Ashlyn Sweeney knew the 2019 Girl Scout Cookie Program wasn’t going to be easy for her.
At the start of the program, she knew she was having surgery on Jan. 17, 2019. But she didn’t let that stop her from setting a high goal: 2,019 packages of cookies in 2019.
“I knew that I was going to get surgery and I was going to have a hard time but that’s just what makes it more exciting,” she said.
The previous year, Ashlyn had used cookie booths and door-to-door sales with her cookie wagon to reach her goal. But stents placed during the surgery made it painful to stand or walk for long periods of time. She relied more on online sales through Digital Cookie. She even posted a picture of herself with her order card while in a hospital bed. Ashlyn still participated in cookie booths but sat more than usual.
And she crushed her goal. Ashlyn, now 13, had a final tally of 2,430 packages.
“As soon as I did reach my goal, I kind of just wanted to see how high I could go,” she said.
Her mom, Shannon Sweeney had been a little worried Ashlyn wouldn’t meet her goal. However, the determination Ashlyn had learned from participating in the cookie program since the first grade helped the Cadette keep going.
“She pushed through. She wanted to do it,” Shannon said.
Ashlyn, who is from Hilliard, said she uses Girl Scouts and the cookie program to challenge herself.
“Mostly it has taught me to be more determined in school, try and go as high as you can,” she said. “The cookie program gave me enough courage to spread it out to the things that I do outside of (Girl Scouts).”
Especially last year, Ashlyn said the cookie program taught her not to give up even when the task is difficult.
“The cookie program has taught me to never give up because if you do, you’re not going to get what you may want or get what you aspire to do. Just don’t give up, don’t quit,” she said.
Ashlyn and her troop have big aspirations. Troop 629 is saving its proceeds from the 2019 and 2020 cookie programs for a trip to Houston and Galveston, Texas in May 2020.
The girls themselves have researched and planned where they will visit. While the girls will go to a water park, an aquarium, and much more, Ashlyn said there is one place that will be the highlight of the trip: Space Center Houston.
Shannon said when G.I.R.L. 2017 was held in Columbus, Ashlyn and her troop visited the Hall of Experiences, where attendees engaged in hands-on activities. The mobile space simulator was a big hit with the girls.
At their cookie booths this year, Ashlyn and her troop members have signs that include the phrase, “Help us blast off to Houston.”
Ashlyn has set her goal at 2,020 packages this year, however, she said each year she tries to go beyond the number she reached the year before.
And while Ashlyn loves the cookie program, she said being a Girl Scout is about so much more than just cookies.
“It’s a process of gaining determination and confidence and as you go forward as a Girl Scout, you will learn things that you would not have learned somewhere else,” she said.