How do you become the top cookie seller in the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles?

It helps to have a parent who works in a big office and can get dozens of orders from co-workers. And living in the crowded Westside of Los Angeles couldn’t hurt.

But 15-year-old Kristina Nelson, who earned the title last year after selling 3,266 boxes of cookies in about three weeks, has neither of those advantages. Her father, a single parent, is a self-employed auto mechanic, and they live in Llano, a speck of a desert town about 20 miles southeast of Palmdale.

So how’d she do it? Like any determined saleswoman, she put in the hours. With help from her father and grandparents, she set up shop outside of grocery stores in Palmdale and Lancaster every day after school, selling cookies from 3:30 until 8 p.m. She also sold on weekends.

“I basically went to stores and never gave up on selling,” said Kristina. “I really never quit until I reached my goal.”

Her goal was 3,000 boxes, enough to win a Nintendo Wii video game console, a trip to Disneyland and other prizes.

With Girl Scout cookie season fast approaching – Scouts are already taking orders and will start selling at booths Feb. 12 – Kristina said she wants to get back to the 3,000 level this year and be the top seller again. And she’s not changing her game plan.

“We hear about girls who get orders from big offices, but we haven’t been able to do that,” said Robert Eye, Kristina’s father. “The most she sold at one time was 20 boxes.”

– James Rufus Koren

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