AUSTIN (KXAN) — Brace yourself: Girl Scout cookie season is upon us.
The Girl Scouts of Central Texas kicked off its 2021 cookie season Wednesday, Jan. 20.
Local Girl Scout Marie Young is already expecting a busy day one.
“It is going to be a crazy day,” she said. “It always is. Every year that I do girl scout cookie sales, the first day is crazy.”
Young expects the year to be very different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Travis County is still under Stage 5 guidelines.
“I usually sell most of my cookies at booth sales, but this year, especially in Austin, where it’s going to be curbside or drive-thru booths, it’s going to difficult, and it’s going to be harder to find booths, which means I’m going to have to be more creative in the ways that I sell,” Young said.
Instead, she’s taking full advantage of selling online, utilizing a new technique: a virtual cookie booth.
“I have a private Facebook group that I have been posting on for several weeks now of just getting people excited and ready. So, this morning I was posting the link, responding to questions and comments, and when anyone orders, I post in the group saying ‘thank you,’ tagging that person and encouraging other people to order.”
Customers have already started ordering from her. As of this morning, she has 100 people participating in the virtual cookie booth, as well as more than 25 people in all of her friends’ groups. All of Young’s social media sales are under her parents’ supervision.
Every year since Young was a Brownie, she has sold more than 1,000 boxes. Yet in 2021, facing a pandemic, she’s excited and more determined than ever with an even higher goal.
“Two-thousand boxes, because I really want to help my troop, my council,” she said.
Her ultimate goal is to take one last Girl Scout trip before graduating high school. She aims to travel to Croatia in 2022.
How the cookies crumble in 2021
Social distancing and safety are top of mind for the Girl Scouts of Central Texas during the pandemic. The organization has updated and innovated its operations to accommodate both girl scouts and customers.
“Must wear masks — we want both girls and customers to wear masks, observe social distancing guidelines we have recommended that girls disinfect often, wear gloves,” Kursten Mitchell said.
Mitchell is the chief of marketing and communications at Girl Scouts of Central Texas. She’s excited about the innovations her organization has implemented, especially a new collaboration customers can take advantage of.
The Girl Scouts of Central Texas has teamed up with Grubhub to fulfill contact-free cookie orders. Various troops will manage their Grubhub orders using the company’s app on weekends between 11a.m. and 7 p.m. in most areas of Central Texas. Through this collaboration, the Girl Scouts can gain hands-on experience in managing e-commerce — tracking and fulfilling orders, managing inventory, and more, the organization said.
Troops can also host in-person events, such as new drive-through booths to manage social distancing. One troop, in particular, is going a different route. Scuba Troop 40348 is taking its cookie booth underwater. You can see a photo of that in the slideshow at the bottom of this article.
Overall, Young is excited about her new options of selling.
“Everyone is so willing to support and be there for each other and it’s great how everyone has been able to adapt,” she said. “It is a challenging year, but I’m so excited that Girl Scouts has given me the opportunity to really move forward and really become a better salesperson and a better cookie seller.”
The Girl Scouts of Central Texas follows CDC guidelines as well as local and state orders. You can learn more about its pandemic procedures and updates on its website. Also, if you’re interested in ordering cookies, you can visit Girl Scouts of Central Texas’ website and learn how to buy from a local troop near you.