Today’s Cookie Sellers, Tomorrow’s Powerful Female Entrepreneurs

JR Cookie CEO

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the world. In 2018, Girl Scouts sold 1,140,336 boxes of cookies. As the 2019 Cookie Program year comes to an end, we reflect on the skills girls learn like to handle money and be self-reliant. Girls are also learning how to bring their own values to the business world and how to use their time,talent and resources (including money!) to make the world a better place. Girl Scout financial literacy and business curriculum off through the Cookie Program includes badges like Product Designer, Marketing, Money Manager and Philanthropist. When girls develop financial savvy, business skills and innovative thinking, they can become entrepreneurs who change the world.

Girls develop specific business skills through the “learning lab” of the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Girls learn (and sample) their delicious product. They learn how to greet a customer, take an order, set and track goals and manage money.

Cookie Girls 2019
Troop 7428 in Corbin, KY wraps up another successful Cookie Season!

By participating in this “learning and earning” program, girls will learn essential entrepreneurship skills:

  • Goal-setting
  • Decision-making.
  • Money management.
  • People skills.
  • Business ethics.

When a girl learns these skills, she will be poised for career success. In a Girl Scout, future employers will find:

  • A girl who can set goals and meet deadlines.
  • A girl who works well with others.
  • A girl who understand customers.
  • A girl who can influence others.
  • A girl who is honest, trustworthy and reliable.

Women are becoming a dominant force in business with two out of five privately held firms being female-owned. By finding out what it takes to run a business, girls can use these same skills in any profession they choose.

Learn more about the benefits of the Girl Scout Cookie Program at girlscouts.org.

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LGE-KU Partners with Girl Scouts to Increase Girls’ Interest in STEM Careers

A NEW Outdoor STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Adventure Camp will be available for Girl Scouts this summer! Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road  has LGE_KU-Bug (1)received a $2,500 grant from our partners at the LGE-KU Foundation for an Outdoor STEM Adventure Camp that will be available at Girl Scout summer camp in July of 2019. Girls will explore nature, learn outdoor skills and learn how to protect the environment while also participating in hands-on environmental STEM activities and meeting with women who work in STEM fields.

All who participate will have the chance to earn badges that include; Space Science Explorer, Space Science Adventurer, and more!

Karen Bowie, a chemical engineer at LGE-KU, serves on the Board of Directors of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road. Karen is working to secure funding and volunteers for Girl Scout STEM programs and continue to enhance the programs currently offered.

The Outdoor STEM Adventure will create greater access and participation of K-12 girls in out-of-school learning opportunities by adapting learning and delivering programming in a real-world context with the goal of developing the critical thinking and problem solving skills that every girl needs in the 21st century. Girl Scout programming like the Outdoor STEM adventure prepares girls for today’s job market and those of the future.

Environmental and STEM education is a natural connection and Girl Scout camp provides the perfect setting for exploration and inquiry-based learning. The Girl Scout curriculum includes grade-specific program series’ and skill-building badges like Eco Camper and Animal Habits. The Girl Scout curriculum also aligns with national and state education standards to complement what girls are learning in school. By getting girls outside to explore the natural world around them, the program improves girls’ E-STEM skills and confidence and increases girls’ concern for and conservation of the environment.

Bubble Girls

LGE-KU also sponsors Kentucky’s Wilderness Road’s annual STEM event, GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science), for more than 300 girls ranging from girls in the 4th grade through 12th grade. GEMS is hosted by the Craft Academy at Morehead State University.

 

Learn more about the Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road Outdoor STEM Adventure Camp on our website at www.gskentucky.org.

Why Selling Girl Scout Cookies Made Me the Businesswoman I am Today

Anne Irvine, CEO and co-founder of Irvine Ondrey Engineering (IOE), shared how being a Girl Scout prepared her for her career in designing roller coasters and theme park attractions with us at the Girl Scout Gold Award Ceremony at the Kentucky Historical Society on March 2 in Frankfort.

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Irvine describes her work with her team by saying, “whatever kind of new amusement attraction you’ve imagined, we’ll work with you to make it work and make it safe. We love a challenge, so let us worry about how your project will operate while you let your ideas take flight!”

Irvine gets to work on some of the most exciting engineering projects in the world. The IOE team works worldwide to design, program, and implement the operating and safety systems that bring amusement rides and roller coasters to life. IOE is the first and only woman-owned control systems company in the amusement industry.

anne

Anne was a Girl Scout from Brownies through Seniors and looks back at skills learned selling cookies as a major inspiration not only towards a future career in business but also for creating and owning her first business at the age of ten. During her freshman year in high school, she realized her true passion and calling in life was the amusement industry and knew she wanted to make the magic and excitement of the amusement industry her life. After almost twenty years of following her dreams, she has built the fastest growing controls firm in the industry she loves so much. She’s excited to reach out to girls to show them that dreams do come true when you follow your heart!

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Sylvia Acevedo, CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA explains, “There’s a reason why so many Girl Scout alums are running the world’s largest businesses and are successful entrepreneurs. Millions of professional women got their start with the Girl Scout Cookie Program, learning everything from profit planning to budget management through the hands-on experience of running their very own cookie businesses. Over half of business leaders who are Girl Scout alums say the program was key to the development of the skills they use today.

At Girl Scouts, we believe that financial literacy is a critical building block for success in life, no matter whether a girl wants to successfully run a business, a corporation, a nonprofit, or a household.”

Learn more about Anne and Irvine Ondrey Engineering at irvineondrey.com

Girl Scouts stress ‘girl power’ in new recruitment efforts

800As American women seek a larger role in politics, fairer wages and an end to sexual harassment, the Girl Scouts see an opportune time to show some swagger in promoting their core mission: girl empowerment.

They recruited Queen Latifah to narrate a video featuring famous former Girl Scouts — Venus Williams, Katie Couric and many more. And they indulged in a little bragging when Girl Scout alumna Meghan Markle married into Britain’s royal family.

“Life is always better with a Girl Scout by your side, and Prince Harry truly hit the jackpot,” enthused a post on Girl Scout Blog.

But the marketing campaign is about more than boasting. It’s also an effort to confront several high-stakes challenges, including reversing a long slide in membership, making the case for all-girl scouting after the rival Boy Scouts included girls and updating the organization’s curriculum for a new generation that expects more than cookies and camping.

“What’s happening in society as a whole makes it all the more important for girls to have every possible opportunity to learn that their voice and opinion matter, and to have the courage and confidence to become who they want to be,” said Megan Ferland, CEO of the Seattle-based Girl Scouts of Western Washington.

As American women seek a larger role in politics, fairer wages and an end to sexual harassment, the Girl Scouts see an opportune time to show some swagger in promoting their core mission: girl empowerment to counter declining membership. (July 26)

One major challenge, she said, is to puncture some of the myths and stereotypes that affect public perceptions.

“People hear ‘Girl Scouts’ and think, ‘Oh, those cute little girls that sell the cookies and make macaroni necklaces’ and that’s it,” Ferland said. “It is so much more than that.”

She cited activities such as robotics and rock climbing, a strong emphasis on community service and the iconic cookie sales, which she depicted in a recent newspaper essay as “the largest girl-run business in the world.”

The Boy Scouts decided last year to admit girls into all programs. But the Girl Scouts’ parent organization, Girl Scouts of the USA, will not follow suit by admitting boys.

“I believe with full conviction that Girl Scouts is the best leadership organization in the world for girls, and that is because we are girl-led and girl-centric,” said Violet Apple, CEO of Girl Scouts of Central Maryland.

The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, as well as other youth organizations and sports leagues, have experienced membership declines in recent years, for reasons ranging from busy family schedules to the lure of online games and social media. The Girl Scouts say they now have about 1.76 million girls and 780,000 adult members — down from about 2.9 million girls and 900,000 adult volunteers in 2003.

Some recruitment efforts reflect the Girl Scouts’ pride in the diversity of their membership. For example, the organization over the past two years has created more than 240 new troops in low-income Los Angeles neighborhoods to serve several thousand girls from Hispanic, African-American, Korean and other communities.

Denise Nowack, who oversees the recruitment programs, said the Girl Scouts council in LA decided to cover basic first-year costs for the new troops, including membership fees and uniforms, to ease the financial burden.

Many other councils struggle to find enough adults to serve as volunteer troop leaders, leaving hundreds of girls on waiting lists.

“It’s really sad,” said Asha Menon, a troop leader for seven years in the Atlanta suburb of McDonough. “All these parents show up with kids who want to be in it — but they want another adult to take the lead.”

In Chicago, TV producer Craig Harris has tried — with minimal success — to persuade other men to join him as Girl Scout leaders. Harris started as a volunteer 14 years ago when his eldest daughter — now a confident college student — joined the Girl Scouts as a shy 5-year-old.

Harris’ 11-year-old daughter is active in the Girl Scouts, pursuing her interest in science.

“I lead a full career, but I’ve found ample time to be a volunteer,” Harris said. “My oldest daughter went all the way through, and I was there at every stage. It was invaluable time building those memories with her.”

Among the many mothers juggling work and Girl Scout duties is Audra Fordin, owner of an auto-repair business in New York City’s Flushing neighborhood. She is founder of an education initiative called Women Auto Know and leader of her teenage daughter’s troop.

Fordin is confident the Girl Scouts can maintain their stature as an all-girl institution even as the Boy Scouts go coed.

“Some girls may not feel as capable of doing the same things boys can do,” she said. “But when we come together in a group, we can accomplish whatever we want to do.”

Reeny Boutros, 18, of Wichita, Kansas, started Girl Scouts at age 5. She said the experience helped her develop the skills and confidence that recently earned her admission to Stanford University, with plans to major in computer science.

Boutros has received Girl Scouting’s highest honors — first earning the elite Gold Award, then being selected as one of 10 National Young Women of Distinction. She’s a technology whiz now, but recalled struggling with studies back in middle school.

“The badge work (with Girl Scouts) was one of the few academic recognitions I got,” she said. “I got exposed to archaeology, photography. It was a great way to boost my self-esteem.”
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Boutros’ experience reflects the Girl Scouts’ push to engage girls in science, technology, engineering and math. There are a host of new STEM-related badges, and there’s a newly opened year-round camp in Dallas — the STEM Center of Excellence— that will offer K-12 STEM programs on a 92-acre campus.

But the best part of being a Girl Scout? “It’s always been camping,” she said. “You put your phones away and bond with nature — and just giggle uncontrollably with your friends.”

By DAVID CRARY – ASSOCIATED PRESS, National Writer

 

The Glory of a Skinned Knee

girl tends to skinned knee

“Be careful!” Stop and think about that phrase—and how often you say it to your daughter. The intention behind those two words is, of course, full of love for her and a desire to keep her out of harm’s way, but the effect could be that your girl errs too much on the side of caution, becomes overly inhibited, and misses out on some of the greatest adventures and opportunities life has to offer.

One of those great opportunities? A skinned knee.

It might sound crazy, but think back to the times when you were younger and skinned a knee (or an elbow, or maybe even landed yourself in a short-term cast). There’s a reason why you might remember those moments so vividly—in these times of trial, when we’re pushed to endure a little more than usual, we develop strength.

Not convinced? Check out these four reasons to think of a skinned knee as a badge of honor.

1.      It’s a sign that in the face of a challenge, she said, “Maybe I can!”
This kind of optimistic thinking is exactly the quality that will lead her to be a go-getter in life and to have the possibility-thinking skills employers are looking for. Building her courage and confidence will give her more fun and fulfilling experiences now and will benefit her big time down the road.

2.      A healing scrape teaches resilience
Our bodies are pretty incredible at bouncing back after minor injuries. Sure, there’s a process—it might hurt, there might be a scab for a while—but in the end, her scraped knee heals. This is a great parallel to the process we need to go through to recover from other disappointments and setbacks in life. Seeing herself heal physically might help her see her own strength and know that she’s capable of overcoming challenges.

3.      Her friends will see her differently
Falling down, scraping her knee, and getting back up again is a story of bravery—one that often comes with street (or, in her case, playground!) cred. Why? Because when the going gets tough, we want to know our friends can stick with us and weather the storm. Her scraped knee sends a subtle signal to your girl and her friends that she’s got what it takes to handle whatever the world throws at her.

4.      She’s choosing the “better” risks
Kids and teens gravitate like magnets toward intense, exhilarating experiences. It’s just how they’re chemically wired. Experts say that when we encourage girls to take healthy risks—say, hitting the local skate park or going whitewater rafting with friends—we’re fulfilling that need in them and making it less likely that they’ll turn toward the more unhealthy risks that could have serious, lifelong consequences.

So the next time you’re tempted to tell your girl to be careful, remember that those words could orient her toward avoiding risks in general—even those that could benefit her. Instead, consider telling her to be smart (there is, after all, a difference between trying out some new surfing moves and skydiving without a parachute!) and, most of all, to have fun. And if she does get a scraped knee or other fairly minor injury along the way? Know that she’ll be stronger and better off for it.

Three Guaranteed Ways to Have the Best Summer Camp Experience Ever

We asked Girl Scouts what made their camp experience epic. Turns out it boils down to three main things:

1. Having a friendly attitude when meeting fellow campers.

2. Loving the outdoors and everything that comes with it—like field trips, sports, and wildlife.

3. Supporting one another through team spirit as girls solve challenges together.

But don’t take our word for it—hear it from the girls themselves!

“I like camping because you can talk with your friends and do fun things and get to know everyone better.” —Nine-year-old Girl Scout, Texas

“I enjoy being outside and being active with my Girl Scout troop because it is simply fun to get together and play games with good, healthy competition.” —14-year-old Girl Scout, Washington 

“I got to have fun with my friends. And I have never done a ropes course, so it was awesome. Some of my friends were kinda scared, so I helped them and that made me feel good.” —Nine-year-old Girl Scout, Illinois 

But girls aren’t alone in their adoration of camp; parents love it too. Like Angela Borchert, who says,

“When I picked her up from camp, she was filthy, but she also had the biggest smile on her face—she was absolutely glowing. We stopped for lunch on the way home and she couldn’t stop talking about camp (and that’s saying a lot because she’s already a chatterbox). She was already planning the following year’s trip.”
Girl Scout summer camp offers a pro-girl environment for your girl to learn, socialize, stay active and have great adventures. And enrolling her is one of the strongest ways you can contribute to her healthy development.

The best part? She doesn’t need to already be a Girl Scout to attend! Want her to get in on the fun? Sign up for Girl Scout camp!

The North Face and Girl Scouts Collaborate to Develop 12 Outdoor Adventure Badges and Reach New Heights of Girl Leadership

Girl Scouts has been blazing the trail for girls’ leadership in the outdoors for more than a century, and our Outdoor badges (all 52 of them!) continue to be one of the most popular badge categories. So today is a big day for the Girl Scout Movement! Drumroll, please—we’re thrilled to announce a multiyear collaboration with The North Facethrough which girls will challenge themselves, learn about the natural world, and continue the Girl Scout tradition of having life-changing outdoor experiences.

To power the next generation of women who push boundaries and move mountains, The North Face has teamed up with us to support the development of 12 new Outdoor Adventure badges, with programming ranging from mountaineering and climbing to backpacking, hiking, and trail running. As part of Girl Scouts’ iconic outdoor experience, with The North Face’s support, Girl Scouts will introduce bold new programming that embodies both organizations’ shared mission to provide girls, regardless of socioeconomic status, with outdoor experiences that enhance their leadership skills and confidence and encourage them to seek challenges.

These 12 new badges, which will roll out over the next two years, will teach girls in virtually every U.S. zip code about the benefits of exploration as they take healthy risks, overcome fears, and revel in the beauty of the natural world. The North Face is also lending its expertise in design and tapping its network of subject matter experts to inform the badge activities.

At Girl Scouts, we believe there are never too many opportunities for girls to experience the great outdoors and all the wonder and adventure it offers. The research is clear: outdoor experiences are imperative to fostering leadership skills in girls.

And we’re the experts in this space—spending time in the outdoors is a cornerstone of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and has been since Girl Scouts’ inception. Our all-girl environment and proven programming show girls the benefits of spending time in the world beyond walls in ways that encourage them to take healthy risks and overcome their fears.

In a 2014 study from the Girl Scout Research Institute, 72 percent of girls said they improved a skill and a third of girls said they overcame a fear through outdoor experiences in Girl Scouts. Half of the girls stated that they could not have done a particular outdoor activity (such as archery, horseback riding, or canoeing/kayaking) were it not for Girl Scouts.

Thanks to this new programming, Girl Scouts will be prepared to inspire even more G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™spirit in girls as they create their own outdoor adventures and develop crucial leadership skills, preparing them for a lifetime of exploration and success.

19 Genius Ways to Recycle Girl Scout Cookie Boxes

As cookie season comes to a close, girls are packing up their booths, tallying their earnings, and planning their epic summer adventures. But some troops may be wondering, “what do we do with our leftover cookie boxes?!” Because Girl Scouts always use their resources wisely, we asked troops to share the most clever ways they gave extra boxes of cookies new life. Here are our faves!

1. Make moving easier:

2. Keep your troop organized:

3. Bling Your Booth with banners:

4. Bling Your Booth with props:
5. Bling Your Booth with costumes:

More Bling Your Booth ideas > 

6. Earn a Girl Scout Art badge:

7. Earn your Letterboxer badge:

8. Work on your Think Like An Engineer Journey:

9. Give back to our furry friends:

10. Inspire future Girl Scouts:

11. Improve a Girl Scout camp:

12. Donate to those in need:

13. Provide comfort:



14. Lead in a local parade – like a Girl Scout:

15. Be ready for the next eclipse:
16. Play games:

17. SWAPS:

18. Create memories:
19. Get outside:



Have an idea to share? Email us!

Six Fun Summer Activities to Get Her Outdoors

With summer just around the corner, we’re already daydreaming about the sun, great adventures, and being outdoors! From climbing mountains to exploring new hiking trails to swimming or riding whitewater rapids, the outdoors comes with endless possibilities for fun in the sun.

And what’s better than soaking up those rays while also earning badges in the great outdoors? Get out there, like a Girl Scout! If you’re a member, you should earn outdoor badges when engaging in one or all of these 6 outdoor activities.

1.  Go camping. We’re all about learning, having fun, and making friends—the perfect combination for camp. Playing games, singing songs, and making crafts are just a few of the things you’ll love about camp! Whether you go with your family or participate in Girl Scout camp, you’ll learn how to prepare for all your outdoor adventures. Daisies can even earn the Buddy Camper badge when they’re done.

2.  Take on an outdoor adventure! Consider climbing a hill or mountain so high you’ll be yearning to snap a selfie on top of it to capture the memory.  Grab a friend or team up with your Girl Scout troop to explore your neighborhood at night, or buddy up to set up a tent in a nearby park or your backyard.  If you’re a Brownie these are just some activities you’ll try out when you challenge yourself to earn the Outdoor Adventurer badge 

3. Try your hand at geocaching. Here’s your chance to play part global explorer, part detective when you search for treasure chests known as “geocaches” using GPS. By the end of your search, you’ll not only have had an exciting geocaching adventure but also have learned how to prepare for future quests. If you’re a Junior, you’ll be taking the steps to earn the Geocacher badge, too.

4.  Shoot Archery. Are you up for a challenge? Why not try archery? This exciting sport teaches you how to take aim outdoors and improve your strength, focus, and form. Be sure to prepare. Learn about archery equipment and safety before you shoot on an archery range. If you’re a Cadette, you can earn the  Archery badge while you’re at it.  Now that’s a win-win.

5. Outdoor Art? Why not!  Whether it be through photography, painting, jewelry making or music, experiment with new ways of expressing your love of nature. Let it move you to create art inspired by the outdoors. Seniors can earn the Art Expert badge once their masterpiece is complete.

6. Plan a trip to the beach, river, or lake.  Water surrounds us every day. In fact, it’s so commonplace that sometimes we forget how precious it is. We challenge you to think more deeply about water: what’s your relationship with it? How can you celebrate it? What are current water issues and possible solutions? When you’ve identified an issue you’d like to impact—take action like a Girl Scout! If you’re an Ambassador, the Water badge is yours afterward.

Prepare for great adventures, Girl Scout style! Get your outdoor gear at the Girl Scout shop. The badges don’t stop here. Check out more Girl Scout badges you can earn when you show the outdoors some love.

From “Cookie Bosses” to Business Trailblazers: The Power of the Girl Scout Cookie Program and Girl Scouts’ Financial Literacy Programming

Guest post by Sylvia Acevedo

Financial Literacy Month is a great opportunity for us to highlight that the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which powers amazing experiences for Girl Scouts year round, is at its core a powerful financial literacy program for girls. Every year during cookie season, millions of cookie customers, eager to indulge their craving for Thin Mints, Samoas/Caramel D’Lites, or S’mores, help girls across the country build their financial skills and become cookie entrepreneurs. When I was a seven-year-old Brownie growing up in Las Cruces, New Mexico, I decided to become one of those cookie entrepreneurs. And that experience changed my life.

Building my cookie business gave me my first taste of entrepreneurship. I learned how to set goals, create budgets, manage finances, cultivate customers, and make business decisions, and I developed confidence handling money and interacting with numbers. The program enabled me to come out of my shell and be creative, enterprising, and persistent.

I’ll never forget the great advice my troop leader gave me: don’t take “no” for an answer until you hear it three times. To a shy girl who didn’t yet appreciate the strengths and talents she possessed, this advice to not back down in the face of a little pushback was incredibly powerful!

And I carried these skills with me throughout my life. Whether I was working as a rocket scientist or as an executive in the tech industry, I always used numbers, demos, and strong analytics to persuade and make my case.

There’s a reason why so many Girl Scout alums are running the world’s largest businesses and are successful entrepreneurs. Millions of professional women got their start with the Girl Scout Cookie Program, learning everything from profit planning to budget management through the hands-on experience of running their very own cookie businesses. Over half of business leaders who are Girl Scout alums say the program was key to the development of the skills they use today.

At Girl Scouts, we believe that financial literacy is a critical building block for success in life, no matter whether a girl wants to successfully run a business, a corporation, a nonprofit, or a household. I’m so excited about our expanded and enhanced badge offerings, which include 22 Financial Literacy and Cookie Business badges for Brownies through Ambassadors, and 4 Leaves for Daisies. These badges are designed to simulate real-life situations, ensuring girls are poised to budget, save, and spend wisely.

Brownies earning their Money Manager badge, for example, learn the difference between wants and needs, and use “elf money” to practice shopping for groceries, clothes, and school supplies. In the last step, they use their elf money to plan an outing such as a trip to the movies, an outdoor adventure, or a Girl Scout trip. They then have the opportunity to create a real-life budget. Badge activities such as these offer “fun with purpose” and set girls up to be savvy decision makers when it comes to money matters.

According to the 2013 report Having It All: Girls and Financial Literacy, 90 percent of girls say it’s important to learn how to manage money, but only 12 percent feel “very confident” making financial decisions. That finding was proof positive to me that it’s more important than ever to bring girls engaging and effective financial literacy programming that will build their confidence and strengthen their understanding of the financial realm.

At Girl Scouts, we’ve been turning “cookie bosses” into business trailblazers for over a century—and we’re only getting started!

Financial Literacy Badges

  • 22 Badges for Brownie through Ambassador
  • 4 Leaves for Daisies

Financial Literacy I:

  • Brownie—Money Manager
  • Junior—Business Owner
  • Cadette—Budgeting
  • Senior—Financing My Future
  • Ambassador—On My Own

Financial Literacy II:

  • Brownie—Philanthropist
  • Junior—Savvy Shopper
  • Cadette—Comparison Shopping
  • Senior—Buying Power
  • Ambassador—Good Credit

Financial Literacy III:

  • Cadette—Financing My Dreams

Cookie Business I:

  • Brownie—Meet My Customers
  • Junior—Cookie CEO
  • Cadette—Business Plan
  • Senior—My Portfolio
  • Ambassador—Research & Development

Cookie Business II:

  • Brownie—Give Back
  • Junior—Customer Insights
  • Cadette—Marketing
  • Senior—Customer Loyalty
  • Ambassador—P&L

Cookie Business III:

  • Cadette—Think Big

Leaves:

  • Money Counts
  • Making Choices
  • Count It Up
  • Talk It Up