After more than 12 years in the program, a Chanute area Girl Scout has completed her final cookie sale.
Chanute High School senior Jessica Peppinger said she figures she has sold 13,000 boxes of cookies since she joined the Girl Scouts in kindergarten.
“Give or take a couple,” she said.
Peppinger sold 1,200 boxes this year, included 105 in the Care & Share program, where a buyer donates cash and the box of cookies is sent to someone in the military, an essential worker, or a food pantry.
The sales have allowed her to take five campout weekends and attend four summer day camps. She is planning to take a trip this summer to London and Paris.
“It’s kind of just like a last big trip for me,” she said.
Cookie sales started in February this year and ended the last week of March. Although the 2020 sales campaign began just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it ended early and Peppinger sold 900 boxes that year.
Kindergarten members start as Daisies then go through the Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassador levels. As a high school senior, Peppinger becomes too old for the program the September after graduation.
She said the program has given her a lot of confidence. At first she was the shy, non-talkative type, but she said Girl Scouts brought her out of her shell and helped her find out who she is.
“Through my Gold Award project, I had to stand up and be the leader,” she said.
The Gold Award is the equivalent of the Eagle rank in Boy Scouts, and Peppinger received her Gold in January 2020. Both awards require a community service project, and hers was the playground equipment at First Christian Church.
Peppinger said her mother was a Girl Scout and her older brother was in Boy Scouts and he earned the Eagle when she was in fifth grade. She helped with her brother’s Eagle project and she said her father is proud to have both an Eagle and a Gold.
“He’s helped with both projects, actually,” Peppinger said.
She first joined when they lived in Olathe, but Chanute did not have a Girl Scout troop when she moved here in sixth grade.
Peppinger said there have been many changes in cookies during her time as a Girl Scout. Thin mints, caramel, shortbread, lemonades and peanut butter patties are perennial, and at one time there was a cinnamon snap cookie.
Girls once sold a mango cookie.
“Some people said it tasted like sunscreen, so it lasted one year,” Peppinger said.
The s’mores cookie ended this year and the thanks-a-lot and gluten-free trio cookies have been discontinued. A new cookie is the gluten-free caramel-chocolate chip.
Since she has been around cookies so much, Peppinger does not have much interest in eating them, but her favorites are the thin mints.
“Making a thin mint milkshake is pretty good,” she said.
She previously traveled to St. Louis with the Girl Scouts, although she did not use credits from cookie sales. While there, they had a mock trial in the courthouse, and visited a playground art museum and caves. That was her biggest trip next to this summer’s Europe trip.
Her highlight experience using cookie credits was a weekend campout trip in the Wichita area.
Peppinger is the oldest of the 20 scouts in her local troop and helps with the Daisies and Brownies. She said she will probably continue as a volunteer. After graduation, she plans to attend Neosho County Community College to go through the Occupational Therapy program, and then stay in the Chanute area.
She said anyone interested in Girl Scouts can contact her mother, Sherry Peppinger, at (620) 212-4156. Jessica said they are always looking for leaders.