Although I can't tell you when it actually began, (it's been going on for many years now- way before I became a leader!) Jim Edwards, ( a Service Team member and leader within our area for both Boy & Girl Scouts), started this event as the "Chocolay Chocolate Challenge", (named after the township.) Every year, the Service Team, or hosting leader decides the theme of the competition, and each troop chooses to make their entry/sculpture ENTIRELY out of chocolate, and something that correlates with the theme. In addition to the competition itself, there are games and activities planned that involve chocolate as well. This is my 2nd year hosting this event with my troop, and I love it! (It is right up my alley after all!) ** Any GS troop can participate ages 6-18.
Some of the themes over the years have been: "Animal Habitats", "Giant Cupcake", "Famous Landmarks", "Holidays", "Girl Scout insignia", etc. Pretty much anything you can imagine! The last couple years we have obtained official judges that are non-biased, to judge the entries based on: composition, overall appearance, and level of difficulty for age. For the judges, we were able to have a local celebrity news anchor, Pastry Chef (not me!), and a third judge, to make the very difficult decisions of which troop would place 1st, 2nd, and 3rd! All girls involved receive a custom designed patch every year, 1st and 2nd receive a trophy, and first place receives ribbons along with the "rotating" Hershey's kiss trophy. (The Hershey's kiss trophy has to be given back prior to each competition the following year!)
For the girls, (or any youth), this competition is a wonderful teaching tool for "team-building" skills, creativity, working with chocolate and edible materials, and public speaking. This is not an INDIVIDUAL competition! They must choose their idea collectively, figure out (as a team) how to implement their entry using whatever resources they have available, and work together to make it happen! Some teams have problems, and have to change their plans, or work through their challenges to change the outcome. Many of the items they are able to use are all donated by or from the parents- as troop funds are usually always limited. At the competition, the girls have to either send a "representative", or go up as a collective team to explain their project, so the judges have a better understanding of the composition, age of group, and the idea they were trying to execute.
Win or lose, the girls have fun, take pride in their work, and take away a lot of important skills and lessons from this competition! Hey, when chocolate's involved, you just can't go wrong!