A social and civic club started in Norfolk, Virginia as a friendship between three women. The organization know as Chums, Inc. was founded by Mary Barnes, Joyce Tate Brown, and Theodora Jackson Cora. The idea for Chums came about on a cold, rainy night in February of 1946. The three founders were sitting in Barnes' red Thunderbird convertible. The war was officially over, each of the young women had a boyfriend serving in the military who wasn't home yet, and segregation was still the norm. That particular night, the three friends couldn't think of anything to do so they decided to form a social club and name it after their friendship "Chums." The trio first became friends during their college days at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia. Although the organization began as a social club, Chums soon gained a new emphasis. The group functioned locally as a club until 1952 when it was incorporated as Chums, Inc.
Through the years, the group has devoted itself to the betterment of social, civic and cultural relationships in their communities. The national theme "Listen to the Children," guides each chapter in determining its community's needs. Then the Chums develop fund-raisers and scholarships to help fulfill those needs. Many hours of volunteer work is dedicated to the success of the national theme.
Although the name is not an acronym in later years each of letters has been given its own meaning.
C - Character and charm we strive to attain. H - Honesty and humility are always our aim. U - Understanding and unselfishness we exhibit each day. M - Modesty and moderation light our pathway.
Chums Inc. has adopted the yellow tea rose as its official flower, because for Chums the yellow symbolizes "brightness" and the green symbolizes "awakening." As Chum members work in their communities to improve the lives of children, we remember our motto "A good archer is not known by his arrow but by his aim." The official logo captures both of these concepts and links them with the handshake symbol of fellowship in a shield surrounded by a sunburst.
While each local chapter establishes local activity calendars, annually all chapters commemorate Founders Day in February and attend the annual conclave held the third weekend in October. During the conclave the board of directors, which consists of national officers and chapter presidents, hold their annual meeting at which national officers are elected every two years.