submitted by Paula Riggins

So it was one of our troop’s first registration nights and along with some game time for the girls we asked everyone to bring a snack to share. I asked everyone to be sensitive to peanut allergies and shoot for something healthy. I could just imagine the panic and see the eyes rolling from the request.

11On meeting night, as I was frantically trying to pull everything together for registrations, I realized I didn’t have a snack for my daughter to share. I resigned myself to leaving a few minutes early so I could swing by the grocery to grabbing something at on the way. I was seriously wishing I was that mom with time enough to make those incredible snacks I spent hours this summer finding on Pinterest. Instead of naming my board “Awesome Snack for Scouts” I need to rename it “Snacks your troop will never Enjoy!” As I scanned the pantry in a last ditch effort to avoid the inevitable my eyes landed on an item I had bought on a whim and hadn’t used in a long time. Hmmmm still need a quick trip to the grocery but this might work.
When I arrived I saw a table filled with store bought snacks. Prepackaged brownies, cookies, chocolate bars and salty chips. I couldn’t help but wonder what would be on the menu if we all weren’t busy working Mom’s just doing what we can in the short time we have available. Shuffling packages around to make room for my huge bowl of fresh apples I grabbed at the store, I could hear several mothers snickering behind me. As I turned, I just smiled at the smirking ladies who wished me “luck” with the bowl of fruit. I simply said “Well you never know until you try.”

22At the end of our meeting, the girls were set loose on the snack table. Just as they started to dig in my daughter proudly announced “Does Anyone want to try one of my mom’s Slinky Apples?” All eyes turned and to the surprise of many a parent watching, a line began to form. I spent the next 20 minutes running apples through my old fashion apple peeler/slicer/coring machine turning out slinky apples to every girl in the troop. I handed them out with great pomp and circumstance as the apples wiggled and giggled their way in to the hands of the anxious girls. The girls squealed and giggled as they played with and yes even ate their hilariously funny, healthy, fresh and delicious slinky apples.

Now, I would just be lying if I told you that the other goodies were not touched, but I can say that the only healthy option was very well received. As several parents pitched in to clear away the left over brownies, cookies, crackers and chips I just couldn’t help but laugh and ask if someone could pass over my big empty bowl. We all chuckled in amazement of the girls choosing fruit over all that other junk just because I gave them a silly name and cut them a little differently. Behold the power of a good marketing strategy!

Since that first meeting, slinky apples have been on the menu for every single troop camping trip, sleepover, or fun day on our calendar. Every time that line forms I just have to giggle to myself. Just look at the huge smiles on these scouts just before they tear into their Slinky Apples. They are almost as big as the ones on their parent’s faces as they see their girls enjoying a healthy snack for once.

Bon Appétit!

3Paula Riggins was a girl scout herself, way back when every brownie still wore beanies! She is a Programmer Analyst for a Fortune 500 company but if you ask she will tell you working with kids is her passion. Paula is a Christian wife and mom of two kids. Paula has taught Sunday school, attended clown college, directed Vacation Bible School, as well as several Bring a Child to Work Day programs for her employer. She started as a Cub Scout leader when her son was in 1st grade and is very proud to say that he is currently a Life Scout working towards the highest rank of Eagle. When her daughter was born she couldn’t wait to get involved with Girl Scouting again! She has been a Girl Scout leader for the last 3 years and is looking forward to many more to come.

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