It is with great sadness we share the news of the passing of a long time Girl Scout supporter and champion of civic change, Jan Kaminis Platt. She truly embodied the Girl Scout Promise and Law. The significant impact she has made to our council, the Tampa Bay area and the environment is a lasting legacy that has spanned decades and will continue for future generations.
About Jan Kaminis Platt
When Jan’s high school classmates voted her Most Likely to Succeed, they set in motion a lifelong civic and political career. She received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Florida State University and attended one year of law school at the University of Florida.
During an interview with the Tampa Bay Times in 2004, Jan shared, “Growing up as a young woman in the '50s, women weren't supposed to do this sort of thing. It was far-fetched to think that a woman could be in public office. When I came to the University of Florida law school I was the only woman in the whole law school. I majored in public administration, I applied to be a city manager to a city and they didn't even return the letter.”
Jan’s public service includes four years on Tampa City Council and 24 years as a Hillsborough County Commissioner; as well as a variety of appointments to local, state, and national committees, boards, and task forces. An avid fisherman, she was a driving force behind the creation of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council’s Agency on Bay Management, the Environmental Land Acquisition Program (ELAP), and Tampa Bay’s selection into the National Estuary Program, and she proposed the successful merger of the City and County libraries. She co-founded the Junior Discussion Group, a unit of the League of Women Voters, for young women interested in better government.
Before her time in public office, Jan served as a field director for Girl Scouts of the Suncoast Council (today known as Girl Scouts of West Central Florida) and later became president of the council.
In 1972, Jan made one of her most significant contributions to our council which sparked a career in public service. While working to organize Camp Wai Lani in Palm Harbor, Jan learned that Pinellas County voted to build a sewage treatment plant next door to the camp property that would be dumping sewage into St. Joseph’s Sound along the Gulf of Mexico. She worked to generate media attention in order to persuade the county to change their plans.
According to TBO.com, "We had Brownies write letters," she told the Tampa Tribune in 1988. "Brownies flooded Tallahassee with letters, flooded the courthouse with letters.”
“To me it was a black and white issue," she said. "Any government that would put a sewer plant immediately adjacent to a Girl Scout camp was unconscionable as far as I was concerned. But it was not that black and white to the government officials."
Because of Jan’s dedication to Girl Scouts and protecting the environment, she helped save Camp Wai Lani’s beautiful waterways.
We are honored to have worked closely with her over the years and our organization as a whole is better because of her. Jan was named a Woman of Distinction in 1992 and was inducted in the Women of Distinction Hall of Fame in 2016.
Learn more about Jan Platt’s life and impact with these articles:
- Jan Platt, Hillsborough County's voice for the environment, dies at 81
- Jan Platt, Hillsborough political force, environmental advocate, dies at 81
- A stickler for propriety and transparency, Jan Platt was more than ‘Commissioner No’
- Editorial: Jan Platt's legacy in Hillsborough County
- Who will take up where Jan Platt left off? Anyone? Anyone?
- Jan Platt: The Young Girl and the Sea