A 98-year-old woman has been selling Girl Scout Cookies since 1932

YouTube/69News WFMZ-TV

We all love Girl Scout Cookie time, but Ronnie Backenstoe takes it to a new level. After 88 years in Girl Scouting, Backenstoe is still a member of a troop and selling cookies — at age 98.

Instead of going door-to-door, though, she’s setting up a table in her Pennsylvania retirement community. Her troop brings the famous boxes of treats and they get to work.

“Girl Scouting teaches you how to live,” Backenstoe told “Good Morning America.” “It guides you. They teach you what is right and what is wrong.”

Girl Scout cookies photo
Getty Images | John Moore

With current Girl Scout cookie prices hovering somewhere around $5 per box, Backenstoe’s younger scout-sisters get a big surprise when they learn that the price was just 15 cents in the 1930s.

“The little girls who I tell that to today, they giggle and laugh because [selling cookies for 15 cents] sounds so impossible, but it was the Depression,” she told “GMA.”

Back then, Ronnie said, there were only three kinds of Girl Scout Cookies. The annual cookie sale was a relatively recent innovation at that time, according to the Girl Scouts — many troops baked their own cookies to sell until the mid-1930s, when Girl Scout councils began contracting with commercial bakers to produce more cookies.

Now there’s a rainbow of varieties, including gluten-free options, produced nationally by Girl Scouts-licensed commercial bakers. Cookie fiends can locate a troop’s selling stand online, and some troops even have an online ordering system available.

It’s a different world from Backenstoe’s early days pounding the pavement and knocking on doors. She’s as enthusiastic as ever about the Girl Scouts’ signature fundraising event, though.

“You know many people say, ‘Oh, there’s not many in the box for that much money,'” Backenstoe told “GMA.” “Well, that’s not the purpose. 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.”

And even after all these years, she still likes the cookies.

“I could always eat some cookies,” she told WFMZ-TV.

Here’s the full WFMZ piece on Backenstoe, where she and her troop show off their cookie display:

I raise my Girl Scout Sign to you, Ronnie!

Desserts, Food, Good News, News

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About the Author
Kathleen St. John
Kathleen St. John is a freelance journalist. She lives in Denver with her husband, two kids and a fiercely protective Chihuahua.

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