The Girl Scouts have started their financial literacy program, better known by consumers as the annual cookie sale.

"(The Girl Scouts are) not only learning what they need to do to sell cookies successfully, but they're taught about goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics," said Jane Ransom, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.

The Scouts - including more than 3,500 girls in York County - have been putting their business and financial skills to use since the beginning of the new year taking orders from the public.

The direct sales begin Feb. 15, when Girl Scouts will have booths set up to sell cookies outside department stores and malls, Ransom said.

The varieties: For their cookie purchases, the public can choose from Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, Samoas, Tagalongs, Trefoils, Dulce de Leche, Thank You Berry Munch and Savannah Smiles, a sugar powdered lemon treat called named for the Georgia hometown of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low.

Savannah Smiles were first sold last year to commemorate the Girl Scouts' 100th anniversary. They're being sold again this year because of their popularity, Ransom said.

The goal is to sell 2.3 million boxes of cookies, which cost $3.50 each.

The Girl Scouts - consisting of girls ages 5 to 17 - exceeded the 2 million box mark last year, with 243,060 boxes sold in York County, according to Ransom.

Where to buy: Cookie sale locators are available on the organization's website at or through the organization's app for mobile phones, including Android phones and iPhones. For the phones, the locator can be downloaded in the "Android Marketplace" or by dialing **472665437.

Twenty-five percent of the cookie sale money will be used to pay the baker. The remaining 75 percent is used for the Girl Scout troops, camps and programs, Ransom said.

"They'll save their cookie money for trips, to go camping, or to do service projects in their communities, for anything involving Girl Scouts (activities)," she said.

The scouts and their parents bring a lot of excitement, energy and fun to the annual sale, but they're also serious about learning the lessons of the financial literacy program, Ransom said.

"The girls really love selling cookies," she said. "It's just exciting to tell something just the way it is for a kid to sell lemonade stand. They set goals and incentives for earning resources to do things in Girl Scouts."

Based in Harrisburg, the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania organization covers 27,000 girl members in more than 2,420 troops in 30 counties. Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at