Juliette Gordon Low had a dream.
When she brought that first group of girls together in Savannah, Georgia in early March 1912, she wanted them to explore new possibilities and the wonders of the world around them—and she wanted them to do it together.
Along with Juliette Gordon Low—also known as Daisy, these first Girl Scouts blazed trails and redefined what was possible for themselves—and for girls everywhere. They played basketball. They hiked, swam, and they camped. They learned to tell time by the stars. But most importantly, they shared a sense of adventure and a belief that they could do anything. And just like Girl Scouts do across the country and around the world today, they offered a helping hand to those in need and worked together to make their corner of the world a better place.
Over the past century, Daisy's small circle of girls has grown to include more than 59 million Girl Scout alumnae—united across distance and decades by lifelong friendships, shared adventures, and the desire to do big things to make the world a better place.
Read more about Juliette Gordon Low and Girl Scout history.
“Truly, ours is a circle of friendships, united by our ideals.”
— Juliette Gordon Low
Nine years after Juliette Gordon Low began the Girl Scout movement in Savannah, Georgia in 1912, a troop was formed in Austin on June 14, 1921. Austin Girl Scout Troop #1 registered 16 members with the National headquarters.
In May of 1926, Austin troops were granted their first council charter and were organized as the Austin Girl Scout Council. In 1936, the first African American Girl Scout troop west of the Mississippi was formed in the Austin based council. A name change in 1946 to the Texas Colorado Lakes Council took place to incorporate eighteen counties. With additional location changes, the council eventually became the Girl Scouts-Lone Star Council with its main office in north Austin.
In 1937, shortly following the formation of the Austin Council, the San Angelo Council was chartered. It was later renamed the Frontier Girl Scout Council as more communities were added. By 1960 the council had grown to include many outlying areas and was renamed the El Camino Council.
Girl Scouting continued to grow in Texas as the North Central Texas Area Council formed in 1947 with 900 registered girls. In 1962, the Bryan-College Station Area Council joined the North Central Texas Area Council to form the Bluebonnet Council.
Meanwhile Girl Scouting was taking hold in the eastern part of Central Texas. The Heart of Texas Girl Scout Area Council took their first meeting minutes in 1949, even before their official incorporation. As of 1949, the council was serving over 2,000 girls. Finally, under executive director Nell Cox, the Heart of Texas Girl Scout Area Council was incorporated in 1951 to serve 15 counties.
Today these four councils, Bluebonnet, El Camino, Heart of Texas and Lone Star, and all of their properties make up Girl Scouts of Central Texas (GSCTX). Headquartered out of the Lone Star Program Center in Austin, the council serves nearly 20,000 girls in 46 counties.
Meeting space and camp grounds are important to Girl Scouting. For nearly 70 years the councils of Central Texas have been working hard to ensure that Girl Scouts have the space they need to be, well, girls. Among the council’s 31 properties, we boast 4 residential camps.
- Camp Texlake, 124.4 acres on Lake Travis assigned to the Lone Star Council by the Lower Colorado River Authority, was dedicated on July 17, 1949. That summer nearly 400 girls attended camp.
- Camp Wood Lake, located on the shores of Lake Brownwood, was first established in 1955. On June 10, 1956 the camp was officially dedicated.
- Camp Kachina, 248 acres on beautiful Lake Belton, was purchased in 1957. The camp was officially dedicated in 1960, the same year it first welcomed summer campers.
- Camp Jo Jan Van was donated in 1958 by Joe and Mable VanderStucken. The primitive residential camp is currently undergoing infrastructure renovations to best serve girls.