Where are all the cookies? It's no hidden secret that my alter ego is the Cookie Monster, and there is nothing better than Girl Scout cookies. Unfortunately, I have yet to see one around town. What's the next best thing, I ask myself, supporting a troop that may need a little extra love.

I recently heard about Troop 6000 in New York, a troop made entirely of girls in shelters. That had me curious: does Washington have a similar troop? Turns out we do, and like me, you can support them this cookie season without even leaving your house. What a win.

In the heart of Washington, a unique troop is weaving dreams and creating a sense of normalcy for a special group of young girls. Meet Troop 40103, the first-ever Girl Scout troop based in a homeless shelter, where Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Samoas, and Do-si-dos become agents of empowerment.

Inaugural Troop at the Shelter

Established in 2016, Troop 40103 holds the distinction of being the inaugural troop in Washington based at a shelter. This unique setting provides girls with the chance to acquire diverse skills and cultivate meaningful friendships. Although their journey differs from that of housed youth, the girls of Troop 40103, along with their leaders, have cultivated a community that offers solace through routine, responsibility, skill development, and the bonds of friendship. This supportive environment becomes a source of comfort during what can be a challenging period for their families.

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Cookies as a Passport to Shared Experiences

For these girls, selling cookies is more than a fundraiser; it's a passport to an experience shared by scouts across Puget Sound. Within the walls of Mary's Place, a shelter providing refuge to families in need, Troop 40103 transforms the narrative, shifting the spotlight from housing status to cherished childhood moments – friendship, outings, and whimsical papier-mâché projects.

What They're Saying:

  • "The Mary’s Place troop loves this time of year when they're working together to reach their goal, meeting customers with enthusiasm and smiles when we do drive-thru events, and celebrating every box they sell,” said Tanita Horton, one of the troop’s leaders and Vice President of Women & Family Shelters at Mary’s Place.
  • Linda Mitchell, communications director for Mary's Place, shares the troop's journey, "The troop's numbers may fluctuate, mirroring the ebb and flow of families seeking shelter, but the essence of camaraderie and shared experiences remains constant for the 10 to 12 girls involved at any given time."
  • Tanita Horton, a Mary's Place staffer and co-founder of the troop, attests to the transformative power of a kid empowerment program like Girl Scouts in a shelter setting. Scout activities, including the beloved cookie sales, provide a haven of calm and connection for these girls navigating the challenges of homelessness.

A Heartwarming Goal: Carnival and Charity

The troop set its sights on a heartwarming goal. With a dream of reaching $2000, they aspire to throw a carnival for the shelter residents and extend a portion of what they raise to help their refugee and asylum-seeking neighbors.

Thankfully, they've now reached their goal thanks to the generosity of local Washington residents - but we can help them go above and beyond and reach for the stars.

Support Their Cause - Online and In Person

So, as Troop 40103 pitches their cookie boxes and holds drive-thru sales at the Burien shelter (12845 Ambaum Blvd SW in Burien), remember that every purchase is a step towards creating lasting memories and a sense of normalcy for these extraordinary scouts. If you can't make it in person, you can still support their cause by purchasing cookies online and contributing to their mission of spreading joy and empowerment.

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