GOOD FOR YOU: Windsor Girl Scout overcomes nerves to reach out on behalf of Girl Scouts and their cookies | MyWindsorNow.com

GOOD FOR YOU: Windsor Girl Scout overcomes nerves to reach out on behalf of Girl Scouts and their cookies

James Redmond
jredmond@mywindsornow.com

One 8-year-old Windsor girl has a lot of responsibility on her young shoulders today as Girl Scout cookie season begins.

Bella Kendrot is a student at Grandview Elementary School, a member of Windsor Girl Scout Troop 4315 and the Girl Scout media star for much of northern Colorado.

As a Girl Scout media star, she's essentially a media spokeswoman for Girl Scouts and their cookies. Kendrot was selected for the job of talking with media in Windsor and Greeley, but Fort Collins didn't have a media star of its own, so she stopped by the media outlets there, too.

This is Kendrot's fourth year selling cookies, but it's her first year as a media star.

She had to apply, write an essay and record a video audition. Girl Scouts don't usually pick Brownies — which Kendrot is — for the role, selecting mostly older and higher-level scouts. But someone she sold cookies to this past year — she doesn't know who — suggested she apply for the program, and she got selected despite her age.

It's a scary job, Kendrot admitted, but it offers her a chance to get even more involved in Girl Scouts, and that's enough motivation to power her through the fear, she said.

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She was nervous the first time she went into a newspaper's newsroom. She didn't know anyone there or what it would be like, Kendrot said. She prepared for it, considered lots of questions and thought about what answers she would give, but still she felt scared.

It went well, though, and the next interview felt easier, less scary and more fun. She's still a little anxious about her interview with 9News in Denver in a couple weeks, but she's more confident now.

She's been sort of surprised no one asked any hard questions, such as, "Why do Girl Scouts sell unhealthy food?" Kendrot even prepared an answer for it.

"Girl Scout cookies are a treat in moderation," she said. "If you eat them a couple at a time, you can enjoy them."

Kendrot practiced with a list of 100 potential questions, and even had answers ready to defend Girl Scouts' political neutrality. But so far, most of the questions have been about the cookies.

That's OK, because she's got a lot to say about the cookies, which this year include a special anniversary variety.

Joining the menu of Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs this year will be a new cookie to celebrate 100 years of Girl Scout cookies sales. It's a flavor that'll make anybody who's ever sat around a campfire nostalgic: S'mores.

Rebekah Jeffery is pleading with people who buy the Girl Scouts' newest cookie this year to resist the urge of indulgence and to give it a look first.

The cookies are decorated with outlines of four of the Girl Scouts' outdoor badges. The Keenesburg 12-year-old is advising folks to admire them for just a quick second and relish the successes of 100 years of Girl Scouts cookies before digging in.

"You need to try them," she said, eyes bulging with excitement. "They're really, really good."

Girl Scouts will start popping up at doorsteps and local supermarkets carrying the new cookie and the usual favorites around the state on Sunday, and they'll be in full cookie-selling action until March 12.

According to Windsor top-seller and pre-teen entrepreneur Kendrot, selling cookies has taught her a variety of "real-life" skills she'll use "when she's older." The Thin Mint enthusiast says in her three years of cookie-selling, she has learned communication and negotiation skills. For example, if she encounters people who are vegan or gluten-free, she knows what cookies match their lifestyles, and will sway them in that direction. She has also learned how to approach people with unfamiliar faces and spark a conversation. Her goal this year is to sell 1,500 boxes of cookies.

"Sometimes it's a challenge, but I feel excited whenever I achieve my goals," Kendrot said.

Sawyer Cantrell, 12, of Keenesburg said selling cookies teaches her money-management skills she'll use in the future. Becoming full-time businessgirls for a seven-week period teaches her and her troop how to prioritize a budget and make financial decisions as a group. She thinks she'll use those skills in the "real world" someday.

Kendrot, Jeffery, Cantrell and Greeley scout Ashla Fulenwider have more than 20 years of experience selling Girl Scout cookies combined, although none of them are close to 20 years in age. At their best, they've sold a total of about 3,340 boxes of cookies — that's almost $12,000 worth of cookies. They're four out of just under 1,000 Girl Scouts from Weld County, and those are only the numbers from their respective highest selling years.

Imagine what nearly 25,000 Girl Scouts across the state of Colorado can conquer in only a seven-week selling period.

This past year, Colorado Girl Scouts raised about $16 million in cookie sales. Weld Girl Scouts made about $750,000 of that. The money helps fund Girl Scouts operations.

Spokeswoman Jamie Haxton said this year, they're expecting even more in sales. She said the state's starting inventory is about 6 percent higher than last year's, prepping for the hopeful success of the new S'mores cookie.

"Any time we see a new cookie introduced to market, we usually see a lift in the number of packages sold," she said. "Everybody wants to try the new cookie. Then the second year, it plateaus off. So we're expecting to see a lift this year."

In a 1925 issue of Girl Scout Leader magazine, the Girl Scouts were the first to publish the legendary recipe under the name "Some More," according to a news release from the organization. Obviously, Girl Scouts didn't invent the S'more, but that's why the organization decided to add the flavor to the list this year in its celebration.

Fulenwider, 11, said the organization is about more than just selling cookies, though. She said she and members of her troop do community service together, as well as go on camping trips. She thinks of all her fellow Girl Scouts as her sisters — even the ones she doesn't know all that well.

"We really want to make the world a better place," she said softly. "It's like another family that you have to help you make a difference."

— Greeley Tribune reporter Katarina Velazquez contributed to this story.

Where to go

For those looking to buy Girl Scout cookies this cookie season but aren’t sure where to look, go to http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/cookies/find-cookies.html. There, customers can type in a zip code and find public locations where Girl Scouts will be selling boxes. Through the site, customers will also be able to add locations to their calendars and sign up to receive email reminders about sale locations.

Buy cookies digitally

This is the second year Colorado Girl Scouts will sell cookies online. To purchase cookies online, customers must get an invite to shop at a girl’s personal website, so they still need to be in contact with a Girl Scout at least once.

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