FARMINGDALE, NJ - It's that time of year again – Girl Scout cookie time! Over the next three months, thousands of Girl Scouts throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties will sell the time-honored tasty cookies. The girls, however, aren’t just selling tasty treats; they are learning business basics, communication skills and more. When community members purchase a box of Thin Mints, they’re not only helping girls raise money, but also teaching them an array of valuable skills that will last through their personal and professional lives.

The Girl Scout cookie sale provides an opportunity for girls to enjoy themselves while simultaneously learning essential life skills such as customer service, money management and teamwork. Sale activities feature age-appropriate lessons that combine business basics with the fun commonly associated with Girl Scout activities. The program builds leadership, financial and literacy skills with girls actively making discoveries and decisions about marketing, budgeting and goal setting.

“The great part about the Girl Scout cookie sale is that it benefits adults, girls and the community,” said Janet Zelenak, director of product sales, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. “Not only are the girls raising funds to achieve set goals, but they’re having fun at the same time.”

By selling cookies, girls at all levels learn to set and achieve goals. While younger girls may target a cute stuffed animal, fun t-shirt or day-trip with friends, older girls can earn money for community service projects or to travel the world, visiting countries like England, France, Spain and Costa Rica, all without paying a penny out-of-pocket. Consequently, parents appreciate the cookie sale for both the life lessons taught to their daughters, as well as the goals and dreams girls can achieve that might otherwise be out of reach financially.

“When girls dream, they dream big and the cookie sale is a wonderful aid in helping girls reach those dreams,” said Jenny Cody, senior director, program services for the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. “The cookie sale provides an array of opportunities for girls, whether the goal is to travel, help the community or plan an event.”

Equally as important, purchasing Girl Scout Cookies supports other community organizations. Due to last year’s overwhelming success, The Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore is continuing its “Gift of Caring” program in partnership with the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Gift of Caring is an optional program developed for Girl Scouts as a service project where each troop/group can donate cookies to worthwhile causes. Over the past two years, the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore have donated more than 6,000 boxes of cookies to help feed those in need.

This year, help make a difference in the life of a girl and your community. Buy a box. The sale begins January 14 and continues through the end of March. For more information or to locate cookies near you, visit www.jerseyshoregirlscoutcookies.com or call (800) 785-2090.