The Perfect Pairing: Girl Scout Edition

When you think of a perfect pairing for a Girl Scout cookie, what comes to mind? For me, it’s usually a glass of milk. But have you ever considered pairing your cookie with a glass of wine, beer, or even a whiskey?

Well, we did! As a thank you to our volunteers on Volunteer Appreciation night in April, we held a virtual Girl Scout Cookie Pairing and we’ve compiled our favorite tips below to share. Let us know what you think!

Toffee-tastic

  • Beers: For a buttery cookie such as Toffee-tastics, you’ll want to pair this with a scotch ale to bring out the caramel flavor.
  • Wines: To pair a Toffee-tastic with a wine, we recommend something with a stronger flavor. You could even pair this with a local cider!
  • Spirits: For a spirit, we suggest pairing with a flavored vodka (think caramel, vanilla, or anything sweet).

Bonus tip: If you prefer something non-alcoholic, we recommend dipping a Toffee-tastic in your coffee or hot chocolate!

S’mores

  • Beers: For a beer pairing, you can’t go wrong with a Russian imperial stout. Pairing the sweetness of the cookie with the roasted flavor of a dark stout will make you feel like you are roasting marshmallows over a campfire! For a beyond perfect pairing, don’t miss the local S’mores stout from Maxie’s in Cumberland County.
  • Wines: For wines, S’mores appeals to two flavor pallets, anything from a more subtle rosé to a drier merlot. You can’t go wrong!
  • Spirits: A unique spirit that pairs with several cookies, but especially S’mores, is peanut butter whiskey. We recommend Ole Smokey or Skrewball.

Bonus tip: Put your S’mores cookie in the microwave for 10 seconds to get the same gooey marshmallow as if you roasted it over a campfire!

Lemon-ups

  • Beers: For a unique cookie like Lemon-ups, you’ll want something light and airy to bring out the citrus flavor. Lemon-ups pair well with an IPA or a Hefeweizen which brings out the bright, citrus flavors of the cookie. For a local brew, head up to Troegs and check out First Cut or Joyous, which packs the perfect fruity punch.
  • Wines: For wines, you can’t go wrong with your favorite sparkling or white wine.
  • Spirits: The ultimate spirit pairing for Lemon-ups—a limoncello Moscow mule! For this easy perfect pairing, you’ll need limoncello, vodka, lemon juice, ginger beer, and lemon slices (for serving, of course).

Trefoils

  • Beers: For beer, we recommend an IPA but steer clear of anything bitter since the cookie doesn’t have as much sugar to counteract the flavor.
  • Wines: The Trefoil cookie’s light buttery flavor makes it the perfect match for a wine that is bright, fun, and lively. We recommend a semi-sweet Riesling.
  • Spirits: For spirits, you can mix and match a flavored vodka! And, if you are looking for a local option, check out Mason Dixon Distillery in Gettysburg. Their perfect pairing? Lavender lemonade!

Do-si-Dos

  • Beers: The Do-si-Do is a unique, versatile cookie that pairs well with nearly anything—from blonde ale to a dark coffee porter! The porter will accentuate the peanut butter flavor, while bringing out the sweetness of the oatmeal cookie.
  • Wines: For a wine, we recommend a merlot or zinfandel to highlight the cookie’s oatmeal caramel flavor.
  • Spirits: For spirits, we paired our Do-si-Dos with a butterscotch spirit. If you want to go local, head up to Hazards Distillery in Mifflintown to try their butterscotch flavored moonshine.

Samoas

  • Beers: For Samoas, you want to be sure to pair the cookie with something that won’t take away from its flavor. For beer, we recommend steering clear of a blonde or pale ale. Try out a chocolate stout, brown ale, or amber ale instead.
  • Wines: We recommend pairing a Samoa with a sparkling wine or a dessert wine. This is especially perfect for those with a sweet tooth!
  • Spirits: Of course, with a coconut cookie, you can’t go wrong with a coconut rum or even a cream liqueur, such as Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Tagalongs

  • Beers: For a perfect beer pairing, you’ll want something that compliments the sweetness of the cookie without overpowering it. We recommend a Vienna lager or imperial stout.
  • Wines: You’ll want a wine with an assertive flavor, but not overpowering. Think cabernet, madeira, or anything with a bold flavor to cut with the sweetness of the cookie.
  • Spirits: The ultimate perfect spirit pairing with a peanut butter cookie? Peanut butter whiskey, of course! Test out this Skrewball martini recipe to mimic the Tagalong cookie: Skrewball, chocolate syrup, and vanilla vodka.

Thin Mints

  • Beers: Similar to Tagalongs, Thin Mints pair perfectly with an imperial stout.
  • Wines: For a wine, steer clear of anything that will overpower the cookie. Try out a dry merlot, malbec, or port wine.
  • Spirits: Check out the Bailey’s with Mint or a Coffee Liquor, it will elevate the mint flavor for you.

Bonus Tip: If you are looking for a fun, kid friendly pairing, have some Thin Mints and Cheddar cheese, it’s so tasty!

Let us know your favorites in the comments below!


Written by Rachel Lilley, Volunteer

Thank you Volunteers!

Happy National Volunteer Month! Here at GSHPA, it’s the volunteers that make everything we do possible. We have over 2,900 volunteers that dedicate countless hours to making sure every girl has opportunities of a lifetime. To all of our volunteers, we thank you!

This past year, especially, we’ve leaned on you more than ever. A global pandemic isn’t something that we ever imagined happening, but with all of the extra support of our volunteers, we were able to persevere! Our volunteers stepped up when we needed it most, for that we are very grateful.

We closed our camp gates, office doors, canceled our in-person cookie booths, stopped meeting in person, and went 100 percent virtual. This was something new to all of us, and we had to learn how to navigate a digital world together. The transition wasn’t perfect. In fact, we’re still working on some things, but you and your support and participation were with us every step of the way.

“Despite a pandemic, despite the downturn in the economy, despite all the obstacles ever imagined, Girl Scout Volunteers were still serving and volunteering for the girls,” said Chief Operating Officer Deb Bogdanski. “It is such a testament to the dedication and focus of our volunteers – thank you for everything that each and every volunteer contributes!”

Your efforts do not go unnoticed. We see you encouraging your Daisy troop to be their best selves. We see you putting in extra hours of your personal time to ensure that each girl in your Girl Scout troop is selling cookies to meet their goals. We see you inspiring the next generation of leaders, engineers, artists, teachers and beyond!

This National Volunteer Month (and every day), we want you to know just how vital you are to the success of the best girl leadership development program in the world – a place where every G.I.R.L. can unleash her full potential and make amazing things happen on her terms, largely because of you!

Thank you from our GSHPA leadership team!

Janet Donovan, President and CEO

Deb Bogdanski, COO

Krystell Fox, CFO

Nancy Venner, Chief of Strategy and Public Policy

How to Respond to Hard Conversations

Growing up is hard, but growing up during a global pandemic, political unrest, climate change, and a 24-hour news cycle is unprecedented! As an adult I can often feel overwhelmed by it all, so I can only imagine what our young people might be feeling. With all that is happening around us, along with the regular challenges of life, young people are bound to have questions!  

As troop leaders, volunteers, parents, and caregivers we have an important role in the lives of our Girl Scouts. Given all our girls are facing it is inevitable for tough conversation topics to come up. In order to build girls of courage, confidence and character we need to provide them with safe spaces to process what is happening around them.  

It can be frightening when a tough subject comes up, but keep in mind that some of the hardest things to talk about are often the most important! So here are 5 tips to help you prepare to tackle tough topics and conversations: 

  1. Keep the conversation GIRL LED.  

In Girl Scouts, we know that girls are most interested and passionate about the topics THEY pick, including tough or sensitive topics. While it might be tempting to quickly change the subject when a tough topic comes up, avoiding hard things doesn’t help anyone. If a Girl Scout brings up a hard topic it is a sign, she trusts you or feels safe and hushing the topic could result in feelings of shame and confusion.  

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Instead of changing the subject, if able, give her your full attention. If the topic was brought up at a challenging time, acknowledge that and make a plan for the discussion at a time when you can give your full attention. Do not make assumptions about the girl’s feelings or understanding on a topic, have them share what they know in their own words. Practice active listening and validate what they are sharing. If a girl has disclosed a sensitive personal story, do not ask detail-oriented questions but instead reflect or repeat back what she is saying and feeling to make sure you understand. Using statements like “it sounds like you are feeling” or “I hear you saying” can be helpful in clarifying and validating feelings and statements.  

  1. Keep conversation judgment free and strength based.  

Talking about sensitive or tough topics can be a vulnerable experience so it is important create a safe space. If planning ahead for a tough topic, have the girls establish ground rules for the conversation or space (no judgement, name-calling, interrupting, etc.). When the girls are sharing and expressing their thoughts avoid sharing your judgements or speculations. If something hard is shared, remain calm and don’t add to the stress with your reaction. An intense reaction can make something feel scarier and harder, try to meet the girl where she’s at emotionally.  

Practice and role model empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings. While practicing empathy we are not trying to fix, rescue, or solve a problem, we are instead providing support by connecting through shared feelings. Empathy helps us consider the other person’s point of view. If there are disagreements between your girls, ask them to consider what the other person is feeling. When discussing tough news stories, talk about what those impacted may be feeling. One of the ultimate benefits of empathy is the ability to consider the other person’s perspective when solving conflicts or figuring out compromise. 

While affirming hard feelings or concerns, it is also important to help girls find hope and see their strengths. Recognize how brave it is to share feelings and talk about difficult topics. Empower by acknowledging their strength and ability to make positive change. Tough conversations can be a time to discuss what courage, confidence, and character mean to them in relation to what is going on in their community and world.  

  1. Breathe.  You don’t have to be the expert! 

As the adult you may feel pressure to know the answers or have solutions. Try not to be distracted by this pressure or trying to say exactly the “right” thing. Many times, just having a supportive listening ear can be what’s needed most. 

When discussing a hard topic only share what you know is true. If you aren’t sure, be honest and suggest you find the answers together. Make space for sharing knowledge and experiences but never single out a girl to answer a question or speak for her racial, ethnic, or religious group. Empower the girls to find their own answers with developmentally appropriate resources on related topics. Books on the topics of race, diversity, discrimination, grief, and important related issues can be helpful resources. 

  1. Safety is always first! 

When working with or around young people, safety is always a consideration. As adults it is our responsibility to keep the young people around us safe. If a girl discloses any form of abuse it needs to be reported to child protective services. As the adult who she disclosed to it is not your job to investigate, or find out more information, but simply provide support and report to child protective services. You do not have to be sure or have proof of abuse, if there is any suspicion it is better to be safe and report. It can feel scary to make a report but it may result in the girl and family connecting to services they need. If you are unsure if a report should be made you can call the Childline hotline and discuss concerns.  

The toll-free hotline, 1-800-932-0313, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to receive reports of suspected child abuse. Mandated reporters can report electronically.  

  1. That was tough. Take care of yourself! 

Tough conversations can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. Remember to take some time to practice good self-care! If able, at the end of the conversation take time to debrief and process feelings that may have come up. Make a self-care plan for the remainder of the day. Respect the privacy of information disclosed but if you are feeling heavy after the conversation reach out for support. Taking deep breaths, a walk, or time for creative processing can all be helpful ways to release some feelings and care for yourself.  

Check out additional resources for common tough topics: 

If your a GSHPA volunteer and interested in learning more about responding to hard conversations, check out our upcoming Volunteer Conference where I will be talking more on the subject!


Post by Gabby Dietrich

News: GSHPA Volunteer Conference

GSHPA is getting excited about our upcoming virtual volunteer conference happening February 20th from 9am-12pm. The conference will feature inspiring speakers, breakout sessions with opportunities to expand personal development and Girl Scout expertise, as well as networking opportunities! 

Breakout sessions will explore how to plan a Journey in a day/weekend, outdoor programming, how to run a virtual meeting, how to keep girls engaged virtually, being a part of challenging conversations, as well as Girl Scout Traditions and Ceremonies.  

You can register through www.gshpa.org or hereMake sure to register by January 30th! An email with the breakout session registration will be sent to all participants at a later date. Each participant will receive a goodie bag in the mail with conference materials, resources and access to the recorded sessions.