Bella Harris knows the power of Girl Scout Cookies.
For 12-year-old Bella, participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program means earning a free session of summer camp. It means taking trips with her fellow Girl Scouts. It means making dinner for parents whose children are in the hospital and so much more.
Bella said her favorite part of taking part in cookie program is seeing everything she has done as a result of it.
“(My favorite part is) being able to use that money to go and do things that I know that I’ll probably enjoy, and I know that will help me get to college,” Bella said. “I can just get some really awesome experiences.”
Her troop even made a poster board full of photos of the girls participating in activities that were paid for with their cookie proceeds.
In 2018, Bella sold 2,018 packages of cookies. The previous two years she had also 2,016 packages in in 2016 and 2,017 packages in 2017.
Bella said she sets her goal that high because she is “an overachiever.” But the main reason is because if she sold 2,018 packages last year, she received a free session of overnight camp at Girl Scouts’ Camp Molly Lauman.
For someone whose nickname from the camp counselor’s is “the serial camper,” receiving a free session is a great motivator during the cookie season. Bella said she usually attends about three weeks of camp each summer.
Bella, who lives in Obetz, loves living home during the summer and having new experiences while she’s away.
“It’s also really fun to be able to meet new people and do things that a lot people my age haven’t done, like bike up a mountain.”
Last year, Bella biked part of the Allegheny Passage bike trail through Pennsylvania and Maryland while on one of Girl Scouts Adventure Treks. Once again Bella will tackle one of the Adventure Trek programs when she visits different sites in Virginia as part of the National Park Rambler program.
Staying at camp is not the only way Bella has done overnight adventures thanks to the cookie program. Bella said her troop has used its cookie proceeds to go on trips in the past.
“We used to spend overnights at COSI a lot and now we’re saving up to go to Savannah, Georgia, which is the birthplace of Girl Scouts,” she said.
The troop is saving up its cookie proceeds to visit Savannah in 2020. The girls are already planning their trip.
“We’re going to go on haunted house tours and look at historical sites. It’s going to be great,” Bella said.
But the girls also use cookie proceeds to help others. Bella’s mother, Christina Harris, said on Oct. 27 the troop made dinner for the residents of the Columbus Ronald McDonald House. The troop made dinner on that day in honor of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday, which is Oct. 31.
If other Girl Scouts want to have the same kind of success Bella has enjoyed with the cookie program, she said girls shouldn’t be afraid to put themselves out there.
The cookie program teaches girls goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. Bella said those skills will help girls when they are young but also as an adult.
“It will also help you in the future like to get into college or to get a respectable job and it’ll look great on resumes,” she said. “It’s really just your ticket to having a successful future.”