Cookie time again
Girl Scouts sales have been slower this year

COVINGTON - Metro Atlanta residents are making room in their pantries this month for their orders of Girl Scout cookies.

As of Jan. 1, metro Atlanta Girl Scouts started taking cookie orders for this year's stock of sweets.

"The girls have only just begun," said Sarnethia Wilkinson, product sales marketing coordinator for Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Inc.

Kim Ferrell, leader of a Covington Girl Scout troop, said so far cookie sales are a little slower this year than in past years, but the girls are working hard and hope to see sales increase soon.

"I think we'll do more (this year), especially when we start booth sales" on Feb. 28 at local grocery and retail stores, said Tammie Conner, a troop leader for a group in Conyers. "We might even offer some samples."

Wilkinson said the most popular cookies are always Thin Mints,

chocolate-covered peppermint; Trefoils, sweet shortbread; and Samoas, a vanilla cookie covered in caramel, chocolate and roasted coconut; but cookie lovers have eight cookies to choose from every year.

This is the second year for the Lemon Chalet Cremes, which she said received rave reviews for its vanilla sandwich with lemon filling, and the first year for Dulce de Leche cookies, which contain rich milk caramel chips and stripes on a sweet cookie.

"We hope that they will join (the popular selling cookies) at the top," she said, adding that Girl Scouts only offer eight varieties of cookies every year and change them out depending on how well they sell.

Other Girl Scout cookies offered this year include Tagalongs, filled with peanut butter and covered with chocolate; Do-Si-Dos, oatmeal cookies with peanut butter filling; and Sugar Free Chocolate Chip cookies. According to a press release from the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Inc., the peanut butter used in Girl Scout cookies is deemed safe, as it is not from the Peanut Corporation of America, the Georgia supplier that is being investigated in connection with a recent Salmonella outbreak.

No matter how many cookies the girls sell or don't sell, Kellee Smith, a troop leader for a Girl Scouts group at the Barksdale Boys & Girls Club in Conyers, said they enjoy spending their time together and learn so many life lessons.

"(Selling cookies) allows them to learn leadership," she said. "We do a lot of activities, like setting goals and what their donations will go towards."

Aside from selling cookies, many Girl Scout groups also perform a variety of community service projects and team-building activities - the Boys & Girls Club troop plans to take field trips, hold can drives and visit nursing homes. The Covington group and other metro Atlanta Girl Scout groups plan to take cookies sales to area neighborhoods in March.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: At A Glance

Important Dates for Girl Scout Cookies

· Now - Cookie orders through individual scouts

· Feb. 23-28 - Individual cookie orders in

· Feb. 28-March 31 - Booth sales at local grocery and retail stores

· March 9-15 - Door-to-door cookie sales in some neighborhoods

Cost: $3.50 per box

More information: www.girlscoutsofgreateratlanta.org