ENCINITAS — Although she’s only 10, Angelique Velasco is already a skilled pitchman.
A member of Encinitas Girl Scout Troop 1239, Angelique uses her gift of persuasion to send Girl Scout cookies to military troops overseas through Operation Thin Mint. Angelique is among 3,601 girls and 419 troops participating in the program in the North County coastal area.
This is the 10th year of the local cookie drive. To date, a total of 1,633,888 boxes of Girl Scout cookies accompanied with handwritten notes have been sent from Girl Scouts in San Diego to troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, Japan, Korea and aboard ships in the Persian Gulf, Western Pacific and Indian Ocean.
Last year Angelique won a local competition for the best decorated wagon, which she used to pull her inventory of cookies from door to door.
“We used wrapping paper to cover the wagon to make it look like a piece of the sky,” she said. “The thing that caught people’s eye was a puppet for Operation Thin Mint on the top of the wagon. We also used battery-pack lights.”
Angelique also developed a pitch that proved to be as irresistible as her Girl Scout cookies.
“If a customer bought four boxes totaling $16, and gave me a $20 bill, I would say, ‘Would you like to donate your change to Operation Thin Mint?’” she explained. “It worked nine out of 10 times.”
In total, Angelique generated 210 boxes of cookies for the troops. She and her fellow troop members were delighted to receive this thank you note from BM1(SW) Danielle Rosetti: “Thank you so much for all of the wonderful Operation Thin Mint cookies! They really brightened up our long days at sea. I took some pictures but I am not going to be able to send them to you until I get back to my home in Japan. But again, a sincere thank you from me and my Sailors!”
Angelique’s mother, Anali Velasco, reported that this year the girls are determined to break their previous record.
“After reading the Operation Thin Mint note the girls felt a sense of pride and a feeling of making a difference,” she said. “This inspired them to challenge themselves this year to double their OTM donations from last year.”
Angelique developed a new pitch that she debuted when the Girl Scout cookie drive launched on Jan. 30.
“I say, ‘Donate to Operation Thin Mint so you can make a difference. As you already know, 100 percent of the money goes to buy cookies for the troops overseas. They suit up for us, and we suit up for them to give them a taste of home and a note to show we care.’”
In addition to Thin Mints deployed troops will receive other flavors including Samoas, Trefoils, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Lemon Chalet Cremes, Dulce de Leche and Berry Munch.
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is America’s leading business and financial literacy program for girls. Many successful women credit the program with developing their self-confidence and business skills at an early age.
Famous Girl Scouts include former First Lady Hillary Clinton; former U.S. Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright; astronauts Christa McAuliffe and Sally Ride; and singers Celine Dion and Mariah Carey.
Even if someone doesn’t want to buy cookies for themselves, they can bring a bit of home to troops by participating in Operation Thin Mint for only $4 a box.
Beginning Feb. 11 through March 13, customers can also participate in Operation Thin Mint by visiting Girl Scout cookie booths, which will be located in front of most grocery stores. Tax-deductible receipts will be provided.