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Girl Scout learns goal setting, perseverance through cookie program

Sophia Cookie Seller

Nothing was going to stand in the way of Sophia Martin-Shaheen reaching her cookie goal in 2018.

She had set her goal at 1,200 packages for a specific reason, she wanted the American Girl doll that girls could earn for reaching that milestone.

Sophia, 12, was determined to make it happen because as a girl with a love science the doll was a perfect match. The doll, named Luciana, is an 11-year-old girl who wants to be astronaut.

“I just really liked her because I had recently gone to space camp and it actually was the same space camp that they do in the book,” Sophia said.

Just like Luciana does in the book written about her, Sophia had traveled to Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA’s Pathfinder Space Camp.

Goal setting is one of the skills girls learn through the Girl Scout Cookie Program. With her goal set at 1,200, Sophia set out to achieve it. She knocked on every door on her street in Hilliard the first day of the program, despite the several inches of snow that were on the ground.

She worked as many cookie booths as she could and didn’t let the weather stop her. When other Girl Scouts and troops would decide not to work at a cookie booth because of the weather, Sophia would tell her mother to sign up for it.

Her mother, Kaliyah Martin-Shaheen, said they would pick up booths when it was raining, snowing, or sub-zero temperatures. Most days, Sophia said, it was worth standing out in the elements.

She was so tenacious in her efforts to meet her goal that one day while working a cookie booth in the rain, Sophia sold 350 packages of cookies in four hours — that’s about 1.46 packages of cookies every minute.

Kaliyah said Sophia is learning business skills, finance, public speaking and more from participating in the cookie program.

“She’s building confidence,” she said. “It’s all of those components that will make her a good leader someday.”

Sophia said standing at cookie booths in the winter weather has taught her the importance of perseverance.

“I remember a few times doing a booth it was freezing cold and I felt like I had frostbite or something like that and I would be complaining to (my mom) and I would still keep going because I needed to finish the booth,” she said.

Once Sophia reached 1,200 packages, her go-getter spirit pushed her to keep going.

“I was like ‘Well, we might not get this far any other year. This is the year. I got this far, and it can’t be too hard to get to 1,600. I mean, it’s only 400 away. I could probably do that.’”

And she did reach 1,600 packages. So, she revised her goal again, and once again she met it. By the end of the cookie season Sophia had sold 2,047 packages of cookies.

“I was like ‘Well, I might not ever get this far again.’”

But after her success last year, it seems likely Sophia will go very far in the future — both in the cookie program and in life.