by Dennis Dalman
Audrey Olson-Drake not only sold 1,500 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, but she had the happy chance to meet many people and pets along the way.
Olson-Drake, a second-grader and one of eight members of Sartell Girl Scout Troop 458, received the “Top Seller” award from the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines region. Troop 458 was also the top seller in Troop Service Unit 28, which includes the cities of Sartell, Sauk Rapids, Royalton and Rice. The eight Girl Scouts in Troop 458 sold 2,790 boxes of cookies.
Last year, Audrey sold 1,328 boxes of cookies, and this year she was determined to top that. Most of her sales occurred at booths set up at local businesses and door-to-door – her favorite way of selling because she likes to see customers and their variety of pets.
The proceeds of Olson-Drake’s sales are added to the earnings of the other Scouts in her troop. The girls will use those funds for community-service projects and field trips. She also received “Cookie Dough Coupons” she plans to use to help pay for Girl Scout camp and other scouting programs.
Olson-Drake had this to say about her selling expertise:
“Door-to-door was my favorite. But sometimes I’d trip and fall in the snow. I’d get up and say, ‘Keep on selling!’ ”
Her advice for other cookie sellers is this:
“Keep on trying, no matter what. And say thank you, even if they don’t buy cookies.”
Other scouts and leaders expressed amazement at Olson-Drake’s selling achievement.
“We thank everyone who supported Audrey and her Girl Scout sisters in the cookie program this year,” said Leigh Ann Davis, CEO of the Lakes and Pines region. “We’re very proud of the girls’ growth in goal-setting, decision-making, managing money, people skills and business ethics – all outcomes of the cookie program.”
Audrey is the daughter of Steve and Nancy Olson-Drake. Her mother is the leader of Sartell Girl Scout Troop 48 and accompanied her daughter not just while making cookie sales but also when making candy and magazine sales to raise money for the troop.
Audrey’s favorite Girl Scout cookies are Thin Mints and Caramel Delights, although she and her mother also now like the new cookie called Mango Cremes, which they didn’t care for when they first tried one.
“Now we just love them,” Nancy said.
Girl Scout cookies have become a daily part of life at the Olson-Drake household.
“After dinner, when it’s time for dessert, all we have to do is go to the garage and get a box of Girl Scout cookies,” Nancy said.
She and Audrey have spent countless hours selling cookies and meeting so many nice people in the process – door-to-door and in front of stores like Coborn’s, Walgreen’s and Walmart. Girl Scout cookies clearly bring out the best in people. At one house, there were five adults, all related, sitting around a table, talking. When the door bell rang, in walked Audrey and her mother, and the five adults were instantly eager to buy lots of cookies – 22 boxes of them.
When Audrey and her mother were selling cookies in front of stores, sometimes people would see them and lament the fact they had no cash or check blanks with them. Always eager to please a customer, Nancy and Audrey would offer to drive boxes of cookies to customers’ houses in the greater St. Cloud area.
“That happened several times, and the people were so grateful,” Nancy said.
Audrey loves animals and wants to be a veterinarian some day. She has a Maltese dog named Bella and a fish named Butterscotch. Much of what she and her troop raised from cookie sales was used for animal causes. One time, the girls donated money and time to the Tri-County Humane Society and spent the better part of a day there, washing animals and making cage bedding from torn-up newspapers. They also bought food, toys and timothy hay for the dogs and cats. Other volunteer projects the girls did were for the Anna Marie women’s shelter and Toys for Tots.
“Audrey loves animals – stuffed or real,” said her mother. “She even knows all the houses that have pets on her sales routes. She knows the pets’ names and loves to play with them.”
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.