The Girl Scout Cookie Program kicked off this year on Saturday, Jan. 5.

There isn't much to look forward to in the month of January, but something that does make it sweeter is that Saturday, Jan. 5 marked the beginning of the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

This year, local Girl Scouts will offer six cookie varieties - Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Trefoils, Do-si-dos and Savannah Smiles. However, during the 2013 Girl Scout Cookie Program, Girl Scouts in the Chesapeake Bay area will be piloting a new program to sell the new Girl Scout Snack Bars along with the cookies.

Little Brownie Bakers, the same people who make our Girl Scout Cookies, have created two varieties of Girl Scout Snack Bars - Tagalongs and Double Dutch. All Girl Scout Cookies and Snack Bars are $4.00 per box.

To get excited about the 2013 Cookie Program, each Service Unit holds a kickoff event. Hockessin and Pike Creek troops met at St. Mary of the Assumption Church Hall in Hockessin on Friday, Jan. 4 to learn about the incentives for the program that they can earn, while also playing a few games, making crafts, and eating cookies.

Troop leader Tuesday Shannon, who leads Girl Scout troop 725, said that parental involvement is what makes these local Girl Scout troops so successful. "There is at least one parent here from every troop," she said.

Shannon coordinated the kickoff event, which included a craft activity dedicated to some of the students who were killed in Newtown, Ct tragedy. Paper in the shape of a trefoil cookie were left blank as the girl scouts wrote heart-felt messages and decorated each cookie with care. "Eight of the students were Girl Scout daisies and two were boy scouts, so we are writing notes to the Newtown families," Shannon said.

Cookie booth sales will begin on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at local businesses throughout the Delmarva Peninsula. Girls are also taking donations of Girl Scout cookies for Operation Taste of Home and local community groups. The Operation Taste of Home cookies will be donated to our Armed Forces and local agencies, such as food banks and pantries, blood banks, cancer centers and youth programs. Individuals interested in purchasing cookies or donating to Operation Taste of Home can call the Cookie Hotline at 1-800-YUM-YUM2.

All of the proceeds from a local council's cookie activities remain in the area where the cookies are sold. This revenue is used to benefit girls, some of it directly by remaining in the Girl Scout troop treasuries, and some of it indirectly by funding council-led programs for Girl Scouts. Each year, more than 9,000 Girl Scouts from the Delmarva Peninsula participate in the Cookie Program, selling more than one million boxes of cookies to the community.

To learn more about Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, visit or call 1-800-341-4007 or 1-800-374-9811.