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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Madelynn Bright is just 7 years old, but she’s ready to join the work force.

Madelynn and more than 1,000 other Girl Scouts on Pacific bases will start selling cookies Jan. 11.

“I’m just excited that I get to work from a desk,” Madelynn said about setting up a table to sell cookies for $3.50 a box. “I’ve always wanted a job.”

For scouts, cookie season means the excitement of being a part of something larger than themselves, and maybe even earning a merit badge.

For the organization, cookie season means some serious dough.

Girl Scouts “count on this money to be able to carry out their activities and programs throughout the year,” Pam Sievers, CEO of USA Girl Scouts Overseas, West Pacific, wrote in an e-mail to Stripes.

According to Sievers, the West Pacific Girl Scout council is active on 14 U.S. military bases on Okinawa, mainland Japan and South Korea.

“We pick up our cookies Jan. 10,” said Ikego Housing’s Brownie Troop 39 co-leader Melody Rodarte. “We start selling the next day, so I am both excited and apprehensive.”

On Yokosuka, there are only a few authorized cookie-selling locations: outside the Fleet Recreation Center, the Navy Exchange and the commissary. Every troop entered a lottery for its days and times to sell — each hoping to get the best times and locations.

This will be Rodarte’s first year selling cookies.

“We have to pay for the cookies we don’t sell,” Rodarte said. “So my goals are to not owe anything and for the girls to have fun.”

Soliciting is not allowed, so Troop 39 is considering other ways to “be seen,” Rodarte said. “Some of the girls are in cheerleading. So who knows, that may help out.”

Along with earning money to support their programs, Sievers said, the cookie sales help the girls “learn customer service skills, practice teamwork, learn marketing strategies ... learn to make change and be responsible for the money.”

Sievers said she doesn’t have any Pacific sales trend figures, but based on this year’s cookie orders of 129,132 boxes, “more Thin Mints will be sold on Okinawa; [Caramel deLites] are tied with Thin Mints in Korea as the favorite; and mainland Japan will sell more Lemonades and Thanks a Lot. But the number one selling cookies are Thin Mints."

As for Madelynn and her thoughts on the cookie season, it’s simple: “I’m ready.”


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