Where should a young girl go if she wants to make new friends, learn lifelong skills, explore new adventures, build courage, confidence and character and make the world a better place, all while having the time of her life? Why, right to the Girl Scouts of the USA, of course.

For more than 100 years now, Girl Scouts has been dedicated to enriching, uplifting and encouraging girls to reach their fullest potential and become successful leaders in their own lives.

“Girl Scouts is much more than cookies, crafts and camping. We’re really about developing the future leaders of this country. What we do works and it’s fun,” says Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez.

In celebration of National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend, which kicks off February 7th, Girl Scout councils from around the country will be promoting the five skills that girls learn while participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

Putting their skills into action, the girls set new cookie sales goals every season and develop a plan to reach them (goal setting); decide what to do with the money earned (decision making); take orders, handle customers’ money and create budgets (money management); interact with different types of people while selling cookies (people skills); and act honestly and responsibly during every step of the sale (business ethics).  

“The Girl Scouts Movement is at the start of our second century of service to girls, and we’re preparing them with what they need to succeed in today’s world,” Chávez says. “From financial literacy to [science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields], Girl Scouts are learning the skills of tomorrow, in order to become leaders of the future.”

In addition, there will be a Girl Scout Green Carpet Premiere Party for “everyday people to walk the green carpet and stock up on their favorite cookies.”

The premiere party is open to the public and will be hosted on February 7 from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. in New York City at the Grand Central Terminal Vanderbilt Hall. There will also be a Twitter party on February 5th at 9 p.m EST.

These days, Girl Scouts are busy competing on robotics teams, starting anti-bullying programs, giving back to their communities, traveling the world and exploring interests from product design to digital movie making to name a few.

Girl Scout Ambassador Regan Sims, 17, who joined the organization a decade ago, is responsible for planning many of these activities with minimal adult supervision, serving as a leader and role model to the younger girls.

“I’ve had many leadership roles in Girl Scouts and it’s taught me that a strong leader sets a good example,” she says. “Leaders should always be there to encourage and lift people up. I also learned that I can do anything I set my mind to.” 

As the first Latina to lead Girl Scouts, Chávez also shares a personal connection with the organization since joining at the age of 10, which she says gave her a sense of higher purpose and encouraged her to dream big – something that inspires her work today.

“Girl Scouting opened up the world for me. It gave me the sisters I never had,” she says. “I met girls of all ethnic backgrounds and learned we could work toward the same goals of selling cookies and having fun while building lifelong friendships. I also learned about the environment and began to believe I could make a difference.”

Chávez says it’s an honor to be able to lead an organization that empowers and embraces girls, regardless of race, color, national origin or creed. Even Martin Luther King, Jr. described it as “a force of desegregation.”  

“I always say I have the best job in the world because I get to go to work every day in service to all girls,” she says. “I can’t wait to get to work each morning to help [them] fulfill their potential as leaders.”

For more information about National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend, visit www.girlscoutcookies.org.

Princess Gabbara is a recent graduate of Eastern Michigan University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism. You can read more of her work on her blog. Tweet her at @PrincessGabbara.