"But this new troop was unique. It belonged to girls who did not know where they belonged." ~ 33%
I was a Girl and Boy Scout for a brief stint. One of my best friends was a member of the cool scout society. She participated in amazing after-school activities, wore a vest full of earned patches and had a group of friends outside of our normal school buddies. When it came time for cookie season, I wanted in! Well it was short-lived because I ate more cookies than I sold, couldn't recite the oath on demand, was nowhere near outdoorsy and had no interest in making s'mores by a fire I should've helped build.
The same best friend invited me along on a camping trip the next summer. Her dad was the leader of a Boy Scout troop. I was game for the promise of sun, splashing in a lake, throwing darts and the shooting range with cute slightly older boys. I packed a super girly Strawberry Shortcake sleeping bag, blue gingham swimsuit and a book to read for the road. We were so excited on the way to camp and was good and hungry by the time we arrived and unpacked.
The boys pitched tents and started a campfire while my best friend and I settled into an indoor cabin. Silly me was expecting a restaurant-style dinner. Imagine my disappointment and disgust when I realized dinner was some kind of campfire hash with canned sardines and saltine crackers as an appetizer. At that point, I knew I wasn't going to make it a whole weekend as a Boy Scout. I went home the very next morning before the sun could even think about rising.
"The Girl Scouts were more than just cookies, field trips, and sleepovers. Selling cookies promoted self-confidence and improved math proficiency; volunteering encouraged compassion and a sense of community; the tasks required to earn badges taught a wide range of practical skills and discipline." ~ 14%
I have much respect for Girl Scouts. It is more than just a notion. It takes real commitment, dedication to service and a strong community. It is an honor and a lifelong membership. So I was super excited to see a new book to be released about the true story of Troop 6000: The Girl Scout Troop That Began in a Shelter and Inspired the World.
Giselle Burgess was a young mother of five when life hit her hard. Even though she had a full -time job, the steadily increasing rent and mounting bills made her fall behind and an eviction soon followed. She entered the New York City's shelter system. The family of six lived in a single hotel-like room with only two beds and one bathroom for nearly a year.
"What good are keys if you don't have a home?" ~ 63%
In an attempt to help her daughters and other girls living in the shelter, Giselle found a way for them to not feel shame of being homeless. They could develop skills, form friendships, and serve the community while at it. She established the Girl Scouts of Greater New York Troop 6000 in the homeless shelter. In time, it expanded from one shelter to fifteen in NYC and more around the United States. Around this time in 2017, homelessness had increased in the country. Journalist, Nikita Stewart, followed Troop 6000 for more than a year and witnessed the success, challenges, highs and lows of this unique group of girls, passionate leaders and dedicated parents.
Unlike my own scouting experience, the true story of Troop 6000 is so joyful and is a reminder of how something great manifests when we come together for a common goal and purpose. The level of support is admirable. I am glad that Nikita Stewart used her journalistic abilities to pen a book about such a good true story. And thank God for Giselle Burgess being a go-getter willing to share details of her life story. It is both inspiring and a pleasure to read.
Happy Early Pub Day, Nikita Stewart! Troop 6000 will be available Tuesday, May 19. In the meantime, tis the season to buy boxes of girl scout cookies! 🍪
Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.
Author: Nikita Stewart
Published: May 2020
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤