A family homeless shelter in southwest Iowa is starting a Girl Scout troop next month for young ladies who stay in the facility.

Jaymes Sime, executive director of the Micah House in Council Bluffs, says he read about a Girl Scout troop in New York City that was expanding into several homeless shelters and thought it was a great idea.

Sime says, “I took to Facebook and tagged Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa and basically said, ‘Our doors are open and we love cookies, so if you want to start a troop, give us a call,’ and they did.”

Fifty-five percent of the shelter’s occupants are children. Micah House plans to host Girl Scout meetings once a week.

The average stay for a family at the shelter is one month and Sime hopes girls who leave the shelter can stay involved or join another troop.

“We will open that up for girls as they transition out into the community but we will also hope to provide them information about troops in the community,” Sime says. “If it’s something they choose to continue with long-term in the community, we’ll say, ‘Great, fantastic,’ and if they want to come back to Micah House, we’ll say the same thing, ‘Great, fantastic, come back.'”

The Micah House is one of the few homeless shelters in the country to host a troop. Sime is very optimistic it will be a positive influence for the girls.

“If we all trace back through our childhoods and even our adulthoods, yeah, we have positive friends and family but sometimes, it’s those individuals that are outside those circles that maybe have the greatest impact on our lives,” Sime says. “If we can provide those avenues — it’s tremendous for our volunteers as well.”

Starting February 5th, girls staying at the shelter will be able to join the troop. They’ll learn a host of skills, have a chance to earn badges and sell those famous Girl Scout cookies to raise funds.

Thanks to Karla James