Hannibal area Girl Scouts enjoyed dancing on Friday, Jan. 5, as they prepared to begin their annual cookie sales the next day.

Hannibal area Girl Scouts enjoyed dancing on Friday, Jan. 5, as they prepared to begin their annual cookie sales the next day.

A total of 88 Girl Scouts in Eastern Missouri, District 17, Neighborhood 3, attended their Winter Wonderland Dance at Calvary Baptist Church in Hannibal, where they danced together and with family members. Some danced with their dads, including Lucas Judlowe and his daughter, Hazel, a kindergarten student at Veterans Elementary School.

Dance organizer and troop leader Tracy Friday announced that cookie sales would begin on Saturday, Jan. 6, in the Hannibal and Palmyra area.

Cookies may be ordered from any Girl Scout, with many girls on Facebook, according to Troop Leader Kathy Riley, whose troop meets at Stowell Elementary School.

They may also be ordered through the Things Happening in Hannibal Facebook group, Riley said.

Her troop has a 2018 goal of 4,000 boxes of cookies, Riley said, after the girls sold 3,200 in 2017.

In 2017 her daughter, Ella Riley, now a sixth grader, was the top seller in her troop, selling 626 boxes of cookies. Ella said her favorite flavor is Tagalongs.

Bonnie Arnold, membership coordinator for the Girls Scouts of Eastern Missouri, who attended the dance, said ”Girl Scout cookie season is so well-known, I hope the community is as excited as the girls are.”

Arnold explained that if someone does not know a Girl Scout, cookies may be ordered on girlscoutsem.org. This website also has details about some new programs. Among them is Digital Cookie. This is an online tool to prepare the girls to be future leaders. By using Digital Cookie, girls market their online cookie business two ways, by inviting customers to visit a personalized cookie website, or by taking in-person orders using a mobile app.

This year, the Girl Scout S'mores cookie has been returned. This is the most popular flavor in the 101 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies. It sells for $5 a box. One other flavor, Toffee Tastic, is $5.

The $4 cookies include Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Trefoils, De-si-dos and Savannah Smiles,

This year's cookie sales will continue until March 11.

Kathy Riley explained the money raised from cookie sales funds a wide variety of activities throughout the year. In addition to young girls she has senior and cadet girls, and some of the funds raised pay for the older girls going to baby-sitter training. The older girls also plan and do service projects.

Her Scout troop has family nights, including a barbecue, also funded by cookie sales. Riley enjoys leading all the Scouts in her troop because, “I really liked being a Girl Scout, and it keeps the girls busy.”

Allora Hawkins, a seventh grader and member of Riley's troop, said her favorite thing about Scouting is “spending time with the troop.” She encouraged other girls to join because, “you have a lot of fun and make a lot of friends.”

For more pictures of the dance, see photo gallery.

Reach reporter Bev Darr at bev.darr@courierpost.com.