Those of you who have been picking away at your last batch of Girl Scout Cookies that you stashed away almost a year ago, can fret no more.

Girl Scout Cookies are back. And they are back with a bang since the Girl Scouts of Wapehani Council Inc. is celebrating its 50th birthday.

The cookies go on sale today and continue until March 5.

Back again are the much-loved Thin Mints, Do-si-dos, All Abouts, Trefoils, Lemon Coolers, Tagalongs and Samoas.

This year there is a new addition to the cookie lineup: Café Cookies.

“The Café is a cinnamon-spice cookie that’s great for dunking in a hot coffee or tea or any hot beverage,” said Nick Cross, manager of communications and fund development for Girl Scouts of Wapehani Council.

“I’ve already tasted it — it’s delicious,” he said. “I think it will do pretty well. I think once people start eating it they won’t be able to stop.”

Every three or four years cookie companies come up with a new cookie to add to the list, Cross said. A few years ago the new additions were the Lemon Coolers and the Double Dutch. Lemon Coolers have stuck around, but this year the Café Cookies replaced the Double Dutch.

Cross said the classic cookies are always popular, especially the favorite, Thin Mints, followed closely by Samoas. A new cookie’s success depends on how it appeals to people

“I think it depends on what people are looking for,” Cross said. “Lemon Coolers are more the dieters’ choice — a little bit healthier, reduced fat. This year the Café Cookies — people who drink a lot of coffee and tea will like those.”

Last year’s theme for the cookie sales was “Mission Possible.” This year it is “Be Brilliant.”

“Each year the cookie companies have a theme that they try and tie in to the cookie sale,” Cross said. “This year it’s ‘Be Brilliant.’ It talks about Girl Scouts being brilliant in many different ways.

“It helps the girls have something to focus on,” he said. “All of their materials talk about being brilliant. Their cookie order forms, marketing material, posters, talk about using the cookies for their success.”

The theme is also taking a science focus. Girl Scouts will be learning how the cookies are made and will be doing their own science experiments and activities with their troops, Cross said.

This year is also special because the Wapehani Council is celebrating its 50th birthday. The council, with its office located in Daleville, includes Madison, Delaware, Henry, Randolph, Jay, Grant, Tipton and Blackford counties.

Girl Scouts of Madison County will be hosting their second annual Cookie Kickoff today from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Mounds Mall in Anderson, where they will celebrate the big birthday and people will be able to purchase cookies.

“There will be a birthday cake and there should be a speaker talking about how Girl Scouting was back in her time,” Cross said. “The girls will be making birthday hats.”

Between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. there will be several activities for the Girl Scouts, promoting the cookie kickoff and the eight-county council’s birthday.

The girls will be taking a cookie sensory test by using their senses to identify different cookies. They will be listening to a presentation about Girl Scout history by longtime volunteer Donna Pettigrew. They will be making SWAP bags for patches and pins that girls swap. Girls will also be reaffirming their belief in the Girl Scout Promise and Law and to reflect upon the meaning of the organization in their lives.

The highlight of the day will be the cookie eating contest at 2 p.m.

“Last year we had eight people start out and ate as many Trefoils as they could for a minute or two,” Cross said. “People are welcome to come watch the eating contest.”

Today’s contest will be the same process with several local celebrities including Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith, Anderson Fire Chief Phil Rogers and Wapehani Council board of directors member Ron Koepke, as well as other surprise participants. The judges will be Anderson Community School Corp. Superintendent Dr. Tim Long and Madison Circuit Court Judge Fredrick Spencer. Madison County Sheriff’s Department Patrolman Sam Hanna won the first cookie eating contest last year.

During the cookie kickoff, Girl Scouts are also preparing for the cookie sales.

“That’s where the girls learn about cookie sale goal-setting and marketing skills,” Cross said. “They also learn about the cookies and the new cookie. It helps them learn other life skills, communication skills, marketing skills.”

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