Amanda Robinson and Roni Bumgardner work hard during the Girl Scout Cookie Program.
They each spent their weekends outside in the cold Ohio winter at cookie booths for sometimes three hours at a time. But to Amanda and Roni, the hours are worth it.
The troop-mates said their favorite part of the cookie program comes months later when they are using their proceeds and rewards to go on incredible trips — both with their fellow troop members and also with each other on a backpacking trip.
“It’s like working toward a big vacation,” Roni said.
For the 2019 program, Amanda and Roni set their cookie goals at 2,019 packages each. When girls reach that threshold, they earn a free week of resident camp.
The girls worked together to reach their goals and each surpassed 2,019 packages. Amanda, 18, finished with 2,046 packages and Roni, 17, reached 2,400 packages.
The girls used their free week of camp toward one of the three 2019 Adventure Treks, which are two-week backpacking trips for older Girl Scouts offered by Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland.
The trek took Amanda and Roni, who are both from Groveport, to southwest Pennsylvania where they hiked the Laurel Highlands Trail in July. Their group went rock climbing, whitewater rafting and hiking. They actually did a little more hiking than originally planned, Roni said.
The group headed out on what they thought was a five-mile hike, but they went the wrong direction. After walking back to their starting point and going on the planned hike, the girls walked more than 18 miles in one day.
Both girls said they learned something about themselves that day.
“I learned I could persevere. It took us 12 hours to do that,” Amanda said.
It also tested their endurance.
“I learned that I can last longer without water than I thought,” Roni said with a laugh.
But the Adventure Trek isn’t the only trip the girls have taken thanks to the cookie program. Previously, Amanda, Roni and the other members of Troop 1234 used their cookie proceeds on a Mexican cruise.
Rosie Bumgardner, Roni’s mom and the troop leadership volunteer, said the trip was eye opening for the girls.
“We took that cruise and then all the sudden it’s like, ‘We did all of this with cookies,’ ” she said.
And they aren’t done traveling. The troop is saving proceeds from the 2019 and 2020 cookie programs, intending to use them for another trip in 2020, possibly on another cruise.
Just like their extra long hike, the cookie program has helped the girls learn the power of perseverance, especially when it comes to cookie booths.
“There were points where it was like, ‘It’s too cold, I don’t want to go outside’ but then we were like, ‘Well we want our goals so we gotta go outside and go to Walmart for at least an hour,’ ” Amanda said.
The girls know participating in the cookie program is key to all the other experiences they have through Girl Scouts.
“Girl Scouts is way more than just the cookie program. It’s a way that we’re able to do some of the other really cool things that we get to do,” Amanda said.