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Hawai`i Council History

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Oahu Just five years after Girl Scouting was founded, Kamehameha School for Girls teacher Florence Lowe organized the first official Girl Scout troop in the Hawaiian Islands based out of Honolulu. The council is the oldest council west of the Mississippi. At that time there was a second group meeting in what is now Kaka`ako. However, according to official records Lowe’s troop was the first to submit paperwork to Girl Scout headquarters. The groups became Troops One and Two, respectively, with Queen Lili`uokalani, the last Hawaiian monarch, as their sponsor. The Queen promised Troop Two her personal silk Hawaiian flag, which is now proudly displayed in our Honolulu headquarters. 

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Big Island In April of 1919, a group of women gathered at the First Foreign Church in Hilo to implement the Girl Scout program. Our Hawai`i Island charter was received in June of 1919, and Isabel Shaw became the first commissioner. When Shaw was transferred to the Continental U.S., she was succeeded by Eva Hendry, who was then followed by Charlotte Whittaker. Whittaker later filled the position of executive director for the Girl Scout Council of the Pacific, Inc.

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Maui In 1920, Clinton Childs, the director of the Alexander House Settlement on Maui, heard about scouting for girls and wrote the New York headquarters for information. Subsequently, our Maui Girl Scout Council was organized, and F.F. Baldwin was our very first commissioner. Maui Council’s campsite in Makawao was a gift from Dwight H. Baldwin and Virginia Wellington Wells in 1962. They dedicated it as Camp Pi`iholo, and we still currently use it for Girl Scouting events.

In 1924 the island of Moloka`i joined Maui’s Council. Twice during the history of Girl Scouting on the island, Moloka`i set up an independent council and twice rejoined its strength with Maui’s.

In 1926, our first campsite was purchased—five acres of picturesque land on the Pearl City Peninsula, named Camp Haleopua, meaning “house of flowers.” This site facilitated outdoor programs for 15 years before World War II made it necessary to relinquish the property. This change took us to Maunawili Ranch. 

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Kaua`i There have been Girl Scout troops on Kaua`i only since 1933, making Kaua`i our youngest council. Initially girls registered via O`ahu or directly with the National Council as lone troops because our first attempt to organize Kaua`i fell through as a result of the war. In 1950, our first National Charter was received and Sterling Dunsford was elected Kaua`i’s president.

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President Franklin Roosevelt’s wife Eleanor visited with Hawaii’s Girl Scouts on her historic visit to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific in 1943. This was an exciting day for Girl Scouts and special ceremonies were held in her honor. Her husband was the first sitting President to have visited the territory of Hawai`i in 1934.

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Camp Paumalu was donated to the council, courtesy of Hawaiian Pineapple Company in 1951. This beautiful area covered 135 acres on the North Shore of O`ahu and is situated just three miles above world-famous Sunset Beach. The camp includes four self-contained sites, as well as several central facilities including a commercial kitchen, dining area, health center, craft hut and swimming pool. In 1954, Camp Kilohana on the Island of Hawai`i was acquired and continues to serve Girl Scouts.

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In 1963, we changed our name to the Girl Scout Council of the Pacific, Inc. because our jurisdiction was extended to include not only the islands of Hawai`i, but additionally Midway and Wake. Soon after that decision, however, military dependents were withdrawn from Wake and Midway depleting the active troop population in those areas. In December 1966, President Lyndon Johnson visited Hawai`i and was greeted by more than 3,000 scouts of all ages who formed an honor guard along the streets of Waikiki.

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Mary Gaber, a dedicated troop leader volunteer for four decades, and two-time recipient of the Girl Scouts Thanks Badge, formed the Gals in Green Bowling League, an organization of loyal Girl Scout volunteers that raised funds for Girl Scout camps in Hawai`i with their league earnings. The tradition has continued for more than thirty years.

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During the 1980s about 40 % of Hawai`i’s membership was made up of girls and adults of military families, and Girl Scouting provided a unique family (ohana) for those who transferred in and out of Hawai'i.  Girl Scouts served as a place to make new friends and to share prior Girl Scout involvement at other US military bases throughout the world. 

Local artist and distinguished alumnae Peggy Hopper created the beautiful Girl Scout patch in 1989. That same year Hawai`i vocal artist Melinda Caroll composed the song "We Change the World,” which was debuted by Hawai`i Girl Scouts singing the song at the 1989 National Council Meeting. It immediately became a national theme song for GSUSA. 

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In April 1990, membership voted to change the name of our council to the Girl Scout Council of Hawai`i to reflect the areas we service, encompassing only those islands that make up the beautiful Aloha state. In March of 2007, we agreed to alter our name one final time, making sure to correctly spell Hawai`i by employing the Hawaiian diacritical mark known as the `okina. This adequately acknowledges and honors Girl Scouts’ deeply rooted history in Hawai`i.

In June 1991, Astronaut Tammy Jernigan carried a Hawai`i Girl Scout in Space patch aboard the United States Space Shuttle Columbia. Girl Scouts had the opportunity to earn this patch which focused on science and space exploration.

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Girl Scouts of Hawai`i will be celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2017. Girl Scouts throughout the islands will be holding special ceremonies, which will kick-off on March 31, 2017 at our Women of Distinction 100th Centennial celebration.

One Girl Today = One Leader Tomorrow

Today’s Girl Scouts of Hawai`i are focused on Leadership Development · Community Service Projects · Environmental Preservation Programs · STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) · Career Development · Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship ·Outdoor Experience · After School Outreach Programs