Troop 6000: The Girl Scout Troop That Began in a Shelter and Inspired the World

Ballantine. May 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781984820754. $27. SOC SCI
Mother of five Giselle Burgess wasn’t initially an eager Girl Scout troop parent, but the confidence it gave her daughters, along with a sense of belonging with other parents, made her a convert. When circumstances left her and her children homeless, Burgess’s idea to start a troop for girls in their shelter in Queens, NY, had effects she never could have imagined. Though Troop 6000 had a rough start—the shelter’s byzantine rules limited options for meeting space and other shelter parents were initially reluctant to help—it soon gained more members and national attention, leading to an expansion of the program into shelters throughout the city and the United States. Fame and TV interviews didn’t solve all problems, however, and journalist Stewart gives significant weight to the difficulties of Burgess and the troop’s founding members as they attempt to navigate their way through and out of the shelter system.
VERDICT Effective as a feel-good account of family and community working against adversity and the benefits of Scouting for girls and their parents, the book is equally valuable for its intimate views of homelessness and its day-to-day effects.

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