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New Girl Scout cookie on the block: Savannah Smiles

Girl Scouts are still building campfires and selling cookies. But now they're also earning badges in 21st-century skills like digital moviemaking and website design. For the first time in decades, the Girl Scouts of the USA has completely overhauled the system of badges that girls can earn, just in time for the organization's centennial next year.

Goodbye, "Looking Your Best." Hello, "Netiquette," "Geocacher" and "Locavore."

The makeover is designed to make badges more relevant to today's girls _ "and set them up for success down the line," said Sara Danzinger, public relations manager for Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys, which represents 49 counties, mostly in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

"What's super interesting is all the Web-based ones," Danziger said. "Anything that has to do with social networking, that speaks to what is popular with girls."

Girl Scout Taylor McCanna, 17, of St. Louis Park, Minn., likes the new offerings. "There's more maturity to the badges," she said.

Even longtime badges, such as "Photography," which McCanna earned, are now "more holistic" in their requirements, she said. "There's more of the science behind it now."

And although she's is in her last year with the program and her badge-earning days are nearly over, she's "greatly jealous" of younger scouts who can take advantage of the new lineup, she said.

Girl Scouts can still earn longtime "legacy badges" that remain relevant, including "Cook," "First Aid" and "Naturalist," Danzinger said. "And some of the badges are still traditional _ like 'Dinner Party' _ everyone wants to have their friends over."

But now there's also a series of financial literacy badges, including "Money Manager," "Budgeting," "Financing My Future" and "Good Credit." And even the cookie-related badges have a biz-school vibe: "Meet My Customers," "Business Plan" and "Customer Loyalty."

So when a girl in a green sash or vest shows up at your door with a cookie form, remember: You're not just buying Thin Mints. You're training tomorrow's businesswoman.
 

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