KELLY MARSH/GIRL SCOUTS OF GREATER NEW YORK
Girl Scouts of Greater New York recently celebrated the five-year anniversary of Troop 6000—an initiative to bring Girl Scouting to NYC Family Shelters. Our team has proudly supported its mission through storytelling at every step of the way.
Press that Promotes Action
In February 2017, Troop 6000 was founded with a handful of Girl Scouts at a hotel-turned-shelter in Queens. The New York Times told their story on Easter Sunday, and within a day we were managing a flood of press requests. Soon, the City of New York announced a landmark investment in Troop 6000, allowing Girl Scouts of Greater New York to bring the program to dozens of family shelters. The local, national, and international press coverage inspired hundreds of new individual donors. (To learn more about Troop 6000’s origin story, check out Nikita Stewart’s fantastic book.)
Changing the Narrative
One of the goals of telling Troop 6000’s story has been to illustrate the nuances of family homelessness and to challenge stereotypes. We began asking journalists to stop calling members “homeless Girl Scouts,” which defined girls by their experience in shelters. Instead, we promoted people-first language—for example, “Girl Scouts experiencing homelessness.” We developed a Guide to Responsible Reporting to employ whenever reporters spoke with Girl Scouts from Troop 6000. Being proactive worked. We saw a significant shift in the language used to describe members.
Troop 6000’s story has continued to inspire people across the country, so it’s not surprising that in the midst of the pandemic, they went viral again. Their Digital Cookie sale took off on social media, and new press inquiries soon followed. We coordinated a virtual filming for Good Morning America that helped Troop 6000 sell more than 1 million boxes of Girl Scout cookies online, with all proceeds supporting the program.
New Outlets, New Audiences
Five years in, Troop 6000 is still going strong and garnering coverage from unexpected sources. Nickelodeon isn’t an outlet we work with often, but their viewership—youth and their parents—was a perfect audience for the Troop 6000 story. Nick News filmed Troop 6000’s in-person Girl Scout cookie sale, back after a two-year hiatus. The resulting story is a nuanced look at how the initiative has brought Girl Scouting to thousands of girls and women across two dozen New York City family shelters.