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Girl Scout learns importance of goal setting through cookie program


Sophia at Cookie Booth

Even when Sophia Martin-Shaheen reaches her goals, she isn’t satisfied.

For the last few years of the Girl Scout Cookie Program, Sophia has set a high goal: 1,200 packages. And in each of the last two years, she’s surpassed her initial goal. Throughout her years of participating in the cookie program, the 13-year-old has learned lessons she will carry with her forever.

“It’s just taught me that it’s good to have goals, but you want to go above them too,” she said.

Once Sophia met 1,200 packages during the 2019 cookie program, she decided to keep going.

“We actually had gotten to my goal pretty early in the season and so I was just like ‘OK, why not? Let’s just make it a little bit farther.”

Her new goal was 2,019 packages, so she could earn a free week of resident camp. Sophia crushed that too and finished the cookie season with 2,426 packages.

Sophia’s mother, Kaliyah Martin-Shaheen, said one of the main reasons Sophia has been so successful is because she goes out when others won’t.

“There’s a lot of perseverance there and dedication when everyone is giving up the booths because of the bad weather, she’s willing to go out in that weather,” Kaliyah said.

As Sophia has become a more experienced cookie boss, she’s become more outgoing. She said in past years she was always “terrified” for the first cookie booth, but not in 2019.

“This year on the first booth, I just kind of jumped right in,” the Hilliard resident said.

Being more outgoing is part of the reason Sophia has had so much success at cookie booths.

“You got to bring the people in,” she said. “I find that people really like it when you make jokes or treat them as a person more than a customer.”

Kaliyah said she loves to see how well Sophia connects with people and the conversations she has with them. She added that Sophia has actually been offered some jobs because of it.

“Her communication skills and her comfort level with being able to talk with other adults and engage them in what she’s doing and not just about ‘hey, here’s a box of cookies,” Kaliyah said.

Even when it’s not cookie season, Sophia said people only ask her about cookies when they learn she’s a Girl Scout.

She’s quick to tell them Girl Scouts is about more than cookies and shares all the activities she does, such as ziplining, visiting COSI, touring the Franklin Park Conservatory and so much more.

“We have these big projects, we volunteer for things, we go to camp,” Sophia said. “We get to learn all these things that other girls don’t get to and it’s such a blessing. It’s something that we get to do because not everyone can.”