Maycie Thaut, 10, Jennifer Ranard, 10, Mikala Diaz, 9, and Zoe Hotmer, 10, with Troop 2088 out of Ladera Ranch try on oversize cookie cloaks during an Orange County Girl Scouts cookie rally on Saturday at the Bren Center. (SCOTT SMELTZER, Daily Pilot / January 13, 2014)

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In the middle of 1,000 Orange County Girl Scouts at the Bren Events Center in Irvine on Saturday, about a dozen Daisies — those in kindergarten and first grade — crowded around a mock front door made out of cardboard.

The girls, mostly 5 and 6 years old, were about to practice their pitch.

"We're going to be showing you how to sell Girl Scout Cookies at someone's house," 11-year-old Isabelle Lindstrom said.

She knocked on the faux door before leading the younger girls in a chorus of "hello" and quizzing them on what they'd say when asked about their favorite cookie.

The Orange County Girl Scouts' cookie kickoff, at the Bren for the second time, marks the beginning of cookie-selling season.

Scattered around the event that afternoon were booths set up by dozens of older Girl Scouts to show their younger counterparts the tricks of the cookie trade.

Upstairs, Girl Scouts of all ages set sales goals and added them to a wall of motivation.

Downstairs, the girls learned how to make change, manage inventory and approach customers.

"Many of them are overcoming shyness," said event Chairwoman Susan Berkel.

The key, she said, is having the older girls take younger sellers under their wings.

"This event is about getting people ready for the sale," Berkel said.

Last year, about 16,000 Orange County Girl Scouts sold more than 2.5 million packages of cookies, according to the organization.

Starting later this month, the Girl Scouts will try to beat that number.

They're getting a little help from new cookies too.

Girls lined up Saturday to taste-test the Cranberry Citrus Crisp and the first gluten-free Girl Scout Cookie, the Chocolate Chip Shortbread — both of which are being piloted in Orange County.

At Isabelle's booth, the Daisies were fine-tuning their pitch by listing the camping trips and activities the earnings from their sales would help cover.

About 70 cents from each $4 box sold goes to each troop. The gluten-free Chocolate Chip Shortbreads are $5 a box.

"Happy selling," Isabelle's mother and troop leader Brigitte Lindstrom said as she cheered and waved to the Daisies, as they moved on for more training.