On December 9, 2016 lifelong Girl Scout Josephine (Josie) Nicholls Hookway was awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine at The Bonner House in Bath, NC. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is among the most prestigious awards conferred by the Governor of North Carolina and is awarded to persons for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and their communities that is above and beyond the call of duty and which has made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina.
Hookway accepted the award for her lifelong service to the state, including her dedication and commitment to Girl Scouting. A Girl Scout troop leader in the 1960s and 1970s, Hookway was pivotal in helping the local organization integrate Girl Scout troops while modeling the organization’s rich history of diversity and inclusion. Under her leadership, girls from all races, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds were able to participate in Girl Scouting in a safe and supportive all-girl environment. Additionally, as an outdoor enthusiast, Hookway volunteered to lead the financial planning and programming support for the council’s three camp properties, ensuring that the outdoors remained an important part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. She later served as the president of the Board of Directors for the Girl Scout Council of Coastal Carolina council, which later became Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines.
Hookway’s path to leadership didn’t come without trying times. Immigrating to North Carolina from Great Britain with her husband and young daughter in 1958, Hookway was faced with the daunting challenge of building a new life in a new land. With no nearby family or friends, Hookway relied on her nonstop energy, perseverance, good humor, and experience as a Girl Guide, the international arm of the Girl Scouts organization that allowed her embrace her new adventure with excitement and confidence. It was not long after moving to Grifton, North Carolina that Hookway met Janet Hasley, a fellow Girl Scout.
“Two days into my arrival, there was a knock on the door. This woman [Janet Hasley] greeted me saying that she had heard I was a Girl Guide and would I like to help lead a troop of Girl Scouts with her”, shared Hookway. “And that’s how it goes: flash forward a few years, and I’m the President of the Board at just 39 years old!”
Thanks to Hookway’s dedication and leadership, hundreds of local girls participated in the Girl Scout program and became young women of courage, confidence, and character. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine ceremony honored Hookway for her numerous achievements within the Girl Scouting community as well as recognized her service and work in nursing education and practice, community involvement as part of the Historic Bath Commission, member of the School Integration Council, and Board Member of the English Speaking Union, among many other accomplishments.