Good News. This Girl Scout Troop For Homeless Girls Is Selling Cookies For The First Time. The troop has already sold over 17,000 boxes! Kate Streit 2018-04-16. Kate Streit ·April 16, 2018. SHARE PIN IT. Instagram/KelloggsNYC. Selling cookies each year is a special tradition for Girl Scouts across the country. The funds raised from boxes of Thin Mints and Samoas help support important activities for the scouts, like field trips and summer camps. One special troop in New York City got the opportunity to sell cookies for the first time this year: Troop 6000, the city’s first-ever Girl Scout troo .
New York Liberty players surprised Girl Scout Troop 6000 on Thursday night, June 8, 2017. Above, players Rebecca Allen, Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, Cierra Burdick, Ta'Shauna "Sugar" Rodgers and Director of Franchise Development Swintayla Marie "Swin" Cash speak with the girls.
Photo Credit: MSG Photos / Rana Faure The city’s only Girl Scout troop made up solely of homeless girls got treated to a surprise “Girls Night Out” with NYC’s women’s basketball team Thursday night. Troop 6000 started its night with a dinner at Planet Hollywood in Times Square, but the girls didn’t know players from the New York Liberty team would be joining them. The players showed up to tell them they were taking them to see “Wonder Woman” and that they’d get to go to the NY Liberty game at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, June 11, where they will be recognized on the court.
Ta'Shauna "Sugar" Rodgers, a guard for NY Liberty, said she was moved by the girls because she had also been homeless when she was a teenager. "It's just motivating to see that they started something that I never had, even though I was in the same situation as them," she said in a statement. "Just giving back and just seeing the smiles on their faces. It means a lot to me." Karina, an 11-year-old in Troop 6000, said she looks up to the players. "I love basketball, and they just make me keep moving forward and keep on doing what I do best, which is basketball.
They inspire me so much," she said in a statement.
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Members of Girl Scout Troop 6000 troop and leader Giselle Burgess hug after being honored as the first troop exclusively for homeless girls, at a ceremony at New York City Hall on April 25. Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images On a recent camping trip, the itinerary for Girl Scout Troop 6000 was full of only-in-the-wilderness activities for these New York City kids.
At a campground upstate, the girls — age 5 to 15 — milked cows and roasted marshmallows, and screamed when a moth flew by or someone found a spiderweb in the bathroom. At the end of the trip, the girls left the cabins where they'd stayed and returned to the closest thing they have to a home: a 10-story budget hotel in Queens, where New York City's Department of Homeless Services pays to shelter homeless families.
All 28 of the girls in Troop 6000 live at the hotel. They're members of the first-ever Girl Scout troop for girls who are homeless. "I try to stress the fact that they are just like any other Girl Scouting troop," says Giselle Burgess, who started Troop 6000 in February. "The only difference between us is at the end of our meetings we are still in the same location." Burgess is a single mom with five kids, ranging in age from 3 to 14.
Last year, her landlord decided to sell the building where she had an apartment. Burgess couldn't find a new place to live — she says potential landlords were wary of taking a single mom with that many kids — and entered the city's shelter system.
Now, the family of six shares one room and two beds. "As far as, privacy between myself and the children, we get a little bit overwhelmed at times because you don't have your own space," Burgess tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.
"But we're making it work." When she became homeless last August, Burgess was working for the Girl Scouts of Greater New York as a community development specialist.
She helped start new troops and recruit new Girl Scouts. Burgess asked if she could start a troop in her shelter, and the response was an enthusiastic yes, she says. When people think about homelessness, Burgess says, they "think about the man on the corner who came from out of state and has the cardboard sign." "I think my biggest goal here is to try to break that stigma of homelessness," she says.
So the troop, which includes three of Burgess' daughters, does what other Girl Scout troops do. They've practiced first aid, studied women's suffrage and learned about STEM careers. The program has been a success, and the New York City government announced this month that it will invest $1.1 million to expand Troop 6000 from two dozen girls at one shelter to as many as 500 girls at 15 shelters across the city.
That's a victory for Giselle Burgess, but it hasn't solved a big problem: Almost a year after losing her apartment, she and her family are still homeless. She's looking for somewhere to live, but she says the size of her family still turns off many landlords. "I used to worry a lot in the beginning," Burgess says.
"I became depressed and upset, [until] I began to look at it as, it's not my time to leave the shelter yet." For as long as she's at the shelter, Burgess wants her Girl Scouts to learn something from her. Some of the things they learn will go toward merit badges. Some won't. Burgess hopes the scouting experience, and her own example, can teach Troop 6000 that hard times "are just seasons in their lives. And that they will surpass it, and that there's much more out there that they're capable of accomplishing."
A Girl Scouts troop established in February at a homeless shelter in Queens will expand to 14 additional shelters throughout New York City and is expected to serve about 500 girls. In the stately Blue Room at City Hall, five members of announced the expansion during a news conference on Wednesday.
(The girls spoke at the lectern, although a couple did so in a near whisper.) With a portrait of Alexander Hamilton as a backdrop, Karina, Sanaa, Christina, Nayalynn and Tanae — ages 5 to 11 — talked about the troop’s origins, its expansion and what the Girl Scouts meant to them.
What did Tanae, 5, like most about Girl Scouts? After a long pause and a little help reaching the microphone, she said, “Everything.” Sanaa, 9, was not as shy, telling the crowd, “We have been on TV a lot.” She said the girls took pride in wearing the uniforms, in earning badges and especially in being pioneers of their troop. “The best part is that we get to be Girl Scouts in Troop 6000,” she said.
Karina, 11, who was a scout before becoming homeless, said Troop 6000 taught her “the true meaning of being a sister to every girl scout and how to emotionally support others.” “Now more girls just like me will be able to participate and get the same,” she said. The New York Times is using only the girls’ first names to protect their privacy. Troop 6000 has 27 members, who live with their families in a budget hotel that was converted into shelter space in Long Island City.
Although the troop came together under difficult circumstances, the members’ stories have resonated with city officials and donors around the world. The publicity has helped bring attention to the plight of the city’s homeless children, who make up nearly 40 percent of the shelter system in New York.
“You have inspired all of New York with your heart and your smarts and your spirit,” , told the girls. “You’re really a testament to the compassion of New Yorkers, a testament to the potential of the young people who happen to be homeless on any given night. You have shown us all a way forward.” For the next three years, the will lead the expansion. The will provide about $320,000 annually, and about $55,000 a year will come from the , which is led by Chirlane McCray, the wife of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The money will pay for uniforms, snacks and other expenses, like field trips. “I think it’s noteworthy that the first lady was a girl scout,” Darren Bloch, the executive director of the fund, said.
“Half of the Mayor’s Fund team were girl scouts. I think that speaks to the long-term benefits of scouting.” The girls in Troop 6000 have come into their own, said Giselle Burgess, who will manage the expansion. “What I mainly see with them is just pure leadership,” she said. “From the smallest ones that we have to the oldest ones, they get the job done.” Ms. Burgess, a single mother of five children, including Karina and Christina, became homeless last year after her rental building was sold to make way for condominiums.
Ms. Burgess, a community engagement specialist at the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, asked her employer whether it would be possible to create a troop at the shelter. Her request came at the same time that , a Queens Democrat, and officials within the Girl Scouts and the Department of Homeless Services were looking for a way to bring the program to homeless girls.
“I hope that you know this and feel this: that what you’ve done is so powerful and so important in changing our city for the better,” Mr. Van Bramer said.
New York City’s First-Ever Homeless Girl Scout Troop: ‘We’re Real Sisters’