A Brief History of Division Kiev:

Division Kiev presented itself to the Russian American community of San Francisco 60 years ago.  The official date of its founding was November 19th, 1950.  On this day, the group presented “Tragedy of Russia” in the SF Russian Center.  It was a montage of songs and recitations that reflected the tragedy of Russia from 1917 to the present day.

This successful presentation was preceded by a two week summer camp, spent on a property north of San Francisco (Jordan Park) belonging to a Russian cossack.    The camp was organized by St. George Pathfinders scouts, having recently arrived in San Francisco and attracting many new members.  Camp was motivating and inspiring – all were proud to take part in the first Russian American camp in California and to contribute to its success.

Summer camps have continued annually since 1950.  Not one year has been skipped!  In the first decades,2 the camps were held in the Sierras – Trinity and Bucks Lakes – until the state of California forbid large scale camping in state parks.  In 1996, the Western American Region, which included two druzhini – Kiev and Nizhnii Novgorod in Los Angeles – acquired property by the town of Laytonville, where the organization continues conducting summer and winter camps each year.
In its first years, the division held its in-city meetings in the Russian Center, which supported the scouts and their activities and even provided the organization with a supply room for their inventory and exhibits.  Later, evermemorable Archbishop Anthony (Medvedev) graciously allowed the scouts to meet in the hall of the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Russian school below the Holy Virgin Cathedral.  Since 1997, all meetings are held in the Scouts Home, directly across from the cathedral on Geary Boulevard.

Division Kiev: first girls’ group:

Division Kiev: first boys’ group:

The first leader of the division was scoutmaster L. Gizhitsky, and he held this position for 20 years. He was followed by N. Jigalin, A. Klestoff, A. Dombrovskaya, A. Kuzubov, O. Levitsky, D. Shikaloff, M. Danich, E. Sinkevich-Williams, E. Cydzik and the current leader, scout instructor Vera Genkin-Tuttle.