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Tina Pickett, back row left, leads Girl Scout Troop 1341. Her troop was this year's top Girl Scout Cookie sellers in eastern Missouri. This is Pickett's fifth year as a Girl Scout volunteer.

Troop 1341 from Potosi, Missouri is the top cookie seller for Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, selling more than 11,000 packages worth more than $45,000. The troop is led by Tina Pickett, who is starting her fifth year as a Girl Scout volunteer.

“This troop was dropped into my lap,” said Pickett. “One day, while I was out shopping, the previous leader brought all of the supplies and cookies to my house. She gave it to my oldest daughter, said I would know what to do with them and she left. When I got home, the supplies and cookies were all over my floor but I didn't have a clue as to who to contact or what to do.”

She said after looking at it for a couple of days, she called the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri and explained she really didn't know how to handle this problem. The Council put her in touch with Community Development Manager Marcia Shelley and she asked Pickett if she wanted to be the leader.

“I told her I didn't think so. By the time she was finished talking to me, she convinced me to give it a try. There were only eight girls in the troop at that time,” remembers Pickett. Now, she leads approximately 50 girls, ranging from Daisies to Ambassadors.

Pickett said what appealed to her was having Marcia help her and giving Pickett the confidence that she could do it. “Realizing I could make a difference in those little girls lives inspired me to help. Now, I love it,” Pickett said.

What keeps her volunteering are, of course, the girls.

“They all have their own personalities. They like learning all kinds of new things. They love collecting personal care items during April Showers and they are wonderful at selling Girl Scout Cookies.”

Pickett said she gives the girls ideas of where the troop can go on trips and what they can achieve if they sell a lot of cookies. Pickett said she lets the girls tell her what they want to do and as a troop, they set goals and achieve them.

“Whether it's teaching them manners or teaching them how to sew or teaching them how to give back to the community, I want to make a difference in these girls. They can carry that with them for the rest of their lives.”

She said such a large troop is very challenging but she has wonderful, volunteering parents who help her. Without them, she wouldn't be able to do what she does. She tries to show her appreciation to the parents and she always asks them for ideas so they feel like they are part of this troop just like she is.

Pickett says she has never won any type of award; she has been too busy to realize there were any awards for her to work on.

“I work with Girl Scouts from my heart,” Pickett said. “Some of the girls have made pictures and wrote thank you or I love you and it makes me tear up. So I guess I've not thought about what I can get, but more of how I can help and what difference I can make to make life a little better for others.”

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