Troop 6000 is filled with young girls currently experiencing homelessness. The troop gives them a sense of community and consistency.
Girl Scout cookie season is almost upon us. If you have been dreaming about snacking on some thin mints or samoas, perhaps you can do your bit while enjoying those drool-worthy treats. How, you ask? Purchase your Girl Scout cookies from Troop 6000, a Girl Scout program designed specifically for little girls within the shelter system in New York City. This group, unlike other Girl Scout troops, ensures that some of the most marginalized young girls have a community to turn to. Among other action plans, Troop 6000 has a transitioning initiative to help with the shift from shelter to permanent housing.
According to the official Girl Scout website, an estimated 70,000 people live in New York City's homeless shelters, 23,000 of whom are children under the age of 18. This includes approximately 12,000 young girls. This is where Troop 6000 comes in. The program offers girls experiencing homelessness the opportunity to attend weekly Girl Scout meetings (held in more than 20 shelters across all five boroughs of New York City) and take part in all the same activities that Girl Scouts in other hubs do. That means they engage in tasks that help build their network and gain confidence in new situations, in addition to being carefree. The latter is particularly important for those who find themselves in challenging living situations every day.
The website reveals that girls in Troop 6000 "earn badges on topics like STEM, financial literacy, environmental protection, civic engagement, and community service." They also get to attend field trips, visit workplaces, and, of course, participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Lastly, Troop 6000 "even goes to Girl Scout Camp." When young girls within the troop transition out of the shelter system, Troop 6000 Transition Initiative helps them make the shift to more permanent housing. They do this by delivering a “Welcome Home Basket” which includes items such as shampoo, soap, pillows, and blankets; connecting families to a local troop where Troop 6000 members can continue their Girl Scout experience; providing needs-based financial aid for up to three years; and continuing to invite Troop 6000 girls to community events. In this manner, the young girls are able to stay connected to friends and the vibrant and supportive community they have built and nurtured.
Troop 6000 has even published a book that details all the good work they do to benefit young girls in the city's shelter system. Troop 6000: The Girl Scout Troop That Began In A Shelter And Inspired The World reveals the story of how the troop was founded for and by girls living in a shelter in Queens, New York, and the "amazing, nationwide response that it sparked." The website reads, "[The book] tells the intimate story of one group of girls who find pride and community with one another, and the larger story of how, when we come together, we can find support and commonality and experience joy and success, no matter how challenging life may be."
If you would like to get involved with Troop 6000, you can make a donation to them by visiting this link and selecting Troop 6000 as your gift’s designation. You can also sign up as a troop leader here. In addition, Troop 6000 accepts letters from other Girl Scouts troops: "Your Girl Scout troop is welcome to write letters to members of Troop 6000 but we cannot facilitate return connections," they write. "Please be mindful to use person-first language that views girls living in shelters as whole individuals and avoids language that “others” them. We will screen letters before sending them to girls in Troop 6000." These letters can be sent to the following address: Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Attn: Troop 6000, 40 Wall Street, Suite 708, New York, NY 10005.