Arnold girl, 6, aims to sell 4K boxes of Girl Scout cookies

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About an hour ago

Stella VanWhy is one determined Daisy.

The 6-year-old Arnold girl told her troop co-leader she was going to sell 2,020 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies so she could pay for Girl Scout camp this summer, said Alicia Phillips, Stella’s mom.

“That’s what I want to do most, because I love camp,” Stella said.

When co-leader Chelsea Stone told her the goal wasn’t realistic, Stella wasn’t having any of it.

“Stella refused to acknowledge anything that I was saying and kind of put her hands on her hips and said, ‘Well, I’m doubling it, my goal is 4,040,’” said Stone of New Kensington.

So now, Stella and her mom have been taking to the streets of Arnold and New Kensington, knocking on doors, looking for people interested in buying Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Samoas and all the other varieties of the famous Girl Scout Cookies.

As of Thursday, they had sold about 330 boxes at $5 each, most from going door-to-door.

She’s also sold some online at “Stella’s Cookie World.”

Stone said the girls can do door-to-door sales until Jan. 31. The troop will do booth sales in March, which will also go toward their totals.

Stella is one of six girls, ages 5 and 6, in her troop. On Thursday, Stone’s daughter, Lily, 5, helped Stella as they knocked on doors and made a few sales before the cold and a burst of snow made them want to go home.

Phillips home-schools her daughter, who she said has high-functioning autism and severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. She joined Girl Scouts in September, and this is her first cookie sale.

“This is how she made her first group of friends ever,” Phillips said.

“She’s having a hard time with her autism,” Phillips said. “It’s hard to make eye contact sometimes. People want to shake her hand and get close to her. She has a hard time with any kind of normal social behavior. It makes it hard for her.”

Only about one in four people they approach buys cookies, Phillips said. Stella made her own “business card,” a slip of paper with her picture and a scannable QR code, to leave for people who aren’t home.

“We get a lot of people who don’t come to the door at all. She’ll leave a business card in case people want to order.”

Stone’s daughter, Lily, has her own lofty goal of 1,500 boxes, having her eyes set on a prize of a tent and lantern.

Stone said she thinks 300 boxes is a realistic goal.

“This is my first year doing it and my daughter’s first year,” Stone said. “It’s kind of a learning experience for all of us.”

Stella can earn “Girl Scout Bucks” through her cookie sales that can be used to attend Camp Skymeadow in Kiski Township, according to Stefanie Marshall, a spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania. Bucks begin to accrue at 165 boxes, and Stella is already over that.

The organization doubles the Girl Scout Bucks earned when they’re spent on programs that it sponsors, such as the camp. If Stella has more bucks than needed to pay for camp, she can spend them at the camp’s trading post, Marshall said.

“Stella’s a fun little girl and she’s full of energy,” Stone said. “There was no talking her down or what I think is reasoning with her. I hope she does meet her goal.”

Stella’s sales will also benefit her troop as a whole.

The troop will use money it earns from its cookie sales for projects including a river cleanup, sending care packages to soldiers overseas, and visiting grandparents at a local nursing home.

Phillips is hopeful her daughter can reach her goal.

“She’s tenacious and she’s determined,” she said. “No matter what the weather or how she’s feeling, she goes out and knocks on hundreds of doors. No matter how many nos she gets, she doesn’t quit. She might make it.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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