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Meet the girls behind your favorite cookies

<p>Girl scout troop 42058 poses for a photo in their vests. </p>

Girl scout troop 42058 poses for a photo in their vests. 

With Girl Scout cookie season coming to a close, several of Oxford’s Girl Scout troops are starting to relax after this year’s successful season. Katie Wilson, the leader of Troop 42058, thought the cookie season was long but a success overall.

“We had a really good cookie season,” Wilson said. “I will say it started out really fast and the tail end of it took a while”

The troop sold 3,600 cookies, amounting to an average of 230 boxes per troop member.

For Zoe Long, a sixth grade student at Talawanda Middle School and member of Troop 42058, selling all those cookies has helped her become more confident overall.

“Girls Scouts has made me more compassionate and connected,” Zoe said. “It also helped me with entrepreneurship with the cookie and nut [sales].”

However, some troops in Oxford decided not to participate in the cookie season at all this year.

Jessica Greene, the leader of Girl Scout Troop 41988, said that her girls have been focusing on earning their Gold Award, which is where Girl Scouts in high school put together a sustainable service project to help their community.

“I think [the community] recognizes that there's a group of young women who are willing to serve the community,” Greene said. “I think we've passed that down to the younger troops.”

Two girls from Troop 41988 are wrapping up their Gold Award projects before the end of the school year.

“I'm doing a whole thing on light pollution,” Addison Greene, Jessica’s daughter and Troop 41988 member, said. “So I’m trying to bring more attention to light pollution, taking light meter measurements and seeing how animals are affected by light pollution.” 

Laney Johnson, another member of Troop 41988, is focusing on something completely different.

“I’m working on children's nutrition and education,” Johnson said. “The end goal is to educate kids about nutrition and trying different foods.”

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Girl Scout troops in Oxford are always working on a service project, whether it be trash pickup in parks, a clothing swap at uptown stores or assisting other community organizations in Oxford. Scouts earn awards for their service projects at different ages.

Zoe, who earned her Bronze Award last year, said community service projects are meant to be sustained and can be continued by those throughout the Oxford community instead of just the Girl Scouts.

“Our goal was to do a project that people could pick up and keep doing even if we're not doing it,” Zoe said. “We did a collab with Thread Up [of Oxford]. We used old clothes and stuff to make little plushy craft kids for things called worry pets. Parents took the kits, and kids could be like, ‘Oh, I could make that.’”

Ultimately, the cookie season and the community service projects are meant to inspire confidence and empower the scouts to step outside their comfort zone. 

Laura Long, Zoe’s mother, said she has seen the impact the Girl Scouts have had on her daughter.

“Every day, I see her stepping out of her comfort zone to talk to people,” Long said. “I see her practicing and she’s getting better, which is amazing.”

Even though she’s busy balancing school and Girl Scout activities, Zoe believes that becoming a Girl Scout is one of the best things someone could do.

“It's a great decision,” Zoe said. “It helps you earn a lot of great qualities. In my experience, it makes you more social. You can make a lot of great friends and you can really help the community.”