Girl Scouts get creative for contact-free cookie program

Richard Stone
Richard Stone purchased 80 packages of Girl Scout Cookies from Pacific Highlands Ranch resident Darby Wright to donate to North County’s Community Resource Center.

To ensure the safety of Girl Scouts and cookie buyers alike, troops are following the county health guidelines established to help reduce COVID-19 transmissions. They are approaching the cookie program a bit differently this year, combining time-honored sales techniques with innovative approaches in a socially-distanced manner.

Troop 3212 leader Molly Wright, of Pacific Highlands Ranch, is proud of how her Junior Girl Scouts are overcoming the limitations necessitated by COVID-19. “Our girls are rising to the occasion by creating fun sales videos, calling former customers, making signs and distributing door hangers that include their personal QR codes, and reaching out on social media. This year, they’re learning brand new skills, as well as the goal setting, decision-making, money management, and business ethics lessons the cookie program traditionally builds.

Wright’s troop, all fifth-graders at Nativity School in Rancho Santa Fe, has personalized the secure “Digital Cookie” websites that help them safely and effectively manage their cookie businesses. The young entrepreneurs invite visitors to their online stores to shop, pay, and select either direct shipping from the baker or contactless delivery by the girls.

All net cookie proceeds stay local in San Diego to fund programs, camps, service projects, field trips, and the financial assistance that helps all girls participate in Girl Scouting. Troop 3212’s goal is to raise money for its first overnight trip to learn about the aerospace industry.

Wright says her troop is passionate about animals and plan to contribute a portion of their cookie proceeds to the Helen Woodward Animal Center. “Currently, the girls are working toward the Bronze Award—the highest honor Junior Girl Scouts can earn—by raising awareness about pet adoption and animal safety.”

Darby, Wright’s 10-year-old daughter, hopes to market 800 packages of cookies this year. Helping her achieve that goal are repeat buyers like Richard Stone, whose real estate group is located in Carmel Valley. “Mr. Stone has been a great customer for five years,” Darby says. “I am thankful that he purchased 80 packages this year to donate to the Community Resource Center in Encinitas.”

Cookie fans who know a Girl Scout may ask her for an invitation to her Digital Cookie site. Others may visit and type in their zip code to request cookies from a troop in their community. Recently, girls have been permitted to host “standabouts” (cookie booths) outside their residences, using the same strict safety protocols as farmers markets.

Customers may donate cookies to Operation Thin Mint, a local program that sends “a taste of home and a note to show we care” to deployed service members and local veterans. Since it began 20 years ago, generous San Diegans have gifted over 3.25 million packages of cookies to grateful U.S. troops serving around the world.

New this year is the E2B (Entrepreneur-to-Business) program that helps girls hone their presentation skills and work toward their cookie goals. Corporate, civic, and social groups may invite a Girl Scout to one of their virtual meetings to deliver a five-minute marketing pitch. The Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club is among the groups that have hosted Girl Scouts so far.

All girls ages 5-17 are welcome to join Girl Scouts at any time. For information, visit or email