There’s one unique troop in the Girl Scouts that’s aimed at making the lives of some young girls easier, even during the most difficult time of their lives.
Troop 6000 in New York City is made up of girls who are homeless or live in shelters.
They’ve been around for six years and now they’re paying it forward by welcoming the migrant children who have recently arrived in the big apple into their ranks.
For some, like 11-year-old Laura from Colombia and her 16-year old friend, Julissa from Nicaragua, who arrived in the U.S. about six months ago, the Troop is one of the first things they get to be a part of once they arrive.
Now New Yorkers, Yankees hats and all, they are new members of girl scout Troop 6000.
“I’ve only seen this in the movies,” Laura said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to do this.”
Gillesy,9, was an early member of the troop, which formed six years ago. Her mom,Giselle Burgess, is the reason it exists.
“Back in 2017, my kids and I had lost their home,” Burgess said. “We ended up in a New York City Shelter system. I was already an employee at Girl Scouts New York. How do I tell them I want to start a troop here? I walked in, it was like ‘absolutely let’s do it.'”
Burgess and her children are now out of the shelter, but are still part of Troop 6000.
The first troop started with just seven girls at Burgess’s shelter. There are now more than 2500 women and girls across more than 20 shelters. It also inspired similar troops countrywide.
“This population of young women has seen incredibly traumatic events,”Meridith Maskara, CEO of Girl Scouts Of Greater New York, said. “So by them seeing us care for them so much, and of course they’re learning that ‘I can give that back.’”
For families still in shelters, the program is free and includes trips, camps, and weekly activities. The cookie sale helps cover the costs.
For mothers like Juliana Lopez, an Asylum-Seeker Living in a New York City Shelter, the program is as much for them as it is for their children.
“It gives us opportunities that we don’t have in our own country,” Lopez said. “It gives us the opportunity to be ourselves.”
If you’d like to support Troop 6000, with either a donation, or a cookie order, just head to their website Girlscoutsnyc.org/Troop6000