This Girl Scout is 98-years-old, but she had never stopped selling cookies. Even today, the world’s oldest Girl Scout remains an active member of her troop, always proudly displaying her love for the organization!
The Woman Who Never Stopped Selling Girl Scout Cookies
Meet the oldest Girl Scout in the world, Ronnie Backenstoe. For over eight decades, she has sold Girl Scout cookies, every season – which probably means she’s also the Girl Scouts’ best saleswoman!
Backenstoe lives in Pennsylvania, in the Phoebe Berks Retirement Home. However, growing older and moving never stopped her from completing her Scout duties! Just a few weeks ago, the 98-year-old joined forces with a local troop and continued her annual cookie-selling tradition. Since the 1930s, cookie season has remained one of her favorite times of the year. However, the Girl Scouts is about a lot more than selling cookies…
“It Teaches You How To Live”
Believe it or not, the world’s oldest Girl Scout remains an active part of her original troop! Her troop leader, Barbara Allen Perelli, said Backenstoe has a ton of energy, and always makes the younger scouts laugh. The chipper Girl Scout joined her hometown troop in Lake George, New York, in the 1930s. “I became a Girl Scout in 1932! I said, ‘When can I be a Girl Scout?’ My mom said, ‘When you’re 10,’ so when I was 10, I was ready to go,” Backenstone remembered.
Backenstoe slowly climbed the Scout ladder, eventually becoming the director of Camp Mosey Wood in the Poconos. She didn’t stop there, though! The 98-year-old also became a Girl Scout field director in a couple of countries! Even though Backenstoe retired from her leadership role in 1976, after 45 years of scouting, she swore she would never stop empowering future generations of young women. “I think that it was just part of living, and that’s what really girl scouting is, it teaches you how to live.”
Girl Scouts of United States of America CEO Sylvia Acevedo agreed with Backenstoe. “The important business and financial literacy skills girls learn through the program are proven to build their leadership skills and position them for success in the future,” she said in a statement about Backsenstoe. “When you purchase cookies, you are helping girls power their Girl Scout experience, and you’re supporting female entrepreneurs.
The Purpose Of Girl Scouts
Backenstoe wants to make one thing incredibly clear: while many think that the Girl Scouts revolves around cookie-selling, they are dead wrong. In fact, being a Girl Scout provides one with many useable life skills.
“You know many people say, ‘Oh, there’s not many [cookies] in the box for that much money.’ Well, that’s not the purpose,” the 98-year-old told Good Morning America. “The purpose is to teach the girls a little salesmanship for one thing. They learn to balance their budgets. They learn to be courteous when they go to the doors and introduce themselves. It’s all that little detail. That’s the purpose of Girl Scouting.” Meanwhile, the Girl Scouts also have multiple badges in outdoor skills like survival and mountain climbing, as well as modern skills like coding and robotics! There’s practically nothing the Scouts don’t teach!
Oh, and in case you are wondering, Backenstoe’s favorite cookies are Tagalongs, the peanut butter ones!