I have this amazing dream where I'm surrounded by cookies.
Chocolate-enrobed wafers piled up at my feet...stacks of coconut caramel chewies blocking the hallway...a tower of lemony shortbread threatening to topple on my head...
Wait, this isn't a dream. It's my living room.
Last month, my daughter charged around our neighborhood in her spiffy green vest covered with badges, taking orders for Girl Scout cookies. She was an impressive little general, polishing her front-porch pitch and mapping out the territory for maximum sales coverage.
This weekend those hundreds of pre-sold boxes arrived for distribution, temporarily transforming the front of our house into a confectionary wonderland. It's taking every ounce of adult restraint to keep from tearing into the Trefoils and eating them all myself.
I don't need a Jungian analyst to understand my urge to turn into a furry blue monster with a speech impediment.
I'm not the only one struck by cookie fever this week. It's officially Girl Scout Cookie season, and there's drool everywhere: #cookieboss was a recent trending hashtag on Twitter, and the baked morsels reached iconic hipster status with a list of beer pairings traveling around the Internet (Thin Mints with a pint of coffee stout is all I need for dinner, how 'bout you?)
Some 200 million pre-paid boxes are hitting the streets right about now, and do not fear if my—or someone else's—daughter didn't snare you into her adorable entrepreneurial hold. The girls in green will be out in full force for several weeks, hawking their delectable wares at in front of grocery stores and shopping centers.
And check it out: Girl Scout cookies may be an enduring tradition, but they've moved into hi-tech: Those looking for the Dos-Si-Do hook-up can download the "Cookie Finder" app that directs you to the closest cookie booth via GPS.
But Girl Scout cookies aren't just about the sugar fix.
"This is the biggest girl-led business in the world. We're really proud of that," says Tara Nobles, Senior Manager of Creative Services for the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, who helped oversee the dispersal of 11,000 boxes out of a Pooler warehouse this weekend. "It's important to remember what these girls take away."
Nobles—herself a lifelong Scout—is referring to the money management skills and business ethics absorbed by the girls as they sell. Every time you snarf up a four-dollar box of crumbly delight, you're helping a young woman gain professional and economic footing, not to mention earn another badge (and let me tell you, Girl Scouts really love those stinkin' badges!)
Waving the banner of developing its millions of members into "women of courage, confidence and character," the Girl Scouts continually ups its programming game. They host all-important science and engineering activities and implement interactive anti-bullying campaigns.
Public service is a core value; thousands of cases of cookies will be sent overseas to deployed soldiers, and many individual troops donate profits to local food banks. High school-age Scouts plant community gardens, build solar-powered wells and start literacy programs to earn their Gold Awards. (The biggest badge of 'em all, Gold Awards can also mean scholarship money for college.)
Best of all, diversity and inclusion are not only loudly embraced but have been part of the Girl Scout creed since the very beginning. Founder Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low invited socially-spurned Jewish and disabled girls to her first troop meeting and opened up her club to African-American, Latina and other minorities long before the Civil Rights Act.
Daisy did all of that right here in Savannah a century ago, and thousands of scouts a year make the pilgrimage to Girl Scout Mecca sites the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace and the First Headquarters.
(Speaking of hometown pride, some of the first Girl Scout cookies ever were baked by Savannah's own Gottlieb's Bakery in the 1940s, and sold in wax paper bags for a quarter. Sure, they're a bit more spendy now, but they're also a bit more palate-pleasing. A well-meaning devotee baked up a dusty-tasting batch from the original recipe for the Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary Celebration back in 2012, and Georgia Red Clay Clods might have been an appropriate name for them.)
If you need to assuage any guilt about indulging in a box of Savannah Smiles, just know that each nommy bite is an act of solidarity for the women of tomorrow.
Of course, there will always be nincompoops who think teaching girls ANYTHING constitutes a "radical feminist agenda." Conservative groups have long accused the Girl Scouts of cultivating a "breeding ground for lesbians, communists and pagans," and folks like Pro-Life Waco director John Pisciotta howl that holding up Gloria Steinem and Hillary Clinton as role models somehow promotes abortion.
Pisciotta and other anti-abortion activists have recently announced a "cookiecott" in response to a GSUSA tweet that dared suggest filibustering Texas congresswoman Wendy Davis and Affordable Care Act spokeswoman Kathleen Sebelius as potential candidates for Woman of the Year. Their misplaced outrage makes me want to double my Tagalong order.
Sure, introducing girls to their own abilities and strengths might inspire them to take responsibility for their own bodies and health.
In reality, the Girl Scouts has no partnership with Planned Parenthood and clarifies on its website that it takes no official position on sexuality or birth control.
There will never be Plan B pills spilling out of your box of Thin Mints, and nobody is discussing D and Cs on their sit-a-pons.
That's fine with me, because I don't need the Girl Scouts to teach my daughter to be a proud feminist.
Or that when women around the world have access to affordable birth control, it directly correlates with higher education rates, economic prosperity and better health.
Or that there's nothing remotely wrong with being gay or transgender.
She will learn all those things from me.
What I can't teach her that the Girl Scouts already has: How to tie six different knots that won't come undone, start a fire with dryer lint and extract DNA from a strawberry.
And as evidenced by all these dang delicious cookies piled near the piano, how to market a product and sell the hell out of it.
If it helps ensure that millions of girls develop such "self-confidence and good decision-making skills," then bring on the cookies.
I just hope the Girl Scouts teach the decision-making skill of not eating an entire box of Samoas in one sitting. Ooof.