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GSUSA Troop 6000's for homeless girls

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...The Mobley family moved into Safe Haven Family Shelter where they found the safety and support systems they needed, and an opportunity they never expected — a chance for Nevaeh to become part of Tennessee's first-ever Girl Scout troop for homeless girls.

All of the members of Nashville's Troop 6000 live or once lived at Safe Haven, a small housing unit on the south side of the city that provides a temporary home for families in need.

The troop is modeled after a similar troop launched earlier this year in New York City. It is one of just a handful across the country.


Troop 6000 formed in Nashville in August, with 15 girls ages kindergarten to 8th grade. They are led by three adult volunteers, Tricia Mora, Ami Spicer and Kerri Woodberry, and one high school student, Courtney Rabb — a star soccer player who is earning her Gold Award, the highest Girl Scout honor.

The meetings are weekly, every Saturday morning in a community room at Safe Haven.

The outings — like a field trip the girls are about to take — are something to look forward to, particularly in a place where few of the girls participate in other activities due to cost or transportation issues.

Troops for homeless girls are rare across the country because of how often girls may move locations.


Nationally, the Girls Scouts of the USA does not track of the number of councils serving homeless girls. But over the past three decades, troops have formed in shelters in Atlanta, Broward County, Fla., and San Pedro, Calif., according to the New York Times. A few others have served girls living in migrant worker camps and public housing, the Times reported.

In February, New York City established its first Troop 6000, inspiring Nashville to do the same. The number 6000 emerges from New York's Girl Scout Council. There, troop numbers are determined by the city's five boroughs, according to the Times. The 1000s are in the Bronx, the 2000s are in Brooklyn and so on.

Because these girls would not necessarily identify one specific area as their home, Girl Scout leaders extended the numerical sequence, the Times wrote.

In Nashville, the name carried forward in companionship. Though the troop may have formed under nontraditional circumstances, the girls do what all other Girl Scout troops do.


Ready for their field trip, the girls scramble into a van and head across town, amped for a morning filled with activity.

Inside the headquarters, they put on their vests and sashes — blue for the younger Daisies, brown for Brownies, and green for the older Girl Scouts — and pose for a picture.

The Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee is covering all costs for Troop 6000, including a $25 membership fee and $75 uniform and badges for each girl; $200 for snacks and troop supplies; and $400 for programs and field trips. Every girl also will go to one of the Girl Scouts local summer camps for a week, normally $350, completely for free.

But today, the focus is on the girls giving back.

They start the first of the day's three badge-earning activities by making emergency kits for those in need.

They fill boxes with flashlights and wet wipes and crackers, and compose hand-written notes for the recipients.

"I love myself," 7-year-old Kennedy Washington's writes in crayon. It's meant to be an inspiring message for the person who receives her kit, but for the bubbly girl, it is just as reflective of herself.

As they work, Spencer talks with the girls. "Why do you think that it's important as Girl Scouts to help other people?" she asks.

"To show we care about other people," Nevaeh Mobley earnestly responds.

Just as others care for them.

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Edited by RememberSchiff
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