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UTAH GIRL SCOUTS CELEBRATE SUCCESS OF ’94 COOKIE SALE

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More than 1,000 Girl Scouts, troop leaders, volunteers and parents converged at the Utah State Fairpark Saturday to celebrate the success of 1994's Girl Scout cookie sales.

Surrounded by game booths, jugglers, magicians and face painters, the girls were treated to an afternoon of entertainment, including live music, hosted by the Utah Girl Scout Council.This is the first year a party of this size was held for those who participated in the cookie sale. In previous years, a small banquet for only the top sellers was held. This year 8,500 Brownie, Junior, Cadette and Senior scouts were honored for selling more than one million cookies in 1994. Utah has a total of 13,000 Girls Scouts and nearly 4,500 volunteer adults.

"We've Got it Together" was the theme of the party, said Nina Green, communication director for the Utah Girl Scout Council. Green said the annual cookie sale is very important in meeting the needs of today's girls. "We put the girl first in Utah," Green said to the crowd of painted faces and uniformed Scouts.

She said selling the cookies teaches the girls money management, communication skills and self-esteem. She also stressed that all the money raised from selling cookies stays in Utah to benefit the state's Scouts.

The cookies have been sold annually since 1923. Each year the sales go up and the funds for programs increase. More importantly, the girls keep working harder to sell more. "It's amazing what they can sell," said Cindy Vargo, associate director for the council. "Not only do they sell a lot, they learn a lot."

Of the funds raised, 6 percent goes to the administration program, 10 percent to the troop treasuries, 7 percent to the individual who sold the boxes in activity credits, 34 percent to make the product and 45 percent goes to the Girl Scout program for camps, facilities, horses, etc.

After a long and hot afternoon, the crowd gathered under a shaded tent to receive awards for the highest sales. Some 129 Scouts who sold more than 500 boxes of cookies each and were recognized with a certificate and plaque. Then the moment all had been waiting for - the top three sellers in the state.

Laura Mellen sold 2,310 boxes; Alexis Marx sold 1,500 and Holly Barker sold 1,200.

Mellen, a 10-year-old from West Valley City, said she had no strategy to sell that many cookies. "I just got out there and sold them," she said. Mellen has four older sisters who are or were Scouts and also received top awards. But, she has no intention of trying to beat her record next year.