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Even the innocent childhood tradition of selling Girl Scout cookies can't escape the sadness and fear of the Jan. 8 shootings.

Today's Scouts are encouraged to sell cookies at "booths" or tables outside grocery and other stores rather than depend on door-to-door sales.

To the grown-ups, that sounds safer.

To some of the girls - this year, at least - it sounds terrifying.

Debbie Rich, chief executive officer of the Sahuaro Girl Scout Council, said she has fielded about 10 calls from leaders whose girls are concerned, and has gone to talk with two troops of Junior Girl Scouts about their fears of selling outside grocery stores like the one where the shootings occurred. Girls who are around 9 years old - the same age as Christina-Taylor Green when she died on Jan. 8 - used words like "random" and "unpredictable" when they expressed their worries to Rich.

"You just don't think about the residual impact of such a violent act," Rich said.

Ciara Garcia, of Tu Nidito Children and Family Services, said it is normal for children to fear that a tragic event will happen again.

"We do see that children generalize these fears," said Garcia, assistant director at the local nonprofit that supports children who have been impacted by serious illness and death.

It's also normal for children to not be affected at all by tragedy, Garcia said.

Rather than encouraging girls to give in to their fears, Scout leaders said booth sales will go on, starting Thursday.

"We decided to have that sense of normalcy and go on and have cookie booths," Rich said.

To inject a dose of positive energy into booth sales, Rich distributed coveted "Got Cookies?" patches to members of the council's board of directors and local businesswomen. The badge holders are encouraged to act as "secret shoppers" and to award the patches to any girl at a cookie booth with an engaging sales pitch or business savvy.

"Secret shopper" patches are issued every cookie season, but they carry more significance this year because girls need to know now more than ever that they are doing a good job, Rich said.

Many troops are heeding the call - even some of those most affected by the tragedy.

Junior Girl Scout Troop 518 is based at the northwest-side Mesa Verde Elementary School - the school attended by Christina-Taylor Green.

On Friday, the girls, who are mostly fourth-graders, will sell cookies in front of Walgreens, just feet from where the shootings occurred. The troop has sold cookies at the northwest-side shopping center, at West Ina and North Oracle roads, for the last three years.

Members of the troop all knew Christina-Taylor in some way and remember her as patriotic, generous and kind, said co-leader Lisa Shanks.

The girls decided to donate part of the proceeds from their sales to the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Fund.

Troops select an organization to support each year through proceeds from their cookie sales, but donating cash is not typically allowed.

Troops donate goods, but the Sahuaro Girl Scout Council made an exception this year so girls could donate to memorial funds.

The girls are excited to raise money in memory of their classmate, Shanks said, but that doesn't mean cookie sales will be the same as usual.

"It will be a different feeling this year," Shanks said. "The spot has a different significance than it used to."

if you go

• What: Junior Girl Scout Troop 518 cookie booth

• When: 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 4

• Where: Walgreens at West Ina and North Oracle roads

• Part of the proceeds from the troop's cookie sales go to the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Fund.

"We decided to have that sense of normalcy and go on and have cookie booths."

Debbie Rich, chief executive officer of the Sahuaro Girl Scout Council

Contact reporter Andrea Rivera at or 807-8430.