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.”…
…”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.
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