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Interview with Kathryn Ogg
November 19 , 1982
Interviewer: Marcia Sargent

Girl Scout Movement

& Biographical Information

The Girl Scout movement began at a Boy Scout rally in 1909, held at the Crystal Palace in England. Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, noticed some girls who had come to the rally calling themselves Scouts. He realized that the girls needed an organization of their own and formed the Girl Guide Association in that same year. Australia, Finland, and South Africa adopted the program and it soon spread to Denmark, Poland, and Canada. In some countries the girls are called Girl Guides, in others, Girl Scouts, but they all belong to the same movement.

Mrs. Juliette Gordon Low was the founder of Girl Scouting in the United States. She was born in Savannah, Georgia, On October 31, 1860. In 1886, she married Mr. William Low. On her wedding day, a guest threw some rice at her for good luck and some of the rice became lodged in her ear. When a physician tried to remove it, she became totally deaf in that ear. She had only partial hearing in her other ear due to an earlier childhood ear infection, but she never considered this a handicap. She and her husband moved to England after their marriage, where she led a busy social life. They never had any children. Shortly after William Low’s death, Juliette met Lord Baden-Powell and immediately became interested in the Scouting movement. In 1911, she began a Girl Guide troop in Scotland, and on March 12, 1912, she began the first United States Girl Guide Troop at her home in Savannah, Georgia. In 1913, she changed the name of the American Girl Guides to Girl Scouts.

Juliette Gordon Low was vitally interested in the international work of girl scouting and she desired to have a World Conference held in the United States. In May, 1926, delegates from twenty-six countries gathered at Camp Edith Macy, our national training school for Girl Scout leaders at Pleasantville, New York, where they were greeted by Mrs. Low and Lady Baden-Powell.

Mrs. Low remained dedicated to Girl Scouts until her death in January, 1927. Few women have been honored as much by the U.S. Government as Juliette Low. The government named a liberty ship after her during World War II, and in 1948, there was a Juliette Low U.S. Postage Stamp. In 1974, a bust of her was put into the Georgia Hall of Fame. Although there have been some changes, the basic ideals of the Girl Scouts have remained the same. Please note the changes in wording as follows:

Original Girl Scout Promise:

On my honor, I will try:
To do my duty to God and my country,
To help other people at all times,
To obey the Girl Scout Laws.

Revised Girl Scout Promise:

On my honor, I will try:
To serve God,
My country and mankind,
and to live by the Girl Scout Laws.

Original Girl Scout Laws:

-A Girl Scout’s honor is to be trusted.
-A Girl Scout is loyal.
-A Girl Scout’s duty is to be useful and to help others.
-A Girl Scout is a friend to all and a sister to every other Girl Scout.
-A Girl Scout is courteous.
-A Girl Scout is a friend to animals.
-A Girl Scout obeys orders.
-A Girl Scout is cheerful.
-A Girl Scout is thrifty.
-A Girl Scout is clean in thought, word, and deed.

Revised Girl Scout Laws:

I will do my best:
-to be honest
-to be fair
-to help where I am needed
-to be cheerful
-to be friendly and considerate
-to be a sister to every Girl Scout
-to respect authority
-to use resources wisely
-to protect and improve the world around me
-to show respect for myself and others through my words and actions.

The Girl Scout motto: "Be Prepared," and the Girls Scout slogan: "Do a good turn daily," have remained the same. Regardless of the changes in terminology, the philosophy of Girl Scouts is the same; to help girls become caring, contributing members of this world.

"The Norfolk Portsmouth Council of Girl Scouts" received its first charter on October 17, 1923. Prior to the charter, from 1918-1923, local troops were operating as "lone troops," that is, without a Council. As of 1965, the local Council serviced 11,961 girls and was continuing to grow. The growth and expansion was possible through the devoted endeavors of volunteer leadership and the undaunted financial support of Community Chest Organization (now called United Way) throughout the area.

Important dates in our local history:

1923 The Norfolk Portsmouth Council of Girl Scouts received its first Charter with three troops and forty-eight Girl Scouts - Mrs. Sara Hartigan, Commissioner.

1924 First Annual Report, Mrs. Herman Ashegren, Commissioner. Headquarters established in the Pender Building. First national training given locally.

1926 Portsmouth withdrew from the Council and operated as lone troops because of financial reasons. The Council was then known as the Norfolk Girl Scouts.

1927 Mrs. V. Hope Kellam, Commissioner; first full time Executive Director approved by National was employed, Miss Mary Diggs; membership had grown to 281. Camp Matoaka opened its first camping season on Lake Prince.

1929 Headquarters moved to top floor of Rice’s Department Store. Miss Margaret Rangley became the Director. Later in 1930, the Norfolk Council was incorporated to include troops from Virginia Beach and Knotts Island while the Executive was lending assistance to lone troops in Suffolk and Portsmouth.

1932 The National Convention of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. was held at Virginia Beach.

1934 We became the first area Council to be organized in Region III and was known as The Virginia Tidewater Area Council of Girl Scouts which included the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Norfolk and Princess Anne Counties and Knotts Island. Organization began for the development of the first Negro troops which were registered in 1935.

1936 First Day Camp for the Area Council - Mrs. Henry Vanos, Chairman.

1937 The City of Suffolk was added to the Council’s jurisdiction and remained until the organization of the Tri County Council in 1940.

1939 First Girl Scout Cookie sale was organized in this Council.

1946 First Negro Established Camp at Camp Young. Capital Accounts Improvement Fund made it possible to reopen Camp Matoaka closed from 1942-1945 because of World War II.

1955 Growth within the Area required redistricting of the territory in seven districts and Neighborhood Service Teams were well on their way.

1957 Girl Scout office was burned and only a few things were salvaged from the ashes. Fortunately, all the National Annual Reports, Camp Reports, and most of the current financial reports were saved.

1963 The Tri-County Council and Virginia Tidewater Council merged to form The Greater Tidewater Council.

On January 1, 1981, a new Council was formed in this area known as the Colonial Coast Girl Scout Council. It is comprised of the following counties: In Virginia; Gloucester, James City, Newport News, York, Hampton, Hampton Roads, Isle of Wight, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Southampton, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and in North Carolina; Hertford, Gates, Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquotann, Camden, Currituck, and Dare. Colonial Coast Girl Scout Council currently has over 12,000 registered girl members and over 3,000 registered adults. The main office is located in Norfolk, Virginia.

Kathryn Ogg has been involved in the Girl Scout movement for over fifty years. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on June 27, 1919. She moved to Norfolk in 1929. When she graduated from high school in 1938, she attended the Norfolk General Hospital School of Nursing. She has worked at Norfolk General Hospital, University of Virginia Hospital, and the Florence Crittenden Home. Currently attending Old Dominion University, Kathryn is a widow and has three grown children.