This Girl Scout Troop is Made up of Girls From Homeless Shelters

Scouting empowers girls to be strong and confident.

Girl Scouts getting ready for camp.

Getting ready for girl scout camp. (Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com)

There’s much more to being a girl scout than just selling cookies. This is especially true for the girls who belong to Troop 6000 in New York City. While these girls are selling thin mints galore, scouting plays a much more important role in their lives. That’s because  this troop is made up of girls who live in the city's homeless shelters.

While scouting provides a mission for all girls and teens to grow up to be strong confident women who want to make the world a better place, according to Girl Scouts NYC, for girls in troop 6000 it also means building a community.

The organization said: “Every girl in the five boroughs of New York City deserves a chance to reach her full potential: to have her eyes opened to possibilities for college and careers, to make loving and supportive friends, to learn from caring female mentors, and to chart her own course to achieve her goals.”

There are approximately 70,000 people living in homeless shelters in NYC and 23,000 are children (12,000 are girls) according to the organization. While the NYC shelter system is supposed to provide emergency housing for families, it is far from temporary. In fact, the average stay is 18 months before a family can move into permanent housing. Scouting gives the girls a feeling of belonging even if the rest of their lives feel transient.

To counter that, Girl Scouts NYC has incorporated a transitional programming Initiative for the girls and their moms to ensure that they continue to have access to scouting after the family relocates to their own homes.

The troop meets in more than 20 shelters across the city according to MSN. But the weekly meetings of the troop had to go virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Otherwise, the program is mostly the same as any other girl scout troop. The girls earn badges, go on field trips, can go to girl scout camps, and of course sell cookies.

When the pandemic began in the middle of cookie selling season in 2020, all troops had to find creative solutions which included ordering online and contact free delivery to maintain safe social distancing. These are still in place.

You can still purchase cookies online to support the troop but sales for this season are ending at the end of February 2021. There’s even an option to donate cookies to homeless shelters.

For these girls, scouting is a place that they know is safe, secure, and a consistent part of their lives when so much else is in flux. But according to Girl Scouts NYC, that’s exactly what Troop 6000 is about.

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