New York City has a new Girl Scout troop, and they are garnering a lot of attention. Troop 6000 is New York's first-ever homeless Girl Scout troop. It was created by officials from New York City and the Girl Scouts as a means of offering more girls the opportunity to join the esteemed organization.
While Troop 6000 is not the first homeless Girl Scout troop (there have been other shelter-based troops in several states), troops for homeless girls are certainly still rare. What's more, having a homeless troop in a large metropolitan area like New York has attracted a great deal of interest.
According to the New York Times, all of the members of Troop 6000 reside at a Sleep Inn, where New York is housing approximately 100 homeless families. Troop 6000 was the product of the combined efforts of New York's homeless services department, Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, and Giselle Burgess, a community engagement specialist for the the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, who herself also happens to be homeless. In addition to discussions with Bramer and homeless services officials, Burgess pitched the idea for a troop at Sleep Inn to her bosses at the Girl Scouts and was given the green light to proceed, The New York Times reported. As a result, Troop 6000 was founded in February, and currently boasts 21 members.
Troop 6000's moniker is representative of its unique status. In New York, Girl Scout troops are assigned numbers based on the borough in which they reside. (Numbers in the 1000s are assigned for troops in the Bronx, for example.) The troop chose the number 6000 because it does not represent any particular borough in New York City, something that serves as a unifying feature for the homeless girls in the troop who come from many of New York's neighborhoods.
For their part, the members of Troop 6000 seem excited about the opportunities that being a Girl Scout will provide them. They spoke with the New York Times about their professional and personal aspirations and several of the girls indicated that they want to help the homeless when they grow up, by building shelters and distributing food and clothing.
Troop 6000 certainly serves as an inspirational reminder that anything is possible, even in the face of significant challenges. According to the Girl Scout organization, being a Girl Scout provides consistency and community for its members and sets them on the path to success. Like the various causes it supports, the Girl Scouts accepts donations for Troop 6000 through its website.
I, for one, am certainly inspired by the girls of Troop 6000 and look forward to seeing all of the wonderful things they achieve in the future.