Tidily dressed in her badge-covered vest, with her long brown hair neatly held back with a white flower, she confidently presents her laminated cookie menu to potential customers.
“Because I have to be unique with my goal, before the cookie sale, I called a bunch of places like hotels, restaurants, spas … so we got a bunch of things for drawings. Like if you buy six boxes, you get a chance to win one of many, many prizes. If you buy 12 boxes, you can get a chance to win my grand prize,” she says, pitching a “weekend package” that includes concert tickets, a night's stay at a hotel and gift certificates.
She and her mom spend their weekends making door-to-door sales, swapping the red wagon for a sled if the sidewalks get snowy. When her troop sets up a booth, Katie dances and sings made-up ditties, and she happily demonstrates a sweet variation on “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Although she normally takes piano, voice and flute lessons, an array of dance classes and performs with the Church of the Servant youth choir and handbell choir, she sets aside many of her activities during cookie season.
Her first year as a Girl Scout, Katie moved 2,004 boxes, but in her second season she set her sights on the top-seller's prize: $1,529 toward an Oklahoma College Savings Plan. She sold 7,482 boxes, secured the college money and broke the state sales record.
Last year, she set out to smash her own mark, selling 12,428 boxes and earning an iPad and another $1,700 toward college.
When she took aim at the national record, Katie called up its holder, Elizabeth Brinton, who in the 1980s became known as the “Cookie Queen” by selling 100,000 boxes over her Girl Scout career, including the record-setting more than 18,000 in a single year.
“It was interesting to hear about what she does now. She's a stay-at-home mom, but she used to work at the National Wildlife Federation,” Katie said.
As a top-shelf cookie entrepreneur, Katie once sold cookies to Oklahoma astronaut Thomas Stafford, has fielded more future job offers than she can count and has been honored at the state Capitol.
“I think my favorite part is actually getting to meet all the new people. Like we donate boxes of Girl Scout cookies to the military serving overseas, and I've had several experiences with wives being really happy that their husbands are getting like a taste of home overseas,” she said.