February 5, 2020

Girl Scout from Princeton is a Face of New Cookie Packaging

SCOUT’S HONOR: Stuart Country Day School senior Madeleine Freundlich, 17, is pictured on the current packaging of S’mores Girl Scout Cookies. Madeleine has been selling cookies and taking part in scouting adventures for 13 years.

By Anne Levin

If one of the girls pictured on this year’s packages of S’mores Girl Scout Cookies looks familiar, it isn’t surprising. She is Madeleine Freundlich, a scout since kindergarten and a current senior at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart. The 17-year-old has been selling the coveted cookies in Palmer Square and elsewhere around Princeton almost as long as she can remember.

“I used to tag along with my older sister when I was about 3 or 4, helping her sell cookies,” said Madeleine, an enthusiast of all things scout-related. Since then, her involvement in the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey (GSCSNJ) has been about much more than selling S’mores, Peanut Butter Patties, Caramel deLites, Thin Mints, and the rest of the addictive collection.

Using her cookie money, Madeleine, who will attend Vassar College in the fall, has traveled to Oregon to study astronomy, experienced winter survival training and whitewater rafting, and has served as a summer trip and travel counselor with the organization, to name just a few of her accomplishments.

“The thing I love most about it is that it offers such a wide range of opportunities,” she said. “It gives girls from any economic background the chance to explore their passions. There are just so many things you can do.”

Some 19,000 girls from more than nine counties are members of GSCSNJ. This year’s cookie season is currently in full swing. Girl Scouts USA decided to refresh the cookie packaging this year to better reflect its mission of instilling courage, confidence, and character. They put out a national call for photos, and those who responded were evaluated based on their involvement in Girl Scouts and their communities. Of the 23 selected, Madeleine is one of seven from New Jersey.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program aims to teach girls about entrepreneurship, money management, organizing pop-up shops, public speaking, and decision making. While the cost of cookies has gone up to $5, Madeleine — whose favorite is Peanut Butter Patties — said that makes marketing more of a challenge. “There are creative ways to do it,” she said. “One girl did it through Instagram. As the market has gotten more competitive, girls have had to be more creative. But most of the money goes back into the troops. And it promotes the sustainable local economy.”

Madeleine’s interests tend toward the outdoors. A backpacking trip to Oregon’s Pine Mountain Observatory, with members of NASA and SETI (Search for extraterrestrial intelligence), was a highlight of her scouting experience. “We studied astronomy and all topics related to that, and we also learned to educate about astronomy in our communities,” she said. Other favorite scout-related activities have included sailing and beach camping.

A natural leader, Madeleine is an ambassador, the highest level in Girl Scouts. She regularly helps mentor younger scouts in various events and badge workshops. She fully intends to keep Girl Scouts a priority as she graduates from the top tier.

“After ambassador level, you can gain a lifetime membership which allows you to stay active,” she said. “What I’m most excited about is being able to chaperone and develop Girl Scout destination trips. I want to pass along the opportunities I’ve had to others.”

Scouting has remained in the family. “My sister is still a counselor at Girl Scout camp,” Madeleine said. “And it will always be part of my life. I can’t imagine my life without it.”