The first thing you need to know is this:
We are laser focused on training and supporting troop leaders to lead weekly meetings for girls and women in homeless shelters across the city.
Troop leaders are vital to ensuring an impactful experience for girls. While we are incredibly thankful for the outpouring of support for Troop 6000, we currently do not have the capacity to take on material donations, facilitate visits or coordinate trips outside of our pre-planned annual program.
What is Troop 6000?
Troop 6000 is a Girl Scout troop specially designed by Girl Scouts of Greater New York to serve the thousands of girls living in the New York City shelter system. Each week, Troop 6000 meets in shelters across the city, led by trained troop leaders – women also living in the shelter system paired with community-based volunteers.
How many girls are experiencing homelessness in New York City?
There are approximately 70,000 people living in New York City shelters, 23,000 of whom are children under the age of 18, including approximately 12,000 girls.
Why do children become homeless?
Families with children are the vast majority of New York City's homeless population at 68% of the 70,000 people living in shelters. Families enter shelters because rent is unaffordable compared to their income, there is a shortage of affordable housing compared to need, and women are escaping domestic violence. These reasons contrast with traditional stereotypes of people experiencing homelessness.
What do girls in Troop 6000 do?
Members of Troop 6000 attend weekly meetings, held in more than 20 shelters across all five boroughs of New York City, and do what all Girl Scouts do — build their network, be carefree, and gain confidence in new situations.
They earn badges on topics like STEM, financial literacy, environmental protection, civic engagement, and community service. Troop 6000 also goes on field trips, visits workplaces, participates in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, and even goes to Girl Scout Camp!
How can I help Troop 6000?
The best way to help Troop 6000 is to donate money or become a Troop 6000 volunteer.
- You can donate to Troop 6000 by visiting girlscoutsnyc.org/donate and selecting Troop 6000 as your gift’s designation.
- You can apply to become a Troop 6000 leader by completing our Volunteer Application Form.
What is required of a troop leader?
Troop 6000 is led by parents paired with community volunteers. The time commitment is very similar to that required of a leader of a traditional troop, approximately three hours per week minimum. Troop leaders lead meetings, liaise with shelter staff and parents, and take girls on trips. It is an opportunity like no other to make an impact in your community.
If you’re interested, please fill out a Volunteer Application Form.
If you’re approved to proceed, we’ll reach out to you in advance of our next volunteer training, where you’ll learn about NYC’s shelter system, how to lead Girl Scout troop meetings, the support system we offer, and the opportunity to hear from current leaders who can brief you on the rewards and challenges they face.
Training is required (even for volunteers who are already Girl Scout troop leaders), along with completing and passing our background check. After completing these requirements, we will match you with one of our locations, taking your availability and distance into consideration.
Can I do an article or video about Troop 6000?
For more information, please contact Jaime Williams.
Can I donate money to Troop 6000?
Of course! You can donate to Troop 6000 by visiting girlscoutsnyc.org/donate and selecting Troop 6000 as your gift’s designation.
Supporting Troop 6000 financially is one of the best ways to ensure we can continue to welcome new girls to the Troop and give each girl we serve an authentic Girl Scout experience, including a trip to Girl Scout Camp!
Can I donate items to Troop 6000?
Though we are very grateful for people’s generosity, we cannot manage physical donations. We do not have the resources to sort, package, store or deliver items to shelters. Thank you for understanding.
We can make exceptions for exceptional materials that fit within our existing program needs. If you think your donation might be in the .01% of those we can consider, please contact Melissa D’Andrea.
If you are interested in making donations directly to shelters, here are some organizations you can contact:
Please note: We cannot give out the addresses of shelters due to confidentiality purposes.
Can I offer an experience to Troop 6000?
Yes, we have a Troop 6000 e-newsletter where we list such opportunities for troop leaders to choose from, if and only if they are free-of-charge. To learn more, please contact Heidi Schmidt.
If you are not able to offer the experience free-of-charge, you can learn more about how to promote to a broader Girl Scout audience on the External Program Resources page of our website.
Can my company help?
Yes! What we need most is funding. If your company is interested in becoming a financial supporter of Troop 6000 or you’d like to offer a workplace visit opportunity, please contact Melissa D’Andrea.
We also occasionally need spaces to hold events. If your office has a space that can hold 200+ people and you are interested in hosting a Troop 6000 event free-of-charge, please reach out to Heidi Schmidt.
Can I or my Girl Scout troop meet members of Troop 6000?
Troop 6000 meets in more than 15 shelters once-a-week afterschool. To respect the confidentiality and privacy of members of Troop 6000, their families, and other residents, visitors are not invited to troop meetings.
We do hold Troop 6000 “Community Events” several times per year to which we invite volunteers, partners, and supporters of the program, but access is restricted and by invite only.
If you want to get to know members of Troop 6000, check out:
- Teen Vogue: Girl Scouts Troop 6000 Opens Up About Sisterhood, Stigma, and Those Coveted Patches
- Growing the Girl Scout Sisterhood: Troop 6000
- NowThis: Girl Scout Troop 6000 Sells 30,000 Boxes Of Cookies In A Week
Can my Girl Scout troop write letters or send SWAPS to Troop 6000?
Your Girl Scout troop is welcome to write letters to members of Troop 6000 but we cannot facilitate return connections. Please be mindful to use person-first language that views girls living in shelters as whole individuals and avoids language that “others” them. We will screen letters before sending them to girls in Troop 6000. Please see below for an example letter.
Dear Troop 6000,
We read about you in the news and wanted to reach out to say we are so excited to learn you are part of our Girl Scout sisterhood. You have sisters and supporters all over the world cheering you on, including us!
We hope these SWAPs remind you of us and the courage, confidence, and character we all strive for.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
Other ideas include cards celebrating Troop 6000’s birthday (established February, 2017); Founder’s day; or promoting traditional Girl Scout activities like camping or
World Thinking Day.
Please mail letters and SWAPS to:
Girl Scouts of Greater New York
Attn: Troop 6000
40 Wall Street, Suite 708
New York, NY 10005
If your troop would like to donate money to Troop 6000, please visit girlscoutsnyc.org/donate and select Troop 6000 as your gift’s designation, or mail a check to:
Girl Scouts of Greater New York
40 Wall Street, Suite 708
New York, NY 10005
Can my Girl Scout Troop work with Troop 6000 to earn their Gold, Silver, or Bronze Awards?
To protect the privacy of Troop 6000 Girl Scouts, we do not allow visitors at troop meetings, and we do not have the capacity to collect donated items. However, if you are inspired by the girls and volunteers in Troop 6000 and want to make changes in your school, community, city, or country, there are many ways to create a take action project to address structural issues that affect the communities that are a part of Troop 6000.
Projects addressing issues like homelessness, affordable and safe housing, low wages, and domestic violence, all can help to positively impact members of our Girl Scout community and their families.
Contact your elected officials to advocate and change the root causes of girls having to live in the shelter system. If you are a NYC Girl Scout and you would like to discuss ways to incorporate these issues into a highest awards project, please contact Yanira Camino.
What happens when girls in Troop 6000 leave the shelter?
The average length of stay for a family in a New York City shelter is 18 months.
To help facilitate a successful transition from shelter to permanent housing, it is essential girls stay connected to the community and opportunities introduced to them through Girl Scouting.
Therefore, on October 1, 2018 we launched our Troop 6000 Transition Initiative to ensure girls and their parents continue to have access to Girl Scouting and the community, consistency, fun, and learning it provides. We support girls and their families by:
- Delivering a “Welcome Home Basket” with items like shampoo, soap, pillows, and blankets, to ease the transition to their new homes.
- Connecting families to a local troop where girls can continue their Girl Scout experience.
- Continuing to provide needs-based financial aid for up to three years.
- Continuing to invite Troop 6000 girls to community events to stay connected to friends and the vibrant and supportive community they’ve built and nurtured.
Why do members of Troop 6000 sell Girl Scout Cookies?
All Girl Scout troops are “girl-led,” which means girls get to choose and direct their own activities. Selling cookies was not part of our original plan for Troop 6000, but the girls spoke up and said they didn’t want to miss out on this classic Girl Scout experience! The Girl Scout cookie program teaches valuable financial literacy and entrepreneurship skills that benefit all girls who participate.
Where does the money from their Girl Scout Cookie sales go?
100% of the proceeds from each box of cookies sold by members of Troop 6000 directly supports their troop experience and is used to pay for things like badge activity supplies, uniforms, field trips, and trips to Girl Scout Camp. Like all Girl Scouts, Troop 6000 members work together to set goals and to decide how their cookie profits are spent.
I feel bad for girls in Troop 6000.
That’s understandable. Shelters provide families with much needed emergency housing, but children are particularly distressed by the process of moving frequently, losing comfort items (stuffed animals, favorite clothes, pets, neighborhood connections), and being uprooted from their routines.
Losing your home is a traumatic event to be sure. Many families that enter the shelter system have moved two or three times before they end up in a shelter, which can negatively impact a young person’s sense of stability and community if they are uprooted from their school, neighborhood, and friends. Troop 6000 is built to provide consistency, stability, fun, and community through an uncertain and stressful time in a child’s life.
Besides becoming a Troop 6000 leader or donating, you can make change in your community by advocating for affordable housing, welcoming a shelter to your neighborhood, and contacting your local service provider to find out how to best help according to their needs.