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Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts & Campfire The whole

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  • Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts & Campfire The whole

    I heard the story about how the Girl Guides got started almost immediately after Baden-Powell started Boy Scouting. Boy Scouting came to the USA through James West (or whoever), and I always wondered why he didn't bring Girl Scouting, too. Girl Scouting was brought to the USA by Juliette Gordon Lowe after she met Baden-Powell. I thought it had something to do with North and South. James West was working in New York, and Juliette Gordon Lowe lived in Georgia.

    Well, today, I finally read the story (while looking for something else). James West had the same "problem" Baden-Powell had. All these boys had sisters who wanted to be scouts, too, so he did start another group for them: Campfire Girls. Here's the story I found on another site:

    "As early as 1907, after Baden-Powell's Boy Scout pamphlets were published, thousands of girls formed their own troops in 1908 and 1909... Baden-Powell decided some organization for girls should be formed, he had two firm requirements: 1) That they call themselves anything else, other than "scouts," and 2) that the girls' organization be separate from the boys' organization. Thus the Girl Guides were formed in Great Britain.

    "In the United States, the new BSA encountered the same situation as Baden-Powell had had with girls. James West, Chief Scout Executive, was also adamant that girls should be in a separate organization and that they should not be called "scouts." In 1911 West, Seton, and Gulick formed of the Camp Fire Girls of America, headed by the Gulicks, in an attempt to averted even the suspicion that the Camp Fire Girls were imitating the Boy Scouts.

    "The Girls Scouts (GSUSA) was developed in the United States by Juliette Low, based on Baden-Powell's Boy Scout program. This did not sit well with BSA (or Baden-Powell), as they felt that Girl Scouting would undermine the BSA's image of masculinity."

    I think Juliette's Girl Scouts called themselves Girl Guides and wore blue like the girls in Britain, but only for about a year, and they switched to "scouts" and green uniforms.

    The Campfire Girls of America is now known as Campfire USA, and it is a coed program.

  • #2
    It's very interesting to think of the different attributes and qualities we associate with the words "scout" and "guide" in a non-Scouting setting. I'm sure that was the reasoning behind the different names, as well as to distinctly separate the two programs.


    • #3
      As a dad of 1 boy and 2 girls, I find this whole thing very interesting.
      Thanks for sharing.


      • #4
        My aunt, reportedly one of the oldest living campfire girls, was one of my inspirations for becoming a crew advisor. To this day she has no clue how her immigrant family afforded it (a gift from a neighbor?) but the long summer nights camping under canvas are some of her fondest memories of an otherwise arduous childhood.


        • #5
          Actually, there was no "animosity" between Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low, and Baden-Powell at all. In fact Daisy was great friends with B-P, and his sister, Agnes Baden-Powell. She worked with Agnes, and B-P, on the newly created Girl Guides, and even organized Girl Guide troops in Scotland, and England. It was her work with the Girl Guides, and seeing the affect it had on the girls involved, that caused her to decide to bring the program to the USA.

          Daisy included girls from all backgrounds in her program, including girls that were disabled (she herself was deaf).

          Juliette Gordon Low, Agnes Baden-Powell (President of the Girl Guides), and Olave, Lady Baden-Powell (wife of B-P, and Chief Guide), were all non-traditional women who were ahead of their times.


          • #6
            I'm sorry, I have to ask......
            Why do all of these "original scouters" go by three names?


            • blw2
              blw2 commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeah, so does my wife, but that's for her driver's license..... she doesn't introduce herself that way....
              .... and that doesn't explain Baden-Powell. Oh well, doesn't really matter, just one of life's curiosities.

            • Basementdweller
              Basementdweller commented
              Editing a comment
              Your seeing more an more men take on their wives names as well..

              Of course I have yet to meet one of these fellows who I would say is the man.....most are mousey whimps.

            • Kudu
              Kudu commented
              Editing a comment
              blw2 commented

              " .... and that doesn't explain Baden-Powell."

              Robert Powell was 12 years old when his mother hyphenated the family's last name to include his father's first name, "Baden."

              As a consequence, Robert's older brother, Baden, became "Baden Baden-Powell"!

              According to Tim Jeal, she did it for the value that her husband's name recognition had in high-society, even a decade after his death. Baden Powell's book "Essays and Reviews" had become "one of the most famous books of the nineteenth century."

              In 1898 Robert was more deeply influenced by his father's best-seller "The Order of Nature" following a spiritual awakening in Kashmir where B-P came to view camping and walking in wild places as an experience which transcended practical considerations:

              "Going over these immense hills - especially when alone - and looking almost sheer down into the deep valleys between - one feels like a parasite on the shoulders of the world. There is such a bigness about it all, that opens and freshens up the mind. It's as good as a cold tub for the soul."



              This exposure to The Order of Nature "especially when alone" became the spiritual backbone of Scouting in the form of individual backwoods "Journeys," which are the final test for each rank (replaced in the United States with indoor, adult-led Scoutmaster Conferences and Boards of Review).

              Likewise, the Tenderfoot through First Class ranks themselves are earned from a competent Patrol Leader on unsupervised Patrol expeditions, replaced in the US with "controlled failure" (adult association and Wood Badge "leadership skills").
              Last edited by Kudu; 07-26-2013, 08:40 PM.

          • #7
            I was a Campfire Girl! A Bluebird, specifically. I believe it was roughly equivalent to Tiger Cubs.


            • #8
              Around here Campfire is an after school extended day care program. I'm interested to know how Campfire is run as a co-ed scouting program.


              • #9
                Originally posted by howarthe View Post
                "In the United States, the new BSA encountered the same situation as Baden-Powell had had with girls. James West, Chief Scout Executive, was also adamant that girls should be in a separate organization and that they should not be called "scouts."
                It was Baden-Powell who suggested to West that the term "Scout" should not be used for Cubs or girls' programs.

                Success in my Boy Scout recruiting efforts always came from overcoming the negative association boys have with the term "Scout," meaning the unending childhood nightmare of indoor crafts called "Cub Scouts."

                West did sue the GSUSA in 1924 over their use of the term:

                Last edited by Kudu; 07-26-2013, 08:50 PM.


                • #10
                  "...the use of the name 'Girl Scouts' inflicted psychological damage on the boys..."


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by howarthe View Post
                    "...the use of the name 'Girl Scouts' inflicted psychological damage on the boys..."
                    Can't argue with that!


                    • #12
                      Because if a girl can do it, then it can't possibly be worth doing...


                      • #13
                        My mom was a Cmpfire Girl, 1920's. I have some very interesting old photos of her and her girl chums in indian teepees and various regalia. Massachusetts and Maine campouts. Surprisingly, I can't remember her ever speaking about it, but she (and dad) was very supportive of my Scout career, Den mom and all.