Help girls learn five important skills while raising funds for leadership activities

Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts is excited to bring back America's favorite cookies, and to introduce two new flavors, including one that is gluten-free.

Each year Girl Scouts cookies are offered in eight delicious flavors and are sold for a limited time. Beginning Dec. 13, customers can purchase Thin Mints, Caramel deLites, Peanut Butter Patties, Shortbreads, Thanks-A-Lots, Lemonades, Peanut Butter Sandwiches or one of our two new cookies this year, Cranberry Citrus Crisp, and starting Jan. 23 in limited supply, Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread.

Be sure to stock up; they are only available until March 4.

Girl Scout Cookies are an icon of American culture. From their earliest beginnings to their current popularity, Girl Scout Cookies bring joy to customers and help girls have fun, develop valuable life skills and make their communities a better place. Each purchase means you get tasty cookies -- and a girl learns a lifetime of skills, such as goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

During the cookie sale, girls work toward a common goal as part of a team. The money earned from cookie sale activities helps the troop partake in service projects, go on field trips, purchase patches, attend summer camp and so much more.

In addition, girls give back to others during the sale through the Cookies for a Cause program. Girls sell boxes of cookies that are set aside to be donated to soldiers overseas or to a local food pantry. Last year, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts donated more than 35,000 packages. This especially meaningful element of the Girl Scout cookie program helps girls develop business ethics and a foundation for a lifetime of community service.

"Buying Girl Scout cookies is more than just handing over money. It's about helping girls develop the skills gained from interacting directly with you," explains Barbara Fortier, chief operating officer, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. "It's about the experience of running a business and working with others. It's the reason we don't sell cookies online. And it's why we encourage you to buy your cookies from a Girl Scout -- the cookie professional," said Fortier.

Girl Scout cookies are $4 per package, Gluten Free are $5 per pouch. To find out where to buy cookies in your area, visit hergirlscouts.org, click on the "cookie locator" and enter your ZIP code.