Troop 6000: How One Girl Scout Troop is Supporting the NYC Shelter System


Madison Situ, Staff Writer

With cookie deliveries right around the corner, New York City’s Girl Scout Troop 6000 has experienced a massive amount of support in the past month.

What sets Troop 6000 apart from the rest is that it was designed for young girls in the New York City shelter system. These 20 shelters across all five boroughs of New York City give temporary housing to families in tough financial situations as they look for a permanent home. As the New York City housing crisis grows, nearly 68% of the homeless population in the shelter system are families with young children, so this program has led to many opportunities that may not have been presented otherwise. 

The troop idea began in 2017 with Giselle Burgess, a formerly homeless woman. The troop was soon established with a partnership between the New York City’s Department of Homeless Services and the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, and Mayor Bill de Blasio granted the troop one million dollars. Burgess was ecstatic, quickly growing the troop from just her three daughters to over 500 girls in the shelter system.

Before the Girl Scout troop was introduced, many girls in the shelter system stayed in their rooms and didn’t talk to anyone living alongside them. When Burgess started the program, the girls had a newfound sense of community and sisterhood. Burgess bonded with the girls over their shared hardships and found a love for helping others. She is now running for New York City Council in 2021.

“Being a part of Troop 6000 is very special to me, because all the girls in my troop, we’re very different from other girls in different troops because we don’t have a home,” Karina, a 12-year-old member of the troop, said in Teen Vogue. “What’s been the best is how things at our home have changed, because before when there was no Troop 6000, everyone was in their rooms and no one knew each other, and we didn’t really talk to each other, we just passed by the halls and just look at each other. But now, when we see each other in the hallway we get all excited, and are all like, ‘Hi!’”

Earlier this year, there came an outpouring of support with hundreds of cookie orders. All of the proceeds from the troop’s cookie sales go towards financing their trips, activities, and uniforms. The project will also help strengthen Troop 6000’s community and leadership-building within the Girl Scouts.