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Cookie time: Girl Scouts celebrating 100th anniversary with new creation

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Girl Scouts Kennedy Watson, from left, Leah Royes and Kaitlyn Hamlette, of troop 4525 in Snellville, draw signs to promote cookie sales.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Girl Scouts Kennedy Watson, from left, Leah Royes and Kaitlyn Hamlette, of troop 4525 in Snellville, draw signs to promote cookie sales.

Savannah Smiles

Lemon-wedge cookies dusted with powdered sugar and filled with lemon zest flavor

Trefoils

The shortbread cookie

Do-Si-Dos

Oatmeal cookies with peanut butter filling

Samoas

Vanilla cookies covered in caramel and toasted coconut, then striped with chocolate

Tagalongs

Cookie topped with peanut butter then completely covered in chocolate

Thin Mints

Thin wafer covered in a peppermint chocolate

1912 — On March 12, 1912, founder Juliette Gordon Low gathered 18 girls to register the first troop of American Girl Guides. It was renamed Girl Scouts the following year.

1920s — The first Girl Scout Troops on Foreign Soil were established in China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Syria for American girls living in other countries.

1930s — The first sale of commercially baked Girl Scout Cookies took place.

1940s — Girls collected 1.5 million articles of clothing that were then shipped overseas to children and adult victims of war.

1950s — The March 1952 issue of “Ebony” magazine reported, “Girl Scouts in the South are making steady progress toward breaking down racial taboos.”

1960s — The social unrest of the 1960s was reflected in organization actions and Girl Scout program change, including introduction in 1963 of four program age–levels for girls: Brownie, Junior, Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts.

1970s — Girl Scouts contributed to a White House Conference on food, nutrition and health.

1980s — “The Contemporary Issues” series was developed in the 1980s to help girls and their families deal with serious social issues. The first, “Tune In to Well Being, Say No to Drugs,” was introduced in collaboration with a project initiated by First Lady Nancy Reagan.

1990s — Girl Scouting experienced a renewed emphasis on physical fitness with the inauguration of a health and fitness national service project in 1994 and the GirlSports initiative in 1996.

2000s — Grants from Fortune 500 companies such as Lucent Technologies, Intel and Lockheed Martin supported science and technology exploration programs for girls.

2012 — Girl Scouts of the USA has declared 2012 the Year of the Girl: a celebration of girls, recognition of their leadership potential and a commitment to creating a coalition of like-minded organizations and individuals in support of balanced leadership in the workplace and in communities across the country.

SNELLVILLE -- It's that time of year. Across Gwinnett -- and the nation -- young girls dressed in green, brown, tan and blue vests are selling the famous Girl Scouts cookies by the boxes and they have a new cookie this year, the Savannah Smiles.

Haven't heard of it? It's the latest creation to celebrate the organization's 100th anniversary.

The girls from Troop No. 4525 in Snellville, just like millions of other girls, are bound and determined to sell their cookies to anyone who will buy a box for $3.50.

"This is exciting to me because I started out as a Girl Scout with my sister in Brooklyn, N.Y.," Troop Co-leader Qualena Odom-Royes said. "Now being able to share it with Leah (my daughter) and these other girls is exciting and wonderful."

The troop worked on posters to advertise their confectionery sweets and set individual sales goals for 2012.

With much childhood exuberance, Jocelyn Spencer, 8, decided on 81,000 boxes.

"I'm going to get everyone in my family to sell cookies," she said.

And she's not the only one aiming big. The other girls in the troop set goals in the hundreds.

"I'm going to try to raise 400 because I really want all of the prizes," Kennedy Watson, 8, said.

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In addition to the usual cookies, Girl Scouts of the USA has introduced its latest creation, the Savannah Smiles, to commemorate its 100th year. These celebratory baked goods were created in honor of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low's hometown of Savannah and are similar in taste to past customer favorites with bursts of lemon flavor.

The cookie is shaped like a wedge, covered in powered sugar and filled with lemon crisps.

"The Savannah Smiles is actually closer to the original cookies made for the Girl Scout sales. It was one of the first varieties out there," Troop Co-leader Adrienne Cole said.

The cookie is such a new addition to the Girl Scouts, the troops and their leaders haven't gotten to taste-test the lemon flavored treat.

"I really want to try the new cookie," Kaitlyn Hamlette, 6, said. "I like lemony stuff, so I really want to try it."

Ada Hamlette of Loganville, Kaitlyn's mother added, "Everyone is excited about the new cookie and they want to try them. They look like they'll be delicious."

To boost the Savannah Smiles' sales, Troop No. 4525 thought of a strategic marketing approach: Give out free samples while selling boxes around the county.

"I want to give a box of milk to everyone who eats a sample," Spencer said.

Cole chimed in, "Maybe we can get Kroger to donate some milk."

Your hips may be mad that you bought the cookies, but your heart won't feel the same. All of the proceeds from Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta's fundraising activities, including the cookie drive, stay in the council to serve the girls and volunteers in many ways. The money delivers programs to 41,500 girl members in a 34-county territory, trains more than 18,000 adult member volunteers, provides approximately $52,000 in scholarships for higher education and so much more.

The Girls Scouts of the USA haven't started selling their cookies online yet, but could in the next few years. The organization recommends never buying Girl Scout Cookies on any sites, including Amazon, eBay and other auction or community sites. There is no guarantee of freshness or authenticity.

To keep up with a technological age, the organization is using its website to help buyers easily find troops to purchase from in the area. Starting Feb. 17, the public can use the Cookie Locator, a program set up to help locate girls selling in your neighborhood by entering your ZIP code. To use the locator, visit cookielocator.littlebrownie.com.

To learn more about the Girl Scout's 100th anniversary and the Savannah Smiles, visit www.girlscouts.org.