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Girl Scout Maggie Kirkpatrick, 11, works the cookie booth at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 5, 2022.

Girl Scout Maggie Kirkpatrick, 11, works the cookie booth at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 5, 2022. (Tonni Mendoza)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The Girl Scouts at this airlift hub in western Tokyo bet that Girl Scout cookies would be in big demand this year, bigger even than last year when they sold out.

But predicting demand during the pandemic has been a dizzying carnival ride. Would COVID-19 restrictions squash sales again this year like they did in 2020? Or would pandemic fatigue again fuel the public’s appetite for something sweet?

Turns out, 2022 is a bull market for the iconic treats.

Saturday and Sunday, the first weekend the cookies were available, the Yokota Girl Scouts Community sold 1,513 boxes of Tagalongs, Thin Mints, Samoas and four other varieties. That’s almost halfway to this year’s goal of 3,900 boxes, Tonni Mendoza, an Air Force spouse, scout co-leader and cookie manager said Monday at the Yokota Community Center.

The Yokota community has troops for every grade level, kindergarten through 12th, and consists of 50 girls.

Girl Scouts work to drum up business while selling cookies at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 5, 2022.

Girl Scouts work to drum up business while selling cookies at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 5, 2022. (Tonni Mendoza)

Left to right: Girls Scouts Avalynn Mendoza, 7, Korra Warner, 6, and Aurora Warner, 8, pose while selling the organization's famous cookies at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 5, 2022.

Left to right: Girls Scouts Avalynn Mendoza, 7, Korra Warner, 6, and Aurora Warner, 8, pose while selling the organization's famous cookies at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 5, 2022. (Tonni Mendoza)

“Last year we did really well with selling out of all our cookies before cookie season was over,” said Mendoza, 30, a native of Santa Paula, Calif. “We decided that adding 10% more to our inventory can help make our supporters happy. We felt comfortable with the decision because we have an awesome supporting community here at Yokota Air Force Base.”

Troop leaders ordered enough to carry them to March, but if the sales pace keeps up, the cookies may be gone in another weekend.

The Girl Scouts will sell cookies inside the community center, just outside the base commissary, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays until the supply runs out. They go for 600 yen or $5 a box, except S’mores, which cost 700 yen or $6 a box.

Girl Scout Maggie Kirkpatrick, 11, likes the joy that cookies bring to customers, she told Stars and Stripes by phone Tuesday. She has been selling cookies since age 6.

“People really enjoy our cookies, and for a lot of the Girl Scouts it is really fun to see them walk off with a smile on their face after they have bought a couple of boxes,” she said. “It makes people happy."

Do-Si-Do, Trefoils, Lemon-Ups are also available. Thin Mints, a chocolate cookie dipped in a mint chocolate coat, are top sellers. Mendoza said they are so popular, the troop order four times as many as any other cookie.

But one variety consumers will not find are Adventurefuls, a new cookie so popular that it sold out on Sunday. It has a brownie base topped with caramel flavored crème and a hint of sea salt.

“They are pretty good,” Mendoza said. “They have a brownie taste, and they are not too chocolatey. But they are so popular that currently the bakers are even out of the cookies and are backlogged with requests for them.”

The sale of Girl Scout cookies, the one fundraiser the organization undertakes each year, powers the local troop. The money provides supplies and equipment and pays for the scouts’ activities.

“Our girls set goals of what we would like to do with our money, including activities they might want to do, and then we help distribute the money that way,” Air Force Maj. Jacelyn Splichal, 39, the Yokota Girl Scouts chairwoman, said at the community center Monday. “The money also pays for craft supplies, equipment and supplies at the hut. And sometimes our troops get to do really big events like go to the zoo or go to Round One and have a fun day as a troop.”

Cookie sales also impart lessons, in business as well as life, Splichal said.

“Some of the shy girls that aren’t as comfortable approaching people have the opportunity at the booths to ask, ‘How can I help you’ or ‘Would you like to buy cookies?’ The Girl Scouts is about having fun, but it is about challenging yourself.”

author picture
Kelly Agee is a reporter and photographer at Yokota Air Base, Japan, who has served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years. She is a Syracuse Military Photojournalism Program alumna and is working toward her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland Global Campus. Her previous Navy assignments have taken her to Greece, Okinawa, and aboard the USS Nimitz.
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