Girl Scout Troop 6000 is like any other girl scout troop, except for one difference. All of the girls in the troop are homeless. All 22 children in the girl scout troop live in a 10-story homeless shelter in Queens, New York City. The program was created by Giselle Burgess, a community engagement specialist for Girl Scouts of Greater New York. Burgess is also homeless and a mother of one of the girls in the troop.
Research has shown that the benefits of being a Girl Scout are endless. The organization offers more access to educational and recreational opportunities. As a result, girls who participate are also more likely to attend college and achieve higher socio-economic status.
Troop 6000 leaders, Burgess told the New York Times, that her organization is paying for the girls’ monthly dues and covering the costs of membership fees and starter kits. Burgess shared that the troop tells the girls,” although other things in your life won’t be consistent, we will be. We’ll be your anchor.” The group meets weekly to organize and take part in community service activities. The girls also learn how to become mentors.
In November, Council Member Van Bramer visited the homeless shelter. He told ABC News in a statement, “Last November, I joined the Girl Scouts of Greater New York to serve Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter for women in Queens. It was there that we dreamed of a Girl Scout troop created specifically for homeless girls. With Troop 6000, that dream became a reality.”
Van Bramer continued, “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. 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.” Girl Scouts of Greater New York is already planning to expand the troop and offer more resource to girls around the State.