Eva Flanagan’s Girl Scout sash is decorated with a variety of patches. The ones that say “cookie CEO” and “1,000+” stand out.

In the past two years she has sold more than 2,000 boxes of cookies.

While community members might clamor for sweet treats every year, selling cookies is more than just a fundraising effort — it’s a way to learn things like money management, people skills and business ethics.

“When she was in kindergarten, a lot of it was me,” said Eva’s mom, Emily Flanagan. “But now, she’s much more independent.”

Eva, now 11, started in the Girl Scouts of the USA when she was in kindergarten. She will enter Jackson Hole Middle School next year.

The Flanagans practice a role-playing skit at home to make sure Eva is equipped to deal with customers. Then sometimes she’s on her own.

“The other day I dropped her off and she sold 90 boxes in 20 minutes,” Flanagan said.

Girl Scouts have been selling cookies for years. The first known sale of cookies by Girl Scouts took place in 1917, when a troop in Oklahoma sold cookies in a high school cafeteria as a service project.

With national Girl Scout membership at 2.7 million and Montana and Wyoming membership at almost 9,000 girls and almost 3,000 adults, cookies are a tradition loved, and consumed, by many Americans.

Eva said customer favorites include Samoas and Thin Mints — her favorite. She often tells customers her favorite as a sales tactic.

“She’ll eat them by the sleeve,” Flanagan said. “I find them everywhere.”

The hardest part?

“Delivering all the orders,” Eva said. “We try to get them out as fast as possible.”

It can be hard to get all the deliveries done before spring break and the beginning of the offseason, when locals scatter far and wide.

Some choose not to eat the cookies themselves and instead give them away to brighten others’ days. Flanagan said Eva has a few repeat customers every year who donate up to 150 boxes to places like St. John’s Medical Center, the Jackson Cupboard food bank and the Senior Center of Jackson Hole.

Customers also have the option to pick a flavor and donate cookies directly to the American Cancer Society.

Cookie lovers can buy Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Trefoils, Savannah Smiles, Toffee-tastics and a new variety this year modeled after a s’more with a crunchy graham sandwich cookie and a creamy chocolate and marshmallow-esque filling. Everything but the S’mores and the Toffee-tastics, which are gluten free, costs $4 a box. The two specialty options cost $5 a box.

Girl Scouts are taking orders for cookies through Feb. 19, with delivery in mid-March. Cookies can be ordered online from a Girl Scout through April 16 or purchased during booth sales from March 24 through April 16. To find a booth near you go to GSMW.org.

Once bakers are paid for the treats, all of the revenue raised by selling cookies stays with the local Girl Scout council and troops, which use the funds to travel, camp, fund a project to improve the community or donate the money to a worthy cause.

Selling lots of boxes can open up opportunities for Girl Scouts after the cookie sale is over. Eva’s cookie success paid for a camp in Butte, Montana, the past two summers, where she learned skills like how to tie a rope and how to shoot a bow and arrow. It was her first time at camp alone.

Flanagan took over as the Jackson troop leader seven years ago, and she said she’s really seen it expand over the past three years. Last year 11 local Girl Scout troops sold 14,711 boxes.

She wasn’t a Girl Scout for a long time growing up, but it did run in the family.

“My sister was the real Scout,” Flanagan said.

Now, she’s fully immersed in the cookie culture. A few years ago she picked up deliveries for her troop and her sister’s troop. The result, she said, was a bit overwhelming.

“I told my husband we might have to up the insurance on our house for a week,” Flanagan said, “because we had 3,000 to 4,000 boxes of cookies in our garage. That’s $12,000 that could go up in flames.”

Contact Kylie Mohr at 732-7079, schools@jhnewsandguide.com or @JHNGschools.

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