the American Legion in Vineyard Haven.

Look for cookie booths at area grocery stores each weekend this month as well as the Oak Bluffs Square Saturday, February 8,  from 11 am to 1 pm.

Adrienne Forgette is the mother of girl scouts, as well as a troop leader. She teaches English at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.