For some, the art of the sale is difficult to master. That’s not the case for Kamdyn Rouse, the 8-year-old Riverdalian who led all of the Bronx in Girl Scout cookie sales this year.
Girl Scouts have sold their famous cookies — you know, Tagalongs, Samoas and Thin Mints among others — for 100 years. It’s not very often over that century the Girl Scouts find a young girl who can sell above and beyond the average 138 boxes.
Rouse sold nearly eight times that — 1,053 boxes to be exact. The keys to her success? Hard work, long hours, and of course, networking.
Foregoing traditional sales styles like setting up a booth or going house to house, the second-grader instead enlisted the help of her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to sell boxes at their workplaces. She also sold to members of her church, who all were eager to get their hands on their favorite treats.
“People at church love cookies, and when they see me, they say, ‘How many can I get?” Kamdyn said. “Some would take like 10 boxes.”
Finding people to sell to wasn’t too difficult, Kamdyn said. The hard part turned out to be delivery, which required long, mid-day treks into Manhattan.
It might be easy to think Girl Scouts is nothing more than selling cookies, but in reality, there is a lot more that goes on within the organization. Kamdyn’s troop, for example, has gone on trips to places such as water parks and the Crayola crayon factory.
There’s also an educational component as well, said Meridith Maskara, the chief operating officer of the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, and a former Girl Scout. The organization builds courage, confidence and character for its more than 1.8 million girls, while offering a variety of programs that help get them into STEM-related fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
That includes after-school code writing programs and “make change” projects that are rooted in helping the troops community.
Some reports put Girl Scout Cookies sales at more than 200 million boxes a year. But where does all the money go that Kamdyn and her fellow Girl Scouts raise? According to Maskara, 65 cents of each dollar goes back to the Girl Scout troop, which then makes its own decisions on how to budget it.
Many troops decide to give back to the community, which can come in the form of small construction projects like building a bench or a ramp at a senior citizen center.
Kamdyn, a Brownie with Troop 1039, isn’t yet sure how funds she raised will be spent. Kamdyn’s troop has given back to the community in other ways in the past, such as going around the city picking up garbage on the ground.
The rest of the money goes into broader activities like trips, award ceremonies, camps, providing financial assistance, and of course, making more cookies.
What’s more, the Girl Scouts of Greater New York recently expanded its cookie donation program, Gift of Caring, which allows New Yorkers to donate boxes to organizations like the USO, veteran hospitals, homeless shelters and Citymeals on Wheels.
As for Kamdyn, she’s enjoying the fruits of her labors — namely, the praise of her troop leaders along with free tickets to a New York Yankees game. And she has advice for the next Girl Scout to take her place at the top of the Bronx: “Networking and thinking positive thoughts,” Kamdyn said.
The next biggest seller better be prepared to work long hours too. Selling more than 1,000 boxes doesn’t take a couple hours each day — it takes all of them.
“I worked all day,” Kamdyn said. “Sometimes I would take a five-minute break, but then I would keep going.”
Kamdyn has no plans to relinquish her crown anytime soon, however, saying she’ll try to sell more than 1,000 boxes again next year.
CORRECTION: The top seller of Girl Scout Cookies in the Bronx was Marieteresa Porcher Allen. Although Kamdyn Rouse sold more than 1,050 boxes, a calculation error by the Girl Scouts of Greater New York incorrectly identified her as the top seller instead of Allen, as featured in our June 15 issue.