As the top Girl Scout cookie seller for Carroll County last year, Erin Saunders sold 1,004 boxes by smiling.
Many of the sales were made from her home, as Erin had a cast on her ankle at the time, from a sprain. But when she was out selling, whether at cookie booths or at her bowling league, she made sure a smile was on her face, she said.
"All I do is, every week, I go out and sell them and then I go to a bunch of cookie booths," Erin, 9, said, of her past success. "I ask people ...and smile."
Now a fourth-grader at Cranberry Station Elementary School, Erin hopes to sell at least 1, 000 boxes again this year. She will be a featured part of the 100th Girl Scout Birthday Anniversary and recruitment event scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22, at TownMall, in Westminster.
And there will be cookies available.
"Usually we don't get cookies until October," said Theresa Saunders, Erin's mom and a co-leader of Girl Scout Troop 2185.
This year, pre-order cookie sales run from Sept. 14 through the first week of October, with cookies arriving Oct. 20. Troops also set up cookie booths in the area.
"There are 45 troops in Westminster and we have to do a lottery," Theresa said of troops vying for "prime" locations, such as Giant and Staples, to set up their tables to sell cookies.
"I like in front of Staples on Halloween weekend," Theresa said of her favorite place for a booth. "People are going to the party store getting their costumes."
Thin Mints are the best seller, Erin said, though her own personal favorite is Samoas, a coconut, caramel and chocolate cookie. Revealing one of the secrets of her top sales for the county, Erin said she includes recipes that feature Girl Scout cookies as key ingredients when she delivers her cookies.
"Sometimes it encourages people to buy more cookies," Theresa said. "The only problem is (a recipe) often takes half-a-box and there no cookies left for eating."
All money raised from the sale of the $4 boxes goes to Girl Scouts, with a portion going to the troop. While girls are not required to sell cookies, they are encouraged to sell, Theresa said.
"We ask them to set their own goals," Theresa said. "If a girl doesn't want to sell cookies she doesn't."
The Girl Scout cookie sale generates $760 million, is the largest girl-led business in the country and generates immeasurable benefits for girls, their councils and communities nationwide.
As a Scout, Erin has enjoyed going horseback riding, ice skating and roller skating. She also traveled to Washington, to participate in the 100th Girl Scout anniversary, and also took part in an event this past summer at orioles Park and Camden Yards where she was honored as a cookie sales "Heavy Hitter."
The Sept. 22 event at TownMall, which will run 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will mark Girl Scouts of the United States' 100th birthday and Girl Scouts of Central Maryland's 50th birthday. Girl Scouts and non-Girl Scouts are invited to take part in activities that will include rock wall climbing, crafts, story sharing and activities related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
There will be cake to celebrate the birthday of Girl Scouting, and Erin will share her sales tips to all interested girls.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun