Pressing forward: Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania mitigating supply chain challenges

By Janet Donovan

It’s COOKIE SEASON in Northeast and Central Pennsylvania – our third during this COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. When COVID-19 struck in 2020, our girls provided Girl Scout Cookies to their customers through creative and innovative ways, despite the lock downs. Our business community shared in helping those efforts. They learned about how to take their cookie business digital and how to create opportunities for contactless delivery. The second year, in 2021, they built on those skills, and many troops focused on Gifts of Caring to support our first responders and deployed military. This year, Girl Scouts, along with the rest of the nation, are learning about supply chain.

Recent national media attention about the Girl Scouts highlighted some of the production challenges that councils are experiencing regarding our Cookie Program. Although Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA), hasn’t been immune to supply chain and labor issues, we are working diligently with our girls, our volunteers and our customers to ensure positive outcomes for our membership and for those we serve.

This is also an important time to remember that not every Girl Scout council is affected in the same way. Cookie Program seasons, consumer preferences and production schedules all factor into the mix.

GSHPA was informed by our baker, Little Brownie Bakers, earlier this year that they were experiencing production delays that may impact the availability of some types of cookies. Specifically, we have reduced S’mores and Adventurefuls cookies from our online order system due to demand.

To learn more about our digital order options from Girl Scouts you can visit our GSHPA site. Additionally, in-person cookie booth sales will begin in March.

Our Girl Scouts can and will rise to meet any challenge. We don’t have to look that far back in our past to see how our girls have proven time and again their resiliency when faced with adversity and challenges.

Let us also look beyond the Cookie Program, because our council – our volunteers, our members and our staff – never stopped providing key programming, interpersonal connections and outdoor experiences when most in-person contact was limited during the pandemic. Those connections provided countless positive outcomes for our girls during a very unsettling time.

Fast forward to present day and our girls are only just getting started with their 2022 Cookie goals, which we are already exceeding over last year. We are doing everything possible to ensure every Girl Scout can bring our beloved Girl Scout Cookies to their customers. Supporting our entrepreneurship efforts can be as easy as picking up some of your old favorites or trying something new this year. All proceeds from cookie sales remain local, with troops or our council, and girls will need community support and patience as they work to conquer this next challenge to their cookie businesses.  Thank you for supporting our youngest entrepreneurs on their pandemic business journey!

It’s important to note that we are grateful to have a strong and resilient GSHPA community to thank for our support as we move forward. Your support allows us to enjoy future success.

Janet Donovan is the President and CEO of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.

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