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Fox Point Brownie Sells 2,000 Boxes of Cookies, Gives Laptop Prize Away

Well before 8-year-old Callie Olson hit the sidewalks to hawk her Girl Scout cookies door-to-door, she set her sales goal at 2,000 boxes to win a MacBook laptop for her uncle with multiple sclerosis.

The prize for a Brownie scout who sold at least 2,000 boxes of cookies? A MacBook laptop computer. 

When 8-year-old Callie Olson hit the sidewalks in Fox Point to hawk her Girl Scout cookies door-to-door, she was determined at hitting that mark and winning the prize. 

But she didn't plan on using it to surf the web, or download games or music. Callie wanted to give it away.

During the fall, Callie's uncle Josh VanLoon began feeling weak and started losing sight in one eye. Doctors diagnosed him with multiple sclerosis, a debilitating brain and spinal cord disease.

“He didn’t know what was wrong until he was diagnosed,” Callie's mother Julie Olson said. “Callie would hear us talking to the neurologist or to Josh, and I guess I didn’t know that it mattered to her. He is very sick and having a hard time.”

But it did matter to the Maple Dale third grader.

“I wanted to win it for my uncle, because I love him and because he has MS, I wanted to do something special for him,” Callie said.

Hitting the mark would be a challenge, though. The troop's sale average was about 150 boxes per child, Julie Olson said. To win the laptop, Callie would need to sell at least 2,000 boxes.

Callie, with Brownie Troop 3041, started selling cookies door-to-door, hitting up extended family — the typical cookie-selling avenues. But, as the word spread about the cause behind her cookie selling, people wanted to get involved.

Soon, they started getting orders from people they didn't even know. 

“People I don’t even know were buying 80 boxes of cookies,” Julie said. “We had friends from all over the world buying cookies.”

It eventually turned into an all-out cookie selling operation.

“It took on a life of its own,” said Julie Olson. 

A Maple Dale family traveling to Minneapolis for a trip delivered 13 cases for Callie. The Olsons were delivering cookies all over the Milwaukee suburbs. Callie even delivered cookies door-to-door when the temperature dipped to four below zero.

Julie said she felt the pressure to reach 2,000, after so many people got involved in helping Callie reach her goal.

“We had people from all over asking, ‘Where is she at? How close is she (to the goal)?’ so I felt that we couldn’t fail,” Julie said. “At one point I thought, we’ve exhausted every resource, you can only go around the block so many times, and that’s when the community really stepped up and old friends stepped up.”

When Callie ran out of Thin Mints and Caramel deLites, and the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast said it wouldn’t have a new batch available until the following week, the Olsons got a tip that there were cookies available in Glendale. Callie's father Craig Olson raced to Glendale and “fought for those cookies.”

“It was a huge labor of love for everyone involved, and I still can’t believe we pulled it off,” Julie said. “We couldn’t have done it without the help of so many people."

After seven weeks of marketing cookies, Callie had hit the 2,000 mark, and some, a full week before the deadline.

“I almost cried, I was really happy,” Callie said of selling 2,075 boxes. 

Julie immediately posted it to Facebook, getting an enormous response from the community. Josh also saw the post.

"... He (Josh) wrote, 'I don't even know what to say,'" Julie said. 

As the MS has progressed, Josh has lost some feeling in his fingers making it difficult to continue his passion of playing violin. Julie said he has used the program Garage Band in the past to mix music, and the new laptop will help him to continue his passion.

The laptop will arrive in early April, and the Olsons plan on putting Josh on a train to Wisconsin, so Callie can present him with the MacBook.

“I haven’t seen him in a long time, so I’ll be nervous,” Callie said. “I may start to cry; actually he’s the one that is going to start crying.”

The money raised by Callie and her fellow scouts will help pay for the troop's trips, expenses and other activities.

Matt Heltsley March 08, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Way to go Callie!
Fran Maglio Wallace March 08, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Callie, you are a special young lady! Such a beautiful story. Congratulations!
Tracey Wetzel March 08, 2013 at 02:39 PM
I love this story ♥ Way to go Olson's ♥
Mike March 08, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Awesome awesome awesome story! I wish there were more kids like you out there Callie, I hope my son grows up with the type of big heart that you have!
Julie Olson March 09, 2013 at 02:02 PM
Thank you so much, everyone! The Girl Scouts is a fantastic organization that TRULY empowers girls. Callie learned to approach strangers, actively sell her product in Cookie Booths throughout February, and focus in on and pursue a goal during this cookie sale. These are great skills/habits she wouldn't have experienced without being a part of Girl Scouts!! Callie loves being a Brownie, and I hope she continues with GS for many years to come. Also, I think it's really important that people understand WHAT Multiple Sclerosis actually is - it genuinely upsets me when a television character "dies from MS." It's a neurological disease that affects everyone differently, but it's hardly a death sentence. Joshua believes that despite the lesions on his spine and doctors' prognoses he WILL continue to walk for many years to come. There have been fantastic advances made in the treatment of the disease in the past 15 years, and we know that with a positive attitude, healthy eating and exercise, Joshua will manage and minimize his symptoms. Callie's goal-setting and love for her uncle is definitely amazing, and we as a family did everything we could to help her achieve her goal. I'm proud to be her mother, I'm proud to say that Joshua is my brother, and I'm proud to be a part of such a warm, loving and helpful community, . SO MANY people helped make this happen - we could not have done it alone. Thank you to everyone who bought cookies, cheered us on, and supported and encouraged us.
Jennifer Andreas March 10, 2013 at 03:37 AM
So proud to work for an organization that spends everyday helping to build leadership in girls like Callie! Congrats girl! And special thanks to your family - I know the time they also dedicated to helping you reach your goal!

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