04/11/2012 03:47 EDT | Updated 06/11/2012 05:12 EDT

Girl Guides gain business skills, self-esteem while selling cookies

TORONTO - Chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies are on the menu as Girl Guides head out on their semi-annual selling spree.

Girl Guide Cookies is the largest "girl-run" business in the country, Girl Guides of Canada said in a release.

Each year more than 70,000 Girl Guides, from five-year-old Sparks to 18-year-old Rangers, gain financial literacy and business skills from selling cookies.

Last year, members sold more than 112 million cookies, or 5,345,652 million boxes.

Top "cookie all-stars" sell 1,000 to 1,400 boxes of cookies a year. These girls are even known to create YouTube videos and other promotions to boost their sales, which can help their unit go on international service trips, camps or other activities.

"Each box of cookies sold supports dynamic Girl Guide programs and activities that encourage girls to develop their leadership potential, use their talents and push their boundaries while fostering their self-esteem," the organization said.

This year, the price of Girl Guide Cookies has gone up to $5 a box, the first increase in nine years.

Girl Guides’ classic chocolate and vanilla cookies now contain 0 grams of trans fat per serving and are produced in a nut-free/peanut-free bakery.

Aficionados of the chocolatey-mint cookies will have to wait till fall for their fix.

The Girl Guide cookie tradition started in 1927, when a Guide leader in Regina baked cookies for her girls to sell as a simple way for them to raise money for uniforms and camping equipment.