History in Hawai`i
Girl Scouting began on March 12, 1912, when Juliette Gordon Low, affectionately known as “Daisy,” called the first troop meeting in Savannah, GA. Her ambition was to get each of the 18 original Girl Scouts, who she gathered out of their isolated home environments, into community service. Juliette helped them develop a love of fresh outdoor air, an interest in exhilarating team sports and physical fitness, and so much more. The seed was planted and Juliette’s dream soon merited national recognition. On March 16, 1950, the movement was chartered by the United States Congress and spread across the country faster than you can say courage, confidence, and character!
Oahu In 1917, just five years after Girl Scouting was founded, Florence Lowe, a teacher at Kamehameha School for Girls, organized the first official Girl Scout troop here in the Hawaiian islands based out of Honolulu. At that time there was a second group meeting in what is now Kaka`ako, but according to official records, Lowe’s bunch was the first to submit their paperwork. 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, but became ill and passed away before presenting it to the girls. Lili`uokalani’s flag eventually made it into Girl Scouts of Hawai`i’s possession and is now proudly displayed in our Honolulu headquarters. The original O`ahu council formally came into existence in 1918, but was not chartered by Girl Scout’s national headquarters until May of 1919. That makes us the oldest council west of the Mississippi River!
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 until 1951, at which time Camp Paumalu was donated to the council, courtesy of Hawaiian Pineapple Company.
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 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.
Maui In 1920, Clinton Childs, the director of the Alexander House Settlement on Maui, heard about scouting for girls and wrote 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 the Dwight-Baldwins. 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. Nearly 12 years later in 1936, the island of Lana`i was organized under Maui in similar fashion.
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.
And Beyond 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 April 1990, membership voted to change the name of our council yet again. This time we would be known as 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 accent known as the `okina. This adequately acknowledges and honors Girl Scouts’ deeply rooted history in Hawai`i.
We procured and restored the historic home of the John Thomas Waterhouse, Jr. located in Nuuanu Valley for our statewide headquarters in 1992. Some of its many purposes included being a Service Center for volunteers and girls to meet as well as all of our O`ahu executive offices. Then, in 2011, we moved the O`ahu headquarters to the Ala Moana Hotel.
About Girl Scouts of Hawai`i
The Girl Scouts of Hawai`i supports almost 5,000 girl and adult members statewide with approximately 20 staff members. GSH’s headquarters is located on the island of O`ahu, with three neighbor island service centers on the islands of Hawai`i, Kaua`i and Maui. The islands of Moloka`i and Lana`i are coordinated through the Maui office.
As a local Girl Scout council, GSH is chartered by the national office, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), to be responsible for the leadership, administration and supervision of Girl Scout programs in the state of Hawai`i. GSH also helps ensure that the Girl Scout program in Hawai`i is delivered in a manner that is nationally consistent by supporting the use of GSUSA’s program resources such as the award-winning Journeys curriculum and Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. GSH is directed by a volunteer board of directors, which is composed of Girl Scout volunteers and community leaders.
Learn more about GSH’s…