Camp fire girls - Jubilees

Camp Fire Girls, like other youth groups, has suffered from the re-written history of their program.

 

Legend has it that the muddled beginnings of the Camp Fire Girls came from the mixing pot girls club called the Girl Pioneers of America (GPA), and then further back to a theater summer club in Vermont. The girls of the theater troupe called themselves Camp Fire Girls and they were working on celebrating the 150 anniversary pageant of the village.

 

Now the Camp Fire website takes their history back even further, to 1907!

Their history has certainly been sanitized through the years. 

 

The earliest mention of the Camp Fire Girls - as a girls youth group - in the newspapers was in 1911. It was the tentative name for a new girl youth program that was to be called Camp Fire Girls of America. It was dropped just 2 months later in favor of the short-lived Girl Pioneers of America. As devoted historians for Camp Fire Girls know, the addition "of America" was never a part of the Gulicks' Camp Fire Girls program.

Lost in all the revisions is that the Gulicks and others didn't like the direction that this new girl group created by bunch of adults in New York City. So they ditched it and retreated to Maine and formally created their own using their beloved term "Camp Fire Girls."

Camp Fire Girls took great pride in their 25th Anniversary, also called the Silver Jubilee in 1937 (which is 25 years after 1912)

Addition Camp Fire Girls' birthdays followed through the years, all lining up with a beginning of 1912.

However, in 1948 suddenly Camp Fire Girls were no longer celebrating specific birthdays - here we would have expected the 36th. Instead, they were promoting that they were founded in 1910 - not 1912!

Why were the Camp Fire Girls subtracting 2 years from their long promoted birthday of March 17, 1912? No explanation is given. The official history of the Camp Fire Girls, a book called WO-HE-LO The Story of the Camp Fire Girls (published 1961) and updated and republished as WO-HE-LO The Camp Fire Story in 1980, is silent on the matter.

 

Looking back, we could speculate that they wanted to line up more with the Boy Scouts of America, which Camp Fire Girls had long promoted as the scouting brothers to Camp Fire Girls.Or possibly they wanted to appear older and more established than the increasingly more successful Girl Scouts of the USA.

Golden Jubilee Honor, stenciled onto green felt

Yellow for the Golden Jubilee, seed pod design for promise of new life and continued growth.

This was an earned honor

Golden Jubilee Honor memento charm, shown on navy blue felt

Charm had no requirements for wear, unlike the felt honor

From 1948 onward, March 17th was now considered "Founder's Day" and when 1960 rolled around Camp Fire Girls celebrated their "50th Anniversary" - Golden Jubilee. The theme for the jubilee was The World Around Her, She Cares - Do You? The birthday honor was a 2 1/2 year project, starting in 1959

There were many items from the Golden Jubilee, like this bookmark

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Last Updated June 14, 2020

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