NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Video & interviews: Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis breaks career cookie sale record

Advertisement

Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis, who has set multiple cookie sales records, is seen on March 24. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis, who has set multiple cookie sales records, is seen on March 24. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman

Girl Scout Katie Francis, the top Girl Scout Cookie seller in the state this year, left, poses in 2012 with fellow Girl Scout Piper Bush, wearing a Thin Mints costume, during a ceremony for the Oklahoma's Favorite Girl Scout Cookie Contest at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City. Francis was awarded a $1,529 Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan account during the ceremony for selling 7,482 boxes of cookies, an all-time state record. She has gone on to break the national records for most cookies sold in a single season and most cookies sold in a Girl Scout career. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman Archives
Girl Scout Katie Francis, the top Girl Scout Cookie seller in the state this year, left, poses in 2012 with fellow Girl Scout Piper Bush, wearing a Thin Mints costume, during a ceremony for the Oklahoma's Favorite Girl Scout Cookie Contest at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City. Francis was awarded a $1,529 Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan account during the ceremony for selling 7,482 boxes of cookies, an all-time state record. She has gone on to break the national records for most cookies sold in a single season and most cookies sold in a Girl Scout career. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman Archives

A version of this story appears in the Sunday Life section of The Oklahoman.

Sweet success: Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis breaks career cookie sale record

Katie Francis marked the 100th anniversary of Girl Scout cookie sales in style, sharing her sales tips on the “Today” show, getting a surprise visit from a 1980s “Cookie Queen” and peddling her last box of the year to Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show.”

The most successful cookie seller in Girl Scout history also set another world record.

Three years after breaking the record for the most cookies sold in a single season, the Putnam City North freshman this year shattered the longstanding mark for the most cookies sold in a Girl Scout career.

“I wanted to try to reach 100,000 this year for my career because it’s the 100th anniversary,” Katie said. “This year, I reached my grand total from all seven years that I’ve sold of 101,106 boxes.”

The Girl Scout Senior moved 15,499 boxes in February and March to crumble the previous career record set in the 1980s by "Cookie Queen" Elizabeth Brinton.

“Without a goal you have nothing to strive for, so it’s really important,” Katie said. “Without her, I wouldn’t have really set my goal that high. I wouldn’t have had a goal to reach for, so I’m hoping that I can help inspire another girl to sell a whole bunch of cookies – and open up a whole bunch of opportunities.”

Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis, right, who this spring broke the record for the most cookies sold over the course of a Girl Scout career, recently got to meet with Elizabeth Brinton, the previous record holder, at a special assembly at Katie's high school, Putnam City North. Photo provided
Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis, right, who this spring broke the record for the most cookies sold over the course of a Girl Scout career, recently got to meet with Elizabeth Brinton, the previous record holder, at a special assembly at Katie's high school, Putnam City North. Photo provided

Meeting the Cookie Queen

After setting the state cookie sale record two years in a row, Katie set her sights in 2014 on the national record for the most Thin Mints, Samoas and Trefoils moved in a year. She made international news that year when she sold 21,477 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to smash the world record set three decades earlier by Brinton, who shifted 18,000 boxes in a single cookie season. 

In 2015, the Oklahoma girl sold 22,200 boxes to break her own single-season sales record – and set a new goal for the cookie sale centennial year. She made plans to break Brinton’s career sales record in 2017 during the 100th anniversary festivities.

“We’re very proud of Katie. She’s been working on this for seven years now in Girl Scouts,” said Koshia Silver, director of marketing and communications for Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma. “We have other girls in our council that see Katie as a milestone for themselves. I think it just sets that bar for them and a new standard.”

This year’s 100th anniversary of cookie sales has special significance in Oklahoma: The first known sale of cookies by Girl Scouts occurred in 1917, when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee baked cookies and sold them in their high school cafeteria as a service project.

“It wasn’t until we found Elizabeth Brinton that we knew that the 100,000 record existed, because she said, ‘I reached 18,000 that year to hit 100,000.’ And that’s when we went ‘bing’ – or she did. I went, ‘You want what?’” said Katie’s mom, DeLee Francis, with a laugh.

Katie, now 15, has talked to Brinton several times by phone over the years as she worked to break the Cookie Queen’s records. But the Oklahoma teenager insisted that Brinton keep her crown as “Cookie Queen,” opting instead to take on the title of “Cookie Superstar.”

The queen and the superstar finally crossed paths in person as Katie broke the career record: The Girl Scouts surprised Katie a few weeks ago by flying in Brinton for a special ceremony at Putnam City North. Not only did they spend the afternoon together, but Brinton also presented Katie with a special doll that had belonged to the Cookie Queen’s mother.

“It was really cool and she was so nice,” Katie said.

Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis appears during a March 21 interview with host Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Photo by Andrew Lipovsky,NBC
Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis appears during a March 21 interview with host Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Photo by Andrew Lipovsky,NBC

Making her late-night debut

Katie and her cookie sales mentor flew out of Oklahoma City the same day so that the new record holder could appear on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” where the Oklahoma City resident sold her last box of the season to the late-night host on national television.

After some deliberation, Fallon opted for Samoas, which are Katie’s favorite. He also invited her to sing one of her signature “cookie tunes,” applauding after she sweetly extolled the virtues of Thin Mints to the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

He also surprised Katie with a $15,000 check from Reddi-wip to the Girl Scouts of the USA.

“The Girl Scout council helped us reach out to him … and I had lots of fun. He’s really funny,” she said. “That is definitely one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. It was really an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

She also appeared recently on the “Today” show, where she chatted with the hosts about the keys to her sweet cookie sales success.

“Something that’s unique to my cookie sale is that whenever I set up in front of grocery stores, I like to sing and dance around. I’ve made up quite a few cookie songs to just pop songs, to Christmas tunes, to all sorts of things,” Katie said during a recent interview at The Oklahoman. “One of the main ones is just getting out there and having fun.”

Girl Scout Katie Francis pulls her wagon full of boxes of cookies in 2014 in the snow through a neighborhood in Warr Acres selling cookies. Katie broke the record for the most Girl Scout cookies sold in a single season in 2014 and now has broken the record for the most cookies sold in the course of a Girl Scout's career. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman Archives]
Girl Scout Katie Francis pulls her wagon full of boxes of cookies in 2014 in the snow through a neighborhood in Warr Acres selling cookies. Katie broke the record for the most Girl Scout cookies sold in a single season in 2014 and now has broken the record for the most cookies sold in the course of a Girl Scout's career. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman Archives]

Making lasting memories

Katie’s two trips to New York this spring -- “The first week we were there it was in Snowstorm Stella, that big snowstorm, so it kind of shut everything down. But she still had interviews that week with CNN, HLN and Yahoo! Finance,” her mother said – have added more indelible memories to the ones she made after breaking the single-season record. In 2014, she did TV interviews with “Fox & Friends” and “Inside Edition,” took an exclusive tour of the Girl Scout national headquarters in New York and starred in a Mashable.com spoof of her cookie-selling techniques.

But Katie said she also enjoys the more mundane aspects of selling cookies. She and her Girl Scout Troop No. 3469 have in the past used their cookie funds to take a cruise to Mexico, donate school supplies to an orphanage in Cozumel and Cozumel and support numerous local nonprofits.

“We have a whole bunch of fun things planned. My favorite is that we’re going to get to mentor a troop that has mostly low-income families, so we’re going to host a badge fair with them,” she said.

In addition to taking dance, vocal and piano lessons, playing in the PC North band and singing in her school choir, Katie is starting work toward her Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts. And when next year’s cookie season comes around, she plans to get out in the community and keep selling, even if she doesn’t have specific numbers in mind anymore.

“I have three more years to sell cookies, and I’m just going to try to raise my number as high as I can. With the money that I earn from the cookie sale, of course, it will fuel a whole bunch of fun adventures,” she said.

“Happiness creates happiness and energy creates more energy: So really I just go out with a smile and be very polite, of course. I’ve found that a lot of people like to make other people’s days and have their days be made.”

-BAM

Related Photos
Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis appears during a March 21 interview with host Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Photo by Andrew Lipovsky,NBC

Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis appears during a March 21 interview with host Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Photo by Andrew Lipovsky,NBC

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-940a52142fd0d31e0788146a15e8186b.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis appears during a March 21 interview with host Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Photo by Andrew Lipovsky,NBC" title="Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis appears during a March 21 interview with host Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Photo by Andrew Lipovsky,NBC"><figcaption>Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis appears during a March 21 interview with host Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Photo by Andrew Lipovsky,NBC</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-750d557df46e5d8abb702b85fb207f3d.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis, who has set multiple cookie sales records, is seen on March 24. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis, who has set multiple cookie sales records, is seen on March 24. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis, who has set multiple cookie sales records, is seen on March 24. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-62b577e275a6a4d4814dc6e7f86f8a6f.jpg" alt="Photo - Girl Scout Katie Francis, the top Girl Scout Cookie seller in the state this year, left, poses in 2012 with fellow Girl Scout Piper Bush, wearing a Thin Mints costume, during a ceremony for the Oklahoma's Favorite Girl Scout Cookie Contest at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City. Francis was awarded a $1,529 Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan account during the ceremony for selling 7,482 boxes of cookies, an all-time state record. She has gone on to break the national records for most cookies sold in a single season and most cookies sold in a Girl Scout career. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman Archives" title="Girl Scout Katie Francis, the top Girl Scout Cookie seller in the state this year, left, poses in 2012 with fellow Girl Scout Piper Bush, wearing a Thin Mints costume, during a ceremony for the Oklahoma's Favorite Girl Scout Cookie Contest at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City. Francis was awarded a $1,529 Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan account during the ceremony for selling 7,482 boxes of cookies, an all-time state record. She has gone on to break the national records for most cookies sold in a single season and most cookies sold in a Girl Scout career. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman Archives"><figcaption>Girl Scout Katie Francis, the top Girl Scout Cookie seller in the state this year, left, poses in 2012 with fellow Girl Scout Piper Bush, wearing a Thin Mints costume, during a ceremony for the Oklahoma's Favorite Girl Scout Cookie Contest at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City. Francis was awarded a $1,529 Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan account during the ceremony for selling 7,482 boxes of cookies, an all-time state record. She has gone on to break the national records for most cookies sold in a single season and most cookies sold in a Girl Scout career. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman Archives</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a8d31bb21be0aaa69f432bab8cd4c53e.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis, right, who this spring broke the record for the most cookies sold over the course of a Girl Scout career, recently got to meet with Elizabeth Brinton, the previous record holder, at a special assembly at Katie's high school, Putnam City North. Photo provided" title="Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis, right, who this spring broke the record for the most cookies sold over the course of a Girl Scout career, recently got to meet with Elizabeth Brinton, the previous record holder, at a special assembly at Katie's high school, Putnam City North. Photo provided"><figcaption>Oklahoma Girl Scout Katie Francis, right, who this spring broke the record for the most cookies sold over the course of a Girl Scout career, recently got to meet with Elizabeth Brinton, the previous record holder, at a special assembly at Katie's high school, Putnam City North. Photo provided</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a22bb8f9bf3c47c1969b0752ab8563fa.jpg" alt="Photo - Girl Scout Katie Francis pulls her wagon full of boxes of cookies in 2014 in the snow through a neighborhood in Warr Acres selling cookies. Katie broke the record for the most Girl Scout cookies sold in a single season in 2014 and now has broken the record for the most cookies sold in the course of a Girl Scout's career. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman Archives]" title="Girl Scout Katie Francis pulls her wagon full of boxes of cookies in 2014 in the snow through a neighborhood in Warr Acres selling cookies. Katie broke the record for the most Girl Scout cookies sold in a single season in 2014 and now has broken the record for the most cookies sold in the course of a Girl Scout's career. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman Archives]"><figcaption>Girl Scout Katie Francis pulls her wagon full of boxes of cookies in 2014 in the snow through a neighborhood in Warr Acres selling cookies. Katie broke the record for the most Girl Scout cookies sold in a single season in 2014 and now has broken the record for the most cookies sold in the course of a Girl Scout's career. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman Archives]</figcaption></figure>
Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1... Read more ›

Comments