2,800 Girl Scouts join cookie sale kickoff at Allstate Arena

Allstate Arena was a sea of green and brown uniforms 2,800 strong Saturday afternoon as the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana held their seventh annual cookie kickoff.

The event, meant to inspire girls and show them sales and business practices that make for solid fundraising, is followed by a Chicago Wolves hockey game the girls and their families can attend.

Nina Grotto, 16, of Troop 51324, was the No. 1 seller of cookies last year at 6,300 boxes - 4,500 of which were donated to troops overseas. It took three months of hard work and determination to sell that many boxes, she said. She spent the day Saturday autographing pictures for other Girl Scouts.

"It is a great program that is getting better and stronger over time," said Stefanie Evans, director of program development for the Wolves, who worked with other volunteers to teach girls how to sell cookies, money management, customer service and people skills.

Other activities included cookie sampling, pictures with Tony the Tiger and a cookie costume contest.

  Claire Costello, 9, of Glenview, May McAvoy, 8, of Des Plaines, Evelyn Neyman, 8, of Glenview and Amanda Feinberg, 9, of Arlington Heights, all of Troop 41508 of Des Plaines Science and Arts Academy, take free samples of Trefoils cookies as part of Girl Scout cookie kickoff at the Allstate Arena on Saturday. Mark Welsh/
  Lily Robbins and Sammie Reiss, both 7, of Troop 71505 of the Lemont/Woodridge area, dressed up to participate in the cookie contest as part of Girl Scout cookie kickoff at the Allstate Arena on Saturday. Mark Welsh/
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