POST FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Mikayla Butler is so good at selling Girl Scout Cookies, even the sweet-smelling candles in her house remind visitors that it's time to put in their orders.
The Post Falls High School junior and Troop 3008 Girl Scout reigned as the record-breaking, top Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho cookie saleswoman for the 2018 season, with a grand total of 5,600 boxes sold — more than 2,000 more boxes than the runner-up — and she is returning with even more gusto this year, having already sold 888 presale boxes.
"I'm really proud of what I've accomplished. But I think that every girl in Girl Scouts, no matter how many boxes of cookies she's sold, has made a difference," Mikayla told the Coeur d'Alene Press on Thursday. "I've sold a lot of boxes of cookies, but every girl has sold Girl Scout Cookies too in our program."
Mikayla, who celebrates her 17th birthday on Monday, said the secret to her success is connecting with local businesses long before the sale goes live. The live sale begins March 22 and goes through April 14.
"Go to businesses and ask them, make a business card," she advised. "And then learn to have fun selling Girl Scout Cookies, because it can be a lot sometimes."
Mikayla's biggest motivation is school. For every box she sells, 50 cents goes toward a scholarship fund, a program that is available for Girl Scouts in seventh through 12th grade, she explained. So far, she has collected $9,811.50 to go toward her college education. She wants to be a pediatrician and someday own her own practice.
"I went to a daycare and that's when I fell in love with kids," she said. "My mom is in the medical field, and I've always loved medicine, so I always knew I wanted to do something with kids and I always knew I wanted to do something with medicine."
Her mom, Jennifer Butler, said she feels blessed to have such a hardworking daughter.
"She is not afraid to stand out in stores for eight hours a day," Jennifer said. "She sells every day except Easter.
"She doesn't have an extravagant booth... She just asks every person and when they say 'no' she's very polite about it. We've had people come from the parking lot back saying that she was so polite when they said 'no' that they decided to buy cookies anyway."
Mikayla and her troop are active with the Post Falls Backpack Program and work with the Post Falls Food Bank to ensure kids in need have food when they're not getting fed at school over the weekend. Mikayla has donated more than 250 boxes to the program.
Renee Smock, director of product program for the girl scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, said Mikayla is a "Girl Scout extraordinaire, our top entrepreneur!"
"She walks the talk on leading from the front and in doing so, she shows goal-setting, decision-making, money management, business skills and ethics," Smock said. "By setting such a strong pace and example, our entire council moves forward in bold ways and builds girls of courage, confidence and character."
Mikayla, who is also captain of the varsity cross-country team at her school, always exceeds her minimum goal of 4,000 boxes.
"She has been the top cookie seller the last three out of four years," Jennifer said.
This year, Mikayla is ramping up efforts for the Girl Scouts' Troop to Troop program and inviting local companies to participate in Mikayla's "Battle of the Businesses" cookie-giving challenge to send boxes of cookies to troops overseas. An announcement of the winner will be sent to The Press in April.
Mikayla will be selling at various local stores including the Post Falls Walmart.
"I like making a difference," she said. "Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to make a difference in the world, and I think that Girl Scouts does that."
Information from: Coeur d'Alene Press, http://www.cdapress.com