Council History

The Beginning of Girl Scouts

Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1912, for a local Girl Scout meeting. She believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually.

With the goal of bringing girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air, Girl Scouts hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars, and studied first aid. Within a few years, Daisy's dream for a girl-centered organization was realized.

Today, Girl Scouts of the USA has a membership of over 3.4 million girls and adults, a significant growth from its modest beginnings nearly a century ago. In fact, more than 50 million women in the U.S. today are Girl Scout alumnae. We invite you to learn about our robust organization and its rich history. From our willingness to tackle important societal issues, to our commitment to diversity and inclusiveness—Girl Scouts is dedicated to every girl, everywhere.

Juliette Low started it all 100 years ago with a phone call and a vision. One hundred years later her spirit lives on and her vision carries forward. Join us in celebrating our 100th anniversary. 

History of Girl Scouts in Our Community

Girl Scouts  had its earliest beginnings in 1916 when troops began to meet in the Mid-South area.  Word spread quickly throughout west Tennessee and north Mississippi as troops began to take part in this wonderful new opportunity for girls.  There were lone troops throughout the area for several years before any local councils were officially chartered.  Council records document activities by these varying troops that include summer day camps and overnight camps.  

Girl Scout Council of the Mid-South was incorporated in 1935 to serve Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee.  By 1954, the council had grown to serve the counties of Fayette, Lauderdale, Shelby and Tipton, Tennessee, Crittenden County, Arkansas; and DeSoto, Marshall, Panola, Tate and Tunica counties in Mississippi.  The council office was first located in the Community Center at Second and Madison and in the home of Mrs. R. J. Lilley. The Lee Lumber Company built a model home at the Fairgrounds and the Girl Scouts were allowed to use the house as their headquarters. Of course, when the Fair was held, they moved out and returned when the festivities were over. For 23 years, Bry's Department Store furnished the council with free office space.  In 1969, the council office was moved to Dorrie Lane where it remained until December of 2001 when it was relocated to Kirby Parkway. In January of 2011, Girl Scouts Heart of the South purchased a new headquarters building at 717 S. White Station Road in Memphis.

Girl Scouts of Northeast Mississippi Council was incorporated in 1947 as the Prairie Girl Scout Association and originally served the Mississippi counties of Lowndes, Oktibbeha, Clay, Noxubee, Monroe and Winston.  Headquarters were originally located in Columbus, MS with office space given rent-free by the city at the National Guard Armory.  Lee County was added to the jurisdiction in 1948 and by 1964, the council added Chickasaw, Itawamba, Choctaw, Union, Attala, Pontotoc, Webster, Alcorn, Tippah, Benton, Prentiss, and Tishomingo counties.  Mrs. Elizabeth Gwin was Executive Director for the council from 1960 until 1974 and established a resident camp program for children with special needs in 1975 which continues today as the Elizabeth Gwin Session for Special Children.  Maintaining a Columbus Service Center, the council office was moved to Tupelo in 1979 and additional service centers were added in Corinth and Starkville.  The Northeast Mississippi Council moved to The Link Centre on West Main St. in Tupelo. This regional service centers was sold in 2013 and the new center is located at 1140 West Main St., Tupelo, MS. In July 2014, the Columbus Service Center was closed, with those operations moving to the Tupelo Service Center.

Girl Scouts of Reelfoot Council was chartered on January 3, 1959 to serve girls in 18 counties of West Tennessee.  Paris, TN had the first known Girl Scout troop in this jurisdiction in 1925.  Madison County was the first county to have an official formation and the jurisdiction grew to include the counties of Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lake, Lauderdale, McNairy, Obion, and Weakley.  The original headquarters, built for Girl Scouts by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, was referred to as the “Little House” on Lane Avenue in Jackson, TN and the lot was purchased in 1950 for $100 which was donated by Mr. Mack Morris. The Reelfoot Council later purchased the current regional service center located at 1007 Old Humboldt Road in Jackson, TN. 

Girl Scout Council of Northwest Mississippi was chartered on December 15, 1959 to serve the counties of Bolivar, Carroll, Calhoun, Coahoma, Grenada, Holmes, Humphrey, Issaquena, Lafayette, Leflore, Montgomery, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Washington, and Yalobusha in Mississippi.  The council office was headquartered in Greenwood.  When the council was organized, it served 77 troops and 1192 girls. In January of 2010, the Greenwood Service Center was closed and those operations were moved to Grenada, MS.  

Today's Girl Scouts Heart of the South Council was born from the merger of the Mid-South, Northeast Mississippi, Reelfoot and Northwest Mississippi Girl Scout Councils in June of 2008.  The area encompasses 59 counties in north Mississippi, west Tennessee and Crittendon County, Arkansas. Our council borders, Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, The Mississippi River, Alabama and Middle Mississippi.  The combined girl membership is over 9,300 girls and 3,100 adult members, approximately 45 dedicated staff members, three camping facilities and four owned or leased regional service centers.  The headquarters are located in Memphis, Tennessee at 717 S. White Station Road. 

We've made the resources you need easy to find!

  • /assets/1467/20140816_113246.jpg
  • /assets/1467/20140816_100837.jpg
  • /assets/1467/20140816_095418.jpg
  • /assets/1467/img_6443.jpg
  • /assets/1467/img_6375.jpg
  • /assets/1467/dscf0044.jpg
  • /assets/1467/dscf0040.jpg
  • /assets/1467/img_6310.jpg
  • /assets/1467/img_6263.jpg