Saturday, June 18, 2016

Camp Fire Girls

My friend Mary Alice Sanguinetti has a blog on the Camp Fire Girls and their history.

Her favorite camp was Yenis Hante.

She told me that initially the Boy Scouts did not want girls to be scouts, so the Camp Fire Girls were founded as a separate kind of organization.

Girl Guides in the US began in 1911 when Juliette Gordon Low, an American who had become involved in the Girl Guides during years she spent in England, came to the US and founded Girl Guides.  In 1913 they were renamed Girl Scouts, despite objections from the Boy Scouts, whose chief executive thought that allowing girls as well as boys to be called "scouts" would weaken his organization.

For a while the Camp Fire Girls organization was growing faster than the Girl Guides.

See also:

including this excerpt:
Gordon Low believed that gaining support from prominent people would help legitimize her organization as the official sister organization to the Boy Scouts. Her biggest competition was the Camp Fire Girls, which was formed in part by James E. West, the Chief Executive of the Boy Scouts of America and a strong proponent of strict gender roles.[52] In March 1912, Gordon Low wrote to the Camp Fire Girls inviting them to merge into the Girl Guides, but they declined even after Baden-Powell suggested that they reconsider.[53] West considered many of the activities that the Girl Guides participated in to be gender-inappropriate, and he was concerned that the public would question the masculinity of the Boy Scouts if they participated in similar activities.[52]
Although the Girl Guides were growing, the Camp Fire Girls were growing at a faster rate, so Gordon Low traveled to England to seek counsel from the British Girl Guides. By the time she returned to America in 1913, she had a plan to spread Girl Guiding nationwide by changing the name from Girl Guides to Girl Scouts, establishing a national headquarters, and recruiting patrons outside of Georgia.[54] Upon returning to Savannah, she learned that the Savannah Girl Guides had already renamed themselves to Girl Scouts because “Scout” reminded them of America’s pioneer ancestry.[40] West objected to the name change, saying that it trivialized the name of scout and would cause older Boy Scouts to quit. Baden-Powell gave Gordon Low his support on her use of the term scout, although he preferred the term Guide for the British Girl Guides.[40]
In 1913, Gordon Low set up the Girl Scouts national headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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