When is a Thin Mint more than a Thin Mint? 

The answer, it seems, is 2018. The Girl Scouts' annual cookie sale is taking on greater importance for the organization, partly due to the nationwide discussion about women in leadership roles. At the same time, the Girl Scouts are facing an ongoing enrollment challenge -- as are many other youth-based organizations -- which makes the annual cookie sale essential for helping to fund troop activities and programs. 

The Girl Scouts of the USA points to the cookie sale as helping millions of girls learn the skills they need to succeed at work, such as setting goals and public speaking. While it's not a new message for the scouting organization, it's taking on resonance against the backdrop of lawsuits alleging gender discrimination at tech giants such as Google (GOOG) and the lack of women in leadership roles in almost every industry. 

"There is a new focus this year based on the world around us," said Stewart Goodbody, senior director of communications for Girl Scouts of the USA. "Everyone is talking about female leadership, which is terrific, because we've always been about girls' leadership. This gives us a chance to say something we've been saying for a long time."

The Girl Scouts said the cookie sale grosses about $800 million each year and teaches scouts the skills they'll use for the rest of their lives, such as financial literacy, setting goals and public speaking. The group said that 57 percent of Girl Scout alumnae in business fields say they developed professional skills through selling Girl Scout cookies, according to the group's research. 

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