Every year during cookie season, Girl Scout troops in Massachusetts can choose to participate in "Cookies for a Cause" programs. They can also choose who to donate their cookies to.
For the fifth year in a row, my daughter's troop decided to collect cookies to send to soldiers stationed overseas. This was the first year, though, that they were able to attend an event to meet soldiers, talk with them, tour a training base and see that their work - and their cookies - really makes a difference.
The troop gathered early Saturday morning to carpool to Camp Edwards, on Cape Cod's Massachusetts Military Reserve. The event was organized by Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts and attended by hundreds of scouts of all ages from across the state.
The cookies were collected in a big truck by Cape Cod Cares For the Troops, to be packaged into care packages and shipped to Afghanistan and Iraq. 1,700 boxes of cookies were collected!
The girls met members of different branches of the military who are stationed at this base. The men and women in blue were all from the Coast Guard. The soldiers in camo fatigues were from the Army and Air Force.
Ruth Branscom, the CEO of Girl Scouts of Massachusetts, was on hand -she's the woman in denim, standing with the soldiers - to make a few remarks and officially thank both the girls for working hard to collect donations and support the military troops, and thank the soldiers for their service.
After the official ceremony and tour, our troop had an additional private tour of the helicopter facility, given by the high-ranking uncle of one of the scouts. They got to eat their lunch overlooking the airfield, try on equipment and check out the controls of an actual Black Hawk helicopter... a real treat for the girls, and a fun way to reward them for their hard work this cookie season.
My daughter may not be a "Top Gun" yet, but she and her friends are 'tops' nonetheless.
For more information on how you can support our troops, you can check out the website of Cape Cod Cares For the Troops or friend them on Facebook... or check for a local group in your area doing the same kind of thing. According to the soldiers we spoke with, the care packages from "home" mean a great deal when you're over in the Middle East.
Thin Mints never meant so much.