Girl Scouts of West Central Florida

How we began

The Girl Scout organization was founded by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912 in Savannah, Ga. In 1911, Juliette made her historic telephone call to a friend (a distant cousin), saying, “I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and the entire world, and we’re going to start it tonight!” On March 12, 1912, Juliette Low gathered 18 girls to register the first troop of American Girl Guides. Margaret “Daisy Doots” Gordon, her niece and namesake, was the first registered member. The name of the organization was changed to Girl Scouts the following year.

Local Girl Scout History

Following the start-up of the first troop by Juliette Gordon Low, the second troop in the country was formed in 1913 right here in the city of Tampa at Hyde Park United Methodist Church. The troop was led by Jessamine Flowers Link, and a historical marker in front of the church attests to the honor.

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 Sunnyland Cemetery in Pinellas County where it is maintained by local Girl Scouts. The first Girl Scout troop in Pinellas County was led by a local teacher, Mary Russel Day, who was Professor Hoxie's daughter.

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


The Girl Scout Movement

Girl Scouts is the largest educational organization for girls in the world and has influenced the more than 50 million girls, women and men who have belonged to it.