Get Your Cookies and Support a Troop of Girl Scouts in the NYC Shelter System All at the Same Time

"It's deeper than cookies, camping, and crafts. It's about providing a unifying experience."

Girl Scout Troop 6000

Courtesy of Girl Scouts of Greater New York

In 2017, Troop 6000, a Girl Scouts chapter for children living in a shelter in Queens, New York, stole the hearts of cookie lovers worldwide with their story of resilience. Since then, the dynamic troop has grown by leaps and bounds, and now, the brilliant young innovators are ramping up to sell those beloved boxed delights once again. And that means if you love those gooey-coconut-caramelized Samoas or melt-in-your-mouth, chocolatey Thin Mints, you should have your wallets ready on March 1 to support them. 

Troop 6000, which is zero-cost to its members, was founded by Giselle Burgess, who personally experienced being unhoused with her family. After learning more about the barriers for young girls looking to build genuine connections with one another while in shelters, Burgess knew a Girl Scouts chapter could make all the difference.

And now, what started as Burgess’ hope to host Girl Scouts activities in a single shelter in one borough, serves thousands of girls across New York City. 

Though, creating and maintaining the group hasn't been without its challenges — from getting permission to host Girl Scouts activities within shelters to navigating program changes during COVID-19, as well as keeping up with members. And that last one is a task that is much harder than it sounds.  

Lindsey Cosgrove, Girl Scouts of Greater New York's Chief Strategy Officer, told Food & Wine, "We are trying to keep track of every Girl Scouts [member] who wants to stay connected." Which Cosgrove explained can be difficult as many unhoused people often move around to different shelters to accommodate their needs. 

Girl Scout Troop 6000

Courtesy of Girl Scouts of Greater New York

But still, against all odds, Troop 6000 has flourished, and as young entrepreneurs, going from selling cookies out of one shelter in Queens to engaging girls in over 20 shelters across all five boroughs to create a cookie empire. Even Burgess' daughter Hailey Vicente became a Troop 6000 Girl Scout and earned one of the organization's highest honors. "She earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award you can achieve," Cosgrove said, noting Hailey's project was specifically tailored to creating a welcome experience for new troop members.

It's key to note that all Girl Scout troops are about much more than cookies. But Troop 6000's mission may be just a little more unique, providing its members with consistency, fun, and community where it's needed most.

"It's deeper than cookies, camping, and crafts…especially for those girls a part of the shelter sites. It's about providing a unifying experience." Cosgrove adds, everyone, even those outside of the city, can support Troop 6000 by donating, volunteering, and stocking up on those hard-to-resist cookies via the troop's page here.

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