Girl Scouts Say Eat Your Dessert Before Dinner

Fundraiser tasks 10 Las Vegas chefs with reinterpreting the famous Lemonades cookie


Chefs Vivian Chang and Todd Harrington with a Southern Nevada Girl Scout at last year’s event

No matter what the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada do, they’ll always be associated with those iconic cookies they peddle year in and year out. Dessert Before Dinner, the group’s annual fundraising event on September 26 from 6-9 p.m. in the Augustus Ballroom at Caesars Palace, takes that sweet reputation one step further.

Ten female chefs from restaurants such as STK and Chocolate & Spice will come together to create pre-dinner desserts that incorporate Lemonades, the Girl Scout cookie of the year, for some 1,000 guests. Meanwhile, some of Las Vegas’ most well-known women, including Robin Greenspun and Marilyn Winn Spiegel, will be honored as role models with badges chosen for their professional accomplishments.

“All seven nominees this year were chosen for specific reasons,” says Liz Ortenburger, CEO of Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada. “We looked for women who have forged a path for other women to follow, and then share with our girls these great role models.” Other honorees include Elizabeth Blau, Dawn Mack, Rose McKinney-James, Anita Romero and Heidi Straus.

The funds from Dessert Before Dinner will help Girl Scouts provide camp scholarships and STEM education, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Ortenburger estimates that over 50 percent of their badges are already STEM-related, but 90 percent of their volunteers are parents, many of whom don’t have a STEM background. With the proceeds, Girl Scouts plans to create ready-made kits that make teaching STEM a little easier on parents. Girl Scouts also hopes to use funds to aid their initiative to grow membership in the valley to 20,000 by 2025.

“The event is about helping people explore the world of Girl Scouts beyond cookies, camp and crafts,” says Ortenburger. “What I love doing is eating dessert, then getting up and sharing with guests the kinds of things that blow their minds about what Girl Scouts is doing in the community.”

Over the last year, troops have given $15,000 back to other nonprofits in Southern Nevada, which Ortenburger hopes will continue. Tickets start at $300.