A lot, it turns out.
The Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails council, which serves Albuquerque and all of the state’s northern half, ranked fourth in the country on a list of Girl Scout Cookie Capital cities by Newsweek’s online publication The Daily Beast.
“It’s the little council that could,” said Amanda Hamaker, manager for product sales at Girl Scouts USA, in a phone interview.
The council, one of three in the state, may have only 4,900 members, “but the participation rate is off the charts.”
Nationwide, about 67 percent of scouts in 112 councils sell cookies, Hamaker said. For the New Mexico Trails council, that figure is 77.5 percent.
Using data from cookie vendors, Hamaker said that, among girls who sell cookies, the national average is 134.5 boxes. The local council averages 218.5 boxes per cookie seller.
“That’s a lot of boxes,” said Tony Base, communications director for the council. According to national figures, it’s nearly 830,000 total.
For the scouts in Troop 1213, that means signing up for several hours at booths and going door-to-door when the cookies come in. Their goal this year is to sell 2,000 boxes each.
“Pretty much, you die in March,” said Rachel Sousa, 17.
She and others in her troop have plenty of incentive — rewards money from selling cookies will help send them to Europe this summer.
In the local council, every box sold earns 55 cents for the troop and 19 cents of “Girl Scout money” for the girl who sold it. The Girl Scout money can be used on patches, trips or camps. It’s a great way to motivate the girls and encourage them to set goals, Base said. “It gives the girls such a great foundation for being successful in business as well as their own life.”
The only area where the New Mexico Trails council lags behind is in membership — 3.8 percent of girls who are eligible to participate in Girl Scouts in this area do.
Base said that New Mexico faces challenges because the state is so rural, but he’s proud that the council is also one of the most diverse in the country.
Meanwhile, if you’re wondering how soon you can ease that sweet tooth with a box of Thin Mints, you won’t have long to wait. Orders are being taken now, with deliveries expected in late February. The price has gone up a quarter, to $3.75 a box, and the new variety this year is Savannah Smiles, a lemon cookie.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal