In August 2017, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee launched Troop 6000, an initiative that serves homeless girls and is modeled after similar troops launched earlier in New York City.
Through this initiative, girls currently living in shelters, affordable housing, hotels, and other low-income or temporary living spaces have an opportunity to engage in Girl Scouts by participating in focused troop programming for their specific needs. This program allows girls to participate in badge earning, outdoor experiences, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), community service, field trips, and Girl Scout traditions and celebrations.
Troop 6000 wouldn’t be complete without the wonderful leaders and volunteers who work with the girls. Read below to hear about one of our volunteer’s experiences.
WHAT BEING A LEADER OF TROOP 6000 MEANS TO ME:
The girls have changed my perspective on a lot of things. Being a leader for them has shifted the importance of relationships, commitment and leadership. Resembling a person that is there for them at all cost and also someone who is different from what they are constantly exposed to allows them to question perspectives, explore thoughts, ask questions, and expand the possibilities that life is full of opportunities.
Over the past two years, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know each girl at a personal level. Through conversations and car rides, I’ve realized how different my childhood was in comparison. These girls have often dealt with situations in life I could never have imagined. They are called to mature beyond their years, which often results in missing some of the most prevalent years they have to just be a child.
Some of my most favorite experiences with the girls were made at Girl Scout Camp. The ride to camp was full of chants, songs and laughter. Once there, I got to watch the girls act like girls: tie-dying T-shirts, shooting archery, and just walking with one another in the woods. Some of the girls don’t get the opportunity to just mindlessly wander or go on walks due to their living situations, and this was just a full day’s worth of fun with nothing to worry about. The only thing they were required to do was engage in the fun that was presented before them.
As a leader of Troop 6000, I feel humbled by the opportunity we have as a collective to create a space where questions are welcomed, loud chatter and continuous communication is greeted, and discovery, adventure, and learning together is embraced. I’ve always believed that changing the world starts with changing the mindset of one person. Troop 6000 allows me to do just that by creating lasting bonds with each and every girl in our troop. It is my absolute joy in life to make sure they know they are truly loved for who they are.