Getting where they want to be is going to become much easier for the members of Girl Scouts Troop 6000. Girl Scouts of Greater New York and Uber have launched a new partnership to provide transportation for Troop 6000, the program specifically serving girls in the New York shelter system.
Through a $15,000 grant, Uber will help Girl Scouts and volunteers from across the five boroughs come together for field trips and other excursions.
This is the first transportation partnership for Troop 6000, which celebrated its fifth anniversary in March. In 2017, the first-of-its-kind program serving girls and women living in shelters held its very first meeting at a shelter for homeless families at the Sleep Inn Hotel in Long Island City with just seven girls.
Giselle Burgess and her children were living there after the home she rented in Flushing was sold. Burgess, a community development specialist for Girl Scouts of Greater New York, approached then-COO Meredith Maskara about creating a troop for her daughters and other children living in the shelter. The program has since expanded across the five boroughs. A resident of Sunnyside, Maskara currently serves as the CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater New York.
“Transportation is a fundamental component of Troop 6000 and our commitment to making sure every young person in New York City has the opportunity to be a Girl Scout,” Maskara said. “We are incredibly grateful for Uber’s support in bringing together young people to share in the Girl Scout experience, which helps Girl Scouts build confidence and become leaders in their communities.”
To make the program more accessible and lessen the time commitment for families, Troop 6000 provides transportation to and from every field trip, camp visit or other Girl Scout activities held outside of a shelter. The program brings the Girl Scout experience to young girls who wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. Girl Scouts Troop 6000 have weekly meetings, earn badges in subjects ranging from STEM to business and entrepreneurship, explore New York City in field trips and attend camp in upstate New York — all at no expense to families.
“We are honored to play a role in helping Troop 6000 girls get the most out of their Girl Scout experience,” Uber spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said. “Access to transportation should never be a barrier and we are happy to alleviate this concern to ensure these girls are able to spend time together exploring all there is to see and do.”
A perfect example of these field trips occurred last month on the Long Island City waterfront, where members from Girl Scouts of Greater New York acted as citizen scientists by participating in oyster monitoring in Gantry Plaza State Park. Girl Scouts learned about how oysters and other bivalves clean the water in the estuary and helped New York State Park scientists gather data about oysters living in Queens park’s waters.
Oyster reefs have been reintroduced to the East River for their environmental benefits, which include providing a habitat for other species, protecting the shoreline against storms and filtering pollutants from the water.
“Field trips like these help Girl Scouts growing up in New York City learn to love and protect the important ecosystems in their own communities,” Maskara said. “Through programs like this, young people discover problems, connect them to their own lives, take action to make the world a better place for all of us and have fun while they’re doing it!”