In 2011, Beck Garnett was just a 7-year-old Tiger Scout when he sold $1,800 worth of popcorn — a pack record.
A year later, he extended the record with more than $3,000 in sales. Up and up the sales numbers went until 2017, when Beck sold a staggering $51,420 in popcorn. Beck wasn’t just the top seller in Virginia. He outsold most entire troops in his state and across the country.
The money Beck has raised — $111,807 in seven years of selling — has helped grow and sustain Scouting in Beck’s pack, troop, district and the entire Heart of Virginia Council.
You see, Beck isn’t after records or notoriety or even the pile of rare patches he has earned as a leading seller. Beck just wants to bring Scouting to as many people as he can.
Last year, he donated $17,000 to help grow Scouting in underserved areas through a program the council calls Scoutreach.
‘It’s not just about making money’
“What’s impressed me about Beck is that he’s not just out selling popcorn to raise money for his troop,” says Todd Martin, director of support services for the Heart of Virginia Council. “He’s really out there doing it to raise money to help these Scoutreach troops and packs get started and funded and to have the same opportunities that his troop had. It’s not just about making money. It’s about how we can do good in the community.”
Beck used his fundraising powers to help turn around Troop 442, a previously struggling troop on the south side of Richmond, Va. Thanks to Beck, the troop replaced its leaking tents, worn-out cooking equipment and sagging backpacks with new gear. The troop shares its gear with two Exploring posts and a Cub Scout pack — further extending the reach of this great Good Turn.
“They finally have some quality stuff so we can make these trips happen,” says Troop 442 Scoutmaster Tom Hayes.
As Beck, now 14, gears up for another popcorn season, I asked him for his top popcorn-selling tips.
Getting sales, giving back
But first, here’s a look at Beck’s first seven years of selling.
|Year||Age||Grade||Rank||Overall sales (online and in-person)||Online sales||Ranking||Where the money went|
|2011||7||1st||Bobcat, Tiger||$1,800||n/a||No. 1 in pack, pack record||Beck’s pack|
|2012||8||2nd||Wolf||$3,381||n/a||No. 1 in pack, pack record||Beck’s pack|
|2013||9||3rd||Bear||$5,087||n/a||No. 1 in Cardinal District||Bought new Pinewood Derby track for pack|
|2014||10||4th||Webelos||$11,728||$2,877.50||No. 1 in council and Virginia||Sent every Cub Scout in his pack to camp for a week and covered pack’s dues for a year|
|2015||11||5th||Webelos, Arrow of Light||$15,026||$3,781||No. 1 in council and Virginia, No. 5 in region||Gave $1,000 to pack, gave $3,800 to Scoutreach, got himself a tent and pack for Boy Scouts|
|2016||12||6th||Scout, Tenderfoot||$23,365||$10,570||No. 1 on East Coast, No. 2 in nation, No. 1 online salesman in nation||Gave $7,000 to Scoutreach|
|2017||13||7th||Tenderfoot, Second Class||$51,420||$31,745||No. 1 on East Coast, No. 1 troop in council, No. 2 in nation, No. 1 online salesman and troop in nation||Gave $17,000 to Scoutreach|
Beck’s top tips
Jay Lugar, development director for the Heart of Virginia Council, says Beck has a knack for peddling popcorn.
“I’ve never encountered a more natural salesperson than Beck,” he says.
Here’s how Beck says he got to more than $110,000 in sales:
- Set and meet daily goals to help reach your overall goal.
- Never give up. If you knock on enough doors, someone will say yes.
- Always wear your Scout uniform when selling, and be polite and professional.
- Sell online to friends and family who live far away.
- Know your products and be able to comfortably explain the value of larger products. You’ll get a bigger sale, and they’ll get a better deal.
- Remind customers that “it’s not about buying or selling popcorn. It’s about supporting the Boy Scouts.”
If you’d like to hear more from Beck, visit his website, BeckGarnett.com, and watch the video below. Beck’s family has a friend who owns a video production company that created this excellent video for him.