History in Hawai'i

Girl Scouting was founded in the United States of America by Juliette Gordon Low on March 12, 1912 in Savannah, Georgia with 12 original members. The movement was chartered by the United States Congress on March 16, 1950 and today numbers over three and three-quarter million members. Girl Scouts of the USA is one of the 87 member countries of the World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides.

1917 Girl Scout Parade in Honolulu
In Honolulu in 1917, five years after Girl Scouting began, Miss Florence Lowe, a teacher at Kamehameha School for Girls organized the first Girl Scout troop in the Hawaiian islands. Another group of girls in Kaka‘ako (a Honolulu factory district at that time) met and calling themselves Girl Scouts claimed the distinction of having been the first troop. However, the Kamehameha girls completed their organization first. Their papers reached the New York Girl Scout Headquarters first and they were considered Troop One officially.
The Kaka‘ako girls became Troop Two. Queen Lili'uokalani (the last Hawaiian monarch) was asked to be their sponsor and promised the girls her own Hawaiian Flag. She was unable to greet the Girl Scouts as she was ill and passed away before she could give the girls her flag personally. The silk banner presented to the Hibiscus Troop, as Troop Two was known, is now in the Girl Scout Council of Hawaii's first statewide historic Headquarters.

Practicing First Aid Skills

The original O'ahu Council was organized in 1918 and first chartered by National Headquarters in May of 1919. It is one of the oldest Girl Scout councils west of the Mississippi River. Miss Agnes Judd was elected the first commissioner and served in this position for ten years. In those early days, island Girl Scouts wore either khaki or white uniforms.

In 1926 the first campsite was purchased -- five acres on Pearl City Peninsula. It was named Camp Haleopua which means "house of flowers." This site, rich in natural beauty and Hawaiian lore, served the outdoor program on a year-round basis for the next fifteen years. The critical needs of World War II made it necessary to give up Camp Haleopua, and Maunawili Ranch was leased from Mr. M.K. Castle. Camp Maunawili served the Girl Scouts until 1951 when Camp Paumalu, a present council campsite on O'ahu, was donated by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company.

During the period of World War II, Girl Scouts and their leaders found themselves a channel of service for their country. In 1941, under the direction of Mrs. E.E. Black, Commissioner, a canteen was established at Central Union Church Parish Hall. Here, Girl Scouts served meals on a twenty-four hour basis to Boy Scouts and leaders who were assisting in nearby areas that had been bombed.


Rose Lum-Lung Kali
Girl Scout from 1917-1918

History of Girl Scouting on the Neighbor Islands

In April of 1919 a group of women gathered at the First Foreign Church in Hilo to organize Girl Scouting. Their charter was received in June of 1919 with Mrs. Isabel Shaw, the minister's wife, and first commissioner. When Mrs. Shaw was transferred to the mainland she was succeeded by Mrs. Eva Hendry. It was to this Council of Hawaii that Miss Charlotte Whittaker came as the Executive. Miss Whittaker was later to serve as Executive Director of the Girl Scout Council of the Pacific.

In 1920 the Director of the Alexander House of Settlement on Maui, Mr. Clinton Childs, heard about scouting for girls and wrote national headquarters in New York for information. Subsequently, the Maui Girl Scout Council was organized with Mrs. F.F. Baldwin as their commissioner.

In 1924 the island of Moloka'i joined the Maui Council. Twice during the history of Girl Scouting on the island, Moloka'i set up its own independent council and twice returned to join their strength with Maui's.

In 1936 the island of Lāna'i was organized and also joined with the Maui Council. The Maui Council's campsite in Makawao was a gift of the Dwight Baldwins and later dedicated as Camp Piiholo, which is still used by Maui Girl Scouts today.

Kaua'i was the youngest council. There have been Girl Scout troops on Kaua'i since 1933, but registered either through the O'ahu Council or directly with the National Council as lone troops. The first attempt to organize Kaua'i as a Council was made in 1949, but dropped because of the disruption of the war years. It is interesting to note that during those early years, the YWCA, along with the O'ahu Girl Scout Council, helped give staff service to girls on Kaua'i who wanted Girl Scouting. In 1950 the first National Charter was received by Kaua'i and Mrs. Sterling Dunsford was elected their first president.

On October 5, 1963 at Washington Place, the Girl Scout Council of O'ahu officially extended jurisdiction to include the islands of the State of Hawaii, Midway, and Wake. Military dependents were later withdrawn from Wake in the late 1960s and from Midway in the fall of 1978 so they no longer have active Girl Scout troops on these islands. At that time our charter was known as Girl Scout Council of the Pacific, Inc.

In April 1990 the membership voted to change the name of the council to the Girl Scout Council of Hawaii which reflects its current jurisdiction encompassing the State of Hawai'i.

In 1992, the Girl Scout Council of Hawaii procured and restored the historic home of the John Thomas Waterhouse, Jr. for it's permanent statewide headquarters (photo). The Girl Scout Hale, located in Nu'uanu Valley on O'ahu serves as a Service Center, Girl Scout Merchandise Shop (Beehive) and Executive Offices.

In March of 2007 the membership voted to change the name of the council to correctly spell Hawai'i, using the `okina,  which acknowledges and honors Girl Scouts’ deeply rooted history in Hawai'i. 


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Adults involved with Girl Scouts provided almost 118,000 hours of volunteer services in their communities last year, valued at over $2.2 million.

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