Girl Scouts brave windchill to raise funds for service trip


Clare Proctor/Daily Senior Staffer

Girl Scouts stand outside Peet’s Coffee, 1622 Chicago Ave., to sell cookies. The girls are selling to raise money for a service trip in Costa Rica during the summer of 2020

Clare Proctor, Assistant City Editor

When Samantha Tilson joined her first Girl Scout troop, she was only six years old.

“All I wanted to do was be with my friends,” Tilson said. “Now, I understand the real meaning of being a Girl Scout. You get to help people, and you get to go on cool adventures.”

Tilson, now 11, and two of her troop-mates braved winds upwards of 20 miles per hour Sunday to sell cookies in Evanston. Every year, typically from January to the end of March, cookie lovers can enjoy their classic favorites — from Thin Mints to Samoas to Tagalongs —- while supporting young women entrepreneurs.

This was Tilson’s first year selling cookies outside, she said. Despite the cold, she said standing outside of Peet’s Coffee, 1622 Chicago Ave., to sell boxes of cookies was “interesting.”

“I like selling cookies because we get to be social people around our community,” Tilson said.

Troop 23013, the girls’ group, will use money raised from cookie sales to fund local service projects, 12-year-old Meredith White said. Out of the $5 cost for each box of cookies, $1 will go toward a service trip in Costa Rica, set for the summer of 2020, White said.

The girls’ troop also started a recycling program at their school, where they put signs on trash cans to educate their classmates on which items they can recycle.

The girls are currently Girl Scout cadettes, the fourth rank after Daisies, Brownies and Juniors. White said she hopes to become a Senior, the next rank, when she goes to high school.

“We learn survival skills, we go on camping trips, we learn leadership skills,” White said. “It’s fun, and you help people. That’s kind of, like, the point.”

Alyson Carrel, White’s mom, said fundraising for Costa Rica teaches the girls how to set goals and work toward them. She said the troop leader plays an important role in shaping the girls’ experience.

“Our troop leader is absolutely amazing,” Carrel said. “She provides such great mentorship experience to these girls.”

White didn’t join the troop until she was in fourth grade. Carrel said she saw the group of “supportive, tight-knit girls that were taking care of each other” and thought it was something that would be great for her daughter.

The girls attend the Helen C. Peirce School of International Studies in Chicago, near Andersonville, where the girls live.

Alisa Tilson, Samantha Tilson’s mom, was a Girl Scout herself when she was in grade school. She said Peirce’s school structure especially encourages participation in Girl Scouts.

“There’s a troop per grade, which is kind of amazing,” Alisa Tilson said. “It kind of drives itself.”

The troop wasn’t selling any new flavors of cookies this year, though the Toffee-tastic and S’mores varieties joined the old-time classics in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

Carrel said she was willing to stand out in the cold selling cookies because of the benefits her daughter has received through Girl Scouts.

“The experience they have working in a group of just girls that are super tight and super supportive of each other is worth more than anything,” Carrel said. “That’s why we’re out here.”

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Twitter: @ceproctor23

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