MACEDONIA, Ohio -- For some, it's the tastiest time of year.
But for Lynn Richardson, Girl Scout cookies are bittersweet.
“Eventually it`s going to be a downward spiral, and I`m afraid there might not be Girl Scouts for the next generation,” she said.
The former Girl Scout volunteer is a member of Trefoil Integrity, a group of Girl Scout enthusiasts asking people to boycott the Do-Si-Dos and Thin Mints to give administrators a wake-up call.
Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio closed four of its seven camps in the past couple years. Richardson said it was all because the organization wanted to save money, but Trefoil Integrity didn’t buy it.
The organization sued the GSNEO, and the case was dismissed in December. Now, it’s going through an appeals process.
Trefoil Integrity hopes to have some camps re-evaluated before being sold. One has already been purchased.
“Camps? They're hugely important, even the former CEO said camping and Girl Scouts are synonymous,” Richardson said. “We’re not saying keep all the camps. We’re saying there just has to be a good, accurate re-evaluation. That is essential.”
In lieu of buying cookies, Richardson and members of Trefoil Integrity are now encouraging people to donate to each individual troop, as it will continue to support these girls and their programs throughout the year.
Tina Collins has volunteered for the Girl Scouts over the past 15 years and doesn’t think the boycott will benefit anyone.
“It’s very sad. It hurts to hear that message when we’re trying to support the girls,” Collins said. “Simple donations like that, while they’re appreciated, don’t help the girls in the ways that they need helped.”
GSNEO communications manager Kim Graves said she is not worried about a boycott, as the Girl Scouts have had successful pre-sales.
She said the organization is also moving forward with plans for its three existing camp sites, which are being renovated to what focus groups have requested over the past several years. The upgrades will be primarily funded by sales of the other campsites.
Money from cookie sales will continue to support the organization and programs like camps, Graves said.
“They're going to turn around the use the money that they've earned to benefit the community where they live,” she said.
Richardson said that’s not enough.
She wants the council to respect the expectations of the community and the 40,000 girls it serves across Northeast Ohio.
“The point of Girl Scouts is about empowering girls and having girl leadership,” Richardson said. “It's not just saving a couple of camps. It's keeping Girl Scouts alive.”