and the Boy Scouts of America
- by Alice
I grew up in the '50s and '60s,
knowing that the "sister organization" to the
Boy Scouts of America was Camp Fire Girls. The two
organizations have a definite historical relationship.
The Camp Fire Girls organization was begun in the United
States with the joint efforts of some of the very people
who were instrumental in founding Boy Scouts of America,
and by the sisters and wives of the men who built BSA in
this country. James E. West, first Chief Scout for BSA,
always made clear that Camp Fire Girls was the
"sister" organization to BSA; West served as
the top executive officer of BSA from 1911 to 1943.
In more recent years, that historical
relationship between Camp Fire and Boy Scouts of American
is sometimes forgotten. Below are a few traces of
helps Smokey Bear.
To help children and their parents remember
Smokey's fire prevention message, a new Smokey
Bear poster was produced every year. This one
shows a Boy Scout and a Camp Fire Girl helping
The Boy Scout is in the traditional olive colored
BSA cap with the familiar red neckerchief. The
Camp Fire Girl is in the uniform of the 1950s:
navy blue beanie cap with the crossed logs and
flame symbol, white blouse, and red neckerchief.
Note that a Camp Fire Girl closed her neckerchief
differently from a Boy Scout: A Scout pulled both
corner points of his 'kerchief straight down into
the "ring" which held the two sides
side by side, points pointed downward. A Camp
Fire Girl, however, threaded the corner points
into the ring from opposite sides; thus, the two
sides crossed over and formed an "X."
|In 1985, the
United States Postal Service
issued a block of four stamps.
The block had stamps recognizing
YMCA, Boy Scouts, Camp Fire,
and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
O it's dip and
sway and slip away
Into a world of blue.
The Camp Fire gleams like a home of dreams
From the Scout patrol's canoe.
shows two people paddling a canoe. In front is
someone in the early costume of a Camp Fire Girl,
and the flag in front shows crossed logs and a
flame, the symbol for Camp Fire. In back is
someone in a Boy Scout's uniform, with the
American flag flying behind. The verse is by
Florence J. Martin.
|Here is another
postcard from the 1920s, with verse by Florence
J. Martin. This one seems like a valentine:
Fire Girl, my heart is scouting,
And there isn't any doubting
What is knows.
All the Secret Code is showing
In your cheek where fire is glowing
...... .. .....
The girl is dressed in
traditional Camp Fire "Indian maiden
costume," and the boy is dressed in a
traditional BSA uniform.
This is from the top of a box
containing roasting forks. It was manufactured
and sold in about 1920. The packaging reads,
"Every Campfire Girl and Boy Scout will wish
for this fork, without a doubt, when sausages
over a fire they are roasting." Whether BSA
or CFG was paid for use of their names is
unknown. The purpose here is only to show that
the two were seen as brother-sister organizations
by society at large.
|The graphic above is from the
October 1921 "Ladies' Home Journal."
There was a two-page spread advertisement by
"Wool Soap" which talked about the
"code of cleanliness" for Boy Scouts
and Camp Fire Girls:
"A Scout is clean" -- reads the
11th point of the Scout Law."Keep
clean inside and outside each day"
-- says the Book of the Camp Fire
Personal cleanliness is emphasized as a
fundamental in correct, all-around
development, by the Boy Scouts
and the Camp Fire Girls. That
the principles of training of these two
live organizations are sound and
successful is apparent to anyone who has
watched a patrol of Scouts start off on a
week-end camping trip or a Camp Fire
group on a day's hike in the open.
The 11th point of the Scout Law reads:
"A Scout is clean. He keeps clean in
body and thought, stands for clean
speech, clean sport, clean habits and
travels with a clean crowd."
The official Scout Handbook says: "A
boy ought to take a good soap bath at
least twice a week and always after he
has played a hard game or done work or a
nature that has caused him to perspire
freely. Each morning a quick sponge bath
should be the first order of the
To Camp Fire Girls their book has this to
say: "Fine people seem to have fine
skin. This means not only that they keep
dirt off it, but that the skin is kept
responsive by contact with hot and cold
water. Fineness of feeling begins with
the skin. Keep clean inside and outside
each day if you wish to be your own best
We have a trial cake of Wool Soap for
every Boy Scout and Camp Fire Girl. Fill
out the coupon below carefully and we
will send it to. Swift & Company,
|Part of the advertisement was
a four-panel piece of art. The first panel shows
Boy Scouts hiking and using flag signals. The
second panel shows Boy Scouts cooking in a fry
skillet at at outdoor fire. The third panel shows
Camp Fire Girls washing dishes at camp, and the
narrow fourth panel shows a Boy Scout hiking.
|Above is a photo of one panel
in a large scroll from the 1920s. The scroll
appears to have been used for educational
purposes, most likely for grammar school
children. The scroll included panels with lessons
for arithmetic, geography, history, the U.S.
Constitution, Bible studies, the alphabet, etc.
Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls were the only two
youth organizations featured on the scroll.
1914, Dr. Charles A. Eastman, a Sioux Indian who was also known as
"Ohiyesa," wrote the book Indian
Scout Talks: A Guide for Boy Scouts and Camp Fire
Girls. It was republished in 1920. Dr.
Eastman had worked for the YMCA during the time
that Dr. Luther Gulick (credited as founder of
Camp Fire Girls) had headed the YMCA
organization. Dr. Eastman was one of the small
group of men who helped to found Boy Scouts of
America, and he was part of the small group of
men and women who soon after helped to found the
Camp Fire Girls organization.
Mahawe's Memory Book
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|Dr. Charles A. Eastman: Ohiyesa|
|Camp Fire symbolgrams|
|CF in children's fiction|
|emblems| |honor beads| |friendship sticks|
|cookie recipes| |old memories| |CF 4-260|
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Alice Marie Beard,