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Girl Scouts plan one monster of a cookie sale: 65,000 boxes of cookies in South County
Kimberli Thompson and Poppy Howard share a laugh as they stock a bag full of the famous cookies that help fund Girl Scout activities throughout the region. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
LATHROP — Kimberli Thompson knows how important Girl Scout cookies are to the organization.

As the leader of Troop 1696, she sees firsthand the benefits that the cookie sales brings to her local troop as a whole, and the incentive it brings to the girls that come out of their shell as they hit the streets looking to meet their individual goals.

Her position as the Service Unit Manager for the Big Valley service unit that encompasses Manteca, Ripon, Escalon, Lathrop and Weston Ranch, however, paints the much bigger picture of the importance that the sales have on the organization as a whole.

“They’re our biggest fundraiser of the year hands down,” said Thompson, who was helping oversee the leader cookie sales training at Grace Community Church in Lathrop. “The cumulative sales really help fund all of the facets of the Girl Scouts, and help individual troops reach their respective goals.”

Last year the Big Valley unit moved more than 65,000 boxes of cookies to people in and around the South County – with several members reaching individual sales records to earn things like iFlip cameras.

This year, the girl who tops the 2,500 box mark will be awarded an iPad, and additional prizes such as laptops and iPods are available for super-sellers that want to be rewarded for their hard work.

According to Thompson the sales – which formally begin at individual sites in February – are a great way to get troop members together and watch them flourish as they partake in a tradition that goes back almost a century.

“I love watching the girls get excited as they reach their own goals and do their best to reach the unit-wide goals that have been set,” she said. “It teaches them valuable lessons that they can take with them in life.”

The most popular varieties of cookies are the Thin Mints and the Caramel De-Lites top the annual sales list, with the new Shout Out – a Belgian caramel cookie – expected to make a splash when it gets introduced early next year.

Other favors like Samoas, Peanut Butter Patties, and Tagalongs will also be available when the pre-sales begin on January 4.

According to Poppy Howard – who oversees the sales of cookies for the entire unit – the combination of group togetherness and individual motivation make the cookie sale season one of her favorite times of the year.

“I love watching my shy girls get out of their shell,” Howard said. “I like to watch them become empowered, and to learn more about themselves as they get out there and interact in the real world.”