Arts + Culture

Girl Scout Troop Is ‘First Single Troop’ For Homeless Girls in New York

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Just like any other troop, the members of Girl Scout Troop 6000 can be found working on arts and crafts, dancing, and, of course, selling those famous cookies. However, for these girls, their bond runs deeper than any other troop in the New York City area. That’s because Troop 6000 is the “first single unit” that serves homeless girls.

According to ABC News, Troop 6000 was created by Giselle Burgess, a homeless woman who serves as a community engagement specialist for Girl Scouts of Greater New York. The members of Troop 6000 live at a Sleep Inn in Queens that has now been turned into a homeless shelter that serves 100 homeless families.

The new troop is just one of the many programs that the city has created to help the children who make up nearly 40% of the approximately 60,000 people in New York City’s primary shelter system, as reported by the New York Times. According to homeless services, of 287 people housed at the Sleep Inn, 155 are under 18.

Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks shared with us the meaning of the exciting partnership with Troop 6000. “Our partnership with the Girl Scouts is a great example of how collaboration can provide opportunity and programming that boosts self-esteem, promotes teamwork, and demonstrates the importance of ongoing community involvement,” Banks said, “These scouts embody the heart, smarts, and spirit of New York, which is fundamentally compassionate, and we look forward to expanding this partnership to other shelters across the City to empower and uplift more young New Yorkers.”

With 23 members ranging from kindergarten students to high school students, Troop 6000 is filled with young ladies who have big dreams. Council Member Van Bramer told ABC News about his experience with the girls of Troop 6000.

“I’ve met the members of Troop 6000, who all live in a shelter in my district, and I can tell you that they have big dreams. They are our future engineers, fashion designers, athletes, doctors, activists, and community leaders,” Bramer said in a statement, “With Troop 6000, these girls now have a place to realize these dreams, find stability, make lifelong friends, and discover the strength they have inside to be whoever they want to be. Troop 6000 is just about the most right thing I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m committed to its expansion all across New York City.”

The Girl Scouts of Greater New York City covers the cost for Troop 6000, which includes the $25 membership fee, a $75 starter kit, and the $20 monthly dues. In addition to providing the girls of Troop 6000 with strong sisterhood bonds, the Girl Scouts of Greater New York City are training at least five women to become troop leaders, in efforts to ensure sustainability of their networks that will last even after they leave the shelter.

The Girl Scouts of Greater New York City are looking to expand the troop to shelters across New York City. Donations for Troop 6000 and Girl Scouts in New York City shelters are accepted here.

Photo Credit: Office of New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer