Girl Scout Troop 1 based in Coronado was the first Girl Scout organization in all of greater San Diego. Pearl Szymanski (left) stands with Anne Burnett, two of the Coronado leaders, and two of the girls in the organization. Staff photo by Fiona Rasak.

The Coronado Girl Scout troop, also known as Troop 1, was the inaugural group in San Diego, starting in 1917.

According to, “A Girl Scouts mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”

Six years ago, the Coronado troop celebrated its 100 year anniversary, and it is going strong today with activities and cookie sales.

1912 origins

In 1912,  the national council started on the east coast, and Girl Scouts started in greater San Diego five years later when a lot of prominent people in the community wanted young girls to experience scouting.

There were three “Troop 1s” in the greater San Diego council, but local leader Anne Burnett’s troop is the only one still in existence today.

Girl Scout troops get a number and the girls usually start in Daisies or Brownies and then at the end of high school they tend to retire the number.

However, the service unit didn’t want to lose the Troop 1 distinction and had decided that it was something that was important to them, local leaders say.

“The organization was young and there were many beginning troops and council records show that there were at least three Troop 1s, and we were so excited” said troop leader Pearl Szymanski. 

Currently there are about 1,400 troops in the San Diego Girl Scout region, and Girl Scouts of USA will celebrate its 111th anniversary on March 12.

On that day over a century ago, Juliette Gordon Low officially registered the organization’s first 18 members in Savannah, Georgia.

Generations in Troop 1

Since Troop 1 has been around for so long, Burnett has even had some kids whose mothers have been in the troop.

“ What’s been fun for me at least, since my daughter is 30, is having my old next door neighbor’s  granddaughter in my troop,” Burnett said. “My old next door neighbor had even been the troop leader and her daughter had been in the junior troop.”

Coronado is special to Troop 1 since there are so many U.S. Navy families involved.

Szymanski believes that the troops’ military ties and  community service spirit have kept them going all these years. 

Burnett said she has enjoyed meeting so many different families since Troop 1 remains a Brownie troop, which means the girls rotate in and out. Brownies are usually in second and third grade and around 7 to 9 years old. 

 Recently Troop 1 has been hard at work with cookie sales, Burnett said.

“It teaches them a lot of financial responsibility, and it teaches them good math skills and marketing. The sales help them engage with customers and deliver good customer service,” she said.

More News

Fiona Rasak is a senior multi-media journalism major graduating in May from Point Loma Nazarene University. Previously she worked as a staff writer for the Point Newspaper and the Mariner yearbook.

The Coronado News is a 24-hour news website and direct-mail free newspaper to all residents and businesses of Coronado as we cover city government, schools, businesses, entertainment and the Navy.