Give & Take: Troop 6000 - Selling Cookies & Building Community
Prosek is known for being an “Army of Entrepreneurs.” We have a collaborative culture where we are constantly innovating to do the best we can. So as we reach Women Entrepreneurs Day on November 19, what better way to celebrate than by reflecting on a group whose mission is to uplift young girls in New York’s homeless shelters, while encouraging them to be entrepreneurs in their own right?
In many ways, Troop 6000 is your typical Girl Scout troop—they love earning badges, making new friends, and learning important leadership skills. What makes Troop 6000 stand out is that their program was created to empower girls in New York City’s Shelter System and welcome them into the Girl Scouts network. What I love about this troop is that they aren’t separated from the broader Girl Scouts community because of their living situation, but rather, they’re empowered to meet other girls like them while still gaining the business savvy that Girl Scouts encourages all their troops to learn.
Troop 6000 was originally founded in 2017 by a mother named Giselle who realized that she wanted her daughters to still experience the Girl Scout life even if they were in a shelter. Her personal experience while homeless made her realize that these opportunities should be available for everyone. By 2018, T6K was able to expand across four boroughs in New York. From there, the girls were able to not only go to the Girl Scout Camp, Camp Kaufmann, but also be able to do interviews on live TV and advocate for the wellbeing of youth, specifically those in shelters or at risk of homelessness.
During my senior year of college, I first learned about Troop 6000 when I had the opportunity, through my school, to attend that year’s Girl Scouts Take the Lead event in Philadelphia. While there, I got to meet other women leaders in the Philadelphia region as well as some local Girl Scouts. Learning about T6K at that event really resonated with me, and it took me back to my childhood. As a young girl from Brooklyn, I wanted to be a scout when girls at my school joined, but I was too afraid of the financial weight it could add to my family. I also was nervous about joining, then experiencing awkward moments when I met other Girl Scouts who might’ve not understood my background and life experiences.
Though no scouts from Troop 6000 were able to make it that night, it was great to have a conversation with some of their Troop Masters (who all volunteer their time in order to make T6K free and accessible). The adults, parents, leaders, and professionals surrounding T6K truly want to see these girls blossom into their greatest selves. From having social workers speak with the girls, to hosting virtual troop meetings for those who cannot attend in person, T6K is clearly about enhancing the wellbeing of the scouts.
Case in point: all Troop 6000 volunteers and staff must undergo background checks, sensitivity trainings, and education pertaining to how homelessness affects those in New York and what they can do to advocate for those facing homelessness. Through these trainings and materials, someone hoping to volunteer with T6K will get to learn about both personal stories and statistics surrounding homelessness in New York City—including how over 20,000 children are homeless in NYC and how some families are “doubled-up” (a term meaning that someone/some people is/are living with another group in order to prevent being homeless). You hear stories from parents and girls about having to move out or having to switch shelters.
Troop 6000 understands that a lot of their scouts go through their own intense journeys, however this doesn’t mean that their personal situation defines them. The scouts still get to go on field trips, learn public speaking skills, earn badges, and be a Girl Scout just like any other scout from around the world. If any of the girls get access to permanent housing, they can still be part of Girl Scouts and may even gain coverage for the typical fees for up to three years so that they can continue to be an active participant in their new troop.
That event in Philadelphia opened my eyes to something I never would’ve known existed had I not attended, and it inspired me to begin volunteering with T6K once I moved to New York after college. Since doing so, I have gotten the chance to not only support the city that raised me, but also help pave a path to greatness for other young women.
If you’d like to like to learn more about T6K or even want to order cookies from them, feel free to check them out here.