Girl Scouts of West Central Florida

Key Milestones in Local Girl Scout History

Celebrating 100 Years of Girl Scouts

Lakeland United Fund Parade - Jan. 18, 1964

Following the start-up of the first troop by Juliette Gordon Low, the second troop in the country was formed right here in our eight-county jurisdiction in the city of Tampa. At Hyde Park United Methodist Church in 1913, the second national Girl Scout troop was led by Jessamine Flowers Link, a friend of Juliette Gordon Low.

The first Girl Scout handbook, How Girls Can Help Their Country, was written by Professor Walter J. Hoxie, a resident of Pinellas County. Professor Hoxie’s gravesite is located at the Sunnyside Cemetery in Pinellas County and is maintained by local Girl Scouts. The first Girl Scout troop in Pinellas County was led by a local teacher, Mary Russell Day, whose father was Professor Hoxie.

Girl Scouts of West Central Florida was formed Oct. 1, 2007 through a merger of Girl Scouts of Suncoast Council and Girl Scouts – Heart of Florida Council.

  • Suncoast Council was formed in 1961 through a merger of the Tampa, Upper Pinellas and South Pinellas Girl Scout councils.
    • Tampa Girl Scout Council was chartered in 1924.
    • Pinellas County Council of Girl Scouts (later St. Petersburg and then South Pinellas Girl Scout Council) was chartered in 1933.
    • Upper Pinellas Girl Scout Council was chartered in 1947.
  • Heart of Florida Girl Scout Council was formed in 1961 through a merger of Lake Ridge and Florida Land of Lakes councils. Lakeland Area Girl Scout Council joined in 1962.
    • Lakeland Council of Girl Scouts was chartered in 1942.
    • Lake Ridge Girl Scout Council was chartered in 1948.
    • Florida Land of Lakes Council was chartered in 1952.

Fascinating Facts in Girl Scouts History

In the first Girl Scout handbook, How Girls Can Help Their Country
(1913), girls learned how to start fires, rescue someone from
drowning, communicate with Morse code, fire a gun, and tie up
a burglar with eight inches of cord!

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