After 59 straight days of towing wagonloads of tasty treats in the wind, snow and ice, singing and dancing through booth sales and honing her sales pitches, Katie Francis didn’t just break the national record for selling the most Girl Scout cookies.
She crumbled it.
The Hefner Middle School sixth-grader recently made news from coast to coast when she smashed the long-standing mark for most Girl Scout cookies sold in a year. In the 1980s, Elizabeth Brinton, who became known as the “Cookie Queen,” sold 18,000 boxes of the confections in a single cookie season.
“When I was out selling, there were a lot of people (who) said, ‘Did you know that the Girl Scout that beat the world record is in Oklahoma?’ And I said, ‘That’s me’ ... and they got really excited,” Katie said with a smile. “I was really, really surprised, but I really liked all the attention.”
By the time this year’s cookie sale ended on March 30, Katie had sold 21,477 boxes of popular Thin Mints, her favorite Samoas and other treats. Along with setting the record, the Oklahoma City girl took her first trip to New York City for television interviews, toured the national Girl Scout headquarters and got to sign autographs.
“Several people that I’ve met through the sale, they’ve wanted to take a picture with me, and sometimes I even sign their box. Sometimes people might ask for me to write what number box it is,” she said.
“During the sale, I meet so many people that are very, very kind. Everybody in Oklahoma is just so supportive, and I couldn’t do it without them. It’s a great experience for me. I learn so many special things that without it I wouldn’t be able to.”
Along with raising funds for Girl Scout councils and troops, the cookie program teaches youngsters five essential life skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.
“We’re very proud of Katie and all the girls that have sold cookies this year,” said Elizabeth Caldwell, communications specialist with Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma. “The cookie sale isn’t just about cookies. Girls learn many skills they will use for the rest of their lives.”
Katie isn’t the only Oklahoma Girl Scout who surpassed her lofty cookie-selling goals: Sisters Alyson and Olivia Walker, of Midwest City, are both top sellers who moved more than 2,000 boxes. Brownie Sophia Iverson, of Edmond, not only made her goal of getting to Camp Samoa, the top cookie seller camp, she helped two friends reach that mark, too. And Troop No. 633 in Northwest Oklahoma City dedicated their cookie sale funds to filling backpacks to donate to Positive Tomorrows, a nonprofit school for homeless children.
But Katie is clearly a “Cookie Superstar,” the title she told Brinton she prefers when the Cookie Queen called the new record holder to congratulate her.
“She was really, really excited,” Katie said, adding she sought out Brinton’s advice before starting her record-breaking sales season. “When I first beat the state record, I started thinking about it, ‘OK, what can I be?’ When I heard that Elizabeth was the Cookie Queen, I thought, ‘OK, she can keep her title, and I’ll be the ‘Cookie Superstar.’”
Her first year as a Girl Scout, Katie moved a respectable 2,004 boxes, but in her second season, she sold 7,482 and broke the state sales record. Last year, she set out to smash her own mark, selling 12,428 boxes, prompting her to set her sights on Brinton’s national record.
“My original goal was 18,100, and I did that one week before the sale ended ... and the total for that day was 18,107 by the end of the day,” Katie said.
“I started dancing around. I was just really, really excited. Then, we told our troop leader, and our whole entire troop just came to me — ’cause I was at a booth sale — and they threw a party with me. They gave me cake, balloons, flowers, and they were all just really happy for me.”