History of GSME
In 2004, Girl Scouts of the USA began a process to assure the future success and growth of Girl Scouts in the 21st Century. The Core Business Strategy included a nationwide realignment of Girl Scout councils.
As part of the realignment process, on October 1, 2007, Maine’s two legacy councils – Abnaki Girl Scout Council, and Girl Scouts of Kennebec Council – merged to become Girl Scouts of Maine. The result is a high capacity organization that serves girl and adult members statewide and offers an expanded list of programs and resources.
The Legacy Abnaki Girl Scout Council | 1962 – 2007
The Abnaki Girl Scout Council was formed in May, 1962 from the merger of four existing councils (Bangor-Brewer, Central Penobscot, Presque Isle and Houlton) and many lone troops. The council encompassed the six northern and eastern counties of the state (Aroostook, Washington, Hancock, Waldo, Penobscot, Piscataquis) and the eastern portion of Somerset County.
Over the years, council headquarters were located in both Bangor and Brewer. There was a small office and shop in Presque Isle that served Aroostook County. In 2010, the council moved from it’s long-time home in Brewer to a new location in Bangor.
The council owned several camp and program properties over its 45-year history. Camp Natarswi was established in 1936 on land that was originally leased from Great Northern Paper Co.
Abnaki Girl Scout Council served 4,500 members and employed eighteen full-time and 18-24 seasonal camp staff. Liz O’Donnell served as the final CEO of Abnaki Council and Karen Hadley Keim was the Chair of the Board of Directors.
The Legacy Girl Scouts of Kennebec Council | 1963 – 2007
Girl Scouts of Kennebec Council was chartered in October 1963 – the result of a merger of eleven councils and sixty-eight lone troop communities in the ten counties of southwestern Maine. The first troops on record in this area were active in Augusta circa 1917.
Located in South Portland, the administrative office, the Ekdahl Center, was dedicated on October 27, 1991 in memory of Ingrid Ekdahl. Ekdahl was instrumental in the design and location of the new center and served as Executive Director of Kennebec Council from 1981 to 1991.
Kennebec Council’s jurisdiction covered approximately one-third of the State of Maine including Androscoggin, Cumberland, Franklin, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Sagadahoc, Somerset and York counties.
Kennebec Council employed 40 staff who served approximately 15,000 girl and adult members. Seasonal staff supports the council’s camp programs.
In addition to the administrative center, the council owned three camp properties: Camp Kirkwold, in Readfield; Camp Pondicherry in South Bridgton; and Camp Scelkit on Gerrish Island, Kittery Point.
Joan McDonald served as the final CEO of Kennebec Council and Natalie Burns was President of the Board of Directors.