Taking in 100 Years of Girl Scouts in Northeastern PA

By Cathy Hirko

The second-oldest operating Girl Scout camp in the world is right here in the regional footprint for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. And our camp has had a lot to celebrate recently.

Camp Archbald, like GSHPA’s other camps, re-opened this year as Pennsylvania started easing its way out of COVID and the regulations surrounding outdoor, public activities. While providing a safe environment, girls and their families were once again able to enjoy what the Girl Scout outdoor experience had to offer.

In September, Camp Archbald marked a major milestone by celebrating its 100 year anniversary.

According to the Supporters of Camp Archbald (SOCA) website, the camp was founded in 1920 by the Scranton Pocono Girl Scout Council.  The site noted that the Scranton council initially started in 1918 at Lake Coxton, but the location was not right for a permanent home. In 1920, Mrs. Thomas Archbald, the chairwoman of a committee tasked to find land,  visited the Ely Lake site in Susquehanna Township and eventually made it the permanent home of the council’s first residential camp. Named after Mrs. Archbald, it’s the second-oldest operating Girl Scout Camp in the world.

Fun fact also from SOCA: The first camp ran eight weeks of resident camp, with approximately 76 girls attending each week. The cost? Seven dollars a week.

COVID delay

Camp supporters initially had planned to host the 100 year anniversary in September 2020, but a global pandemic forced the anniversary celebration to be held a year later on Sept. 18, 2021.

Camp attendees dating back to the 1940s attended the anniversary ceremony and celebration. In addition to tours and a full day of activities, organizers showed camp history memorabilia and led an opening ceremony.

The video below, highlights the September celebration.

To learn more about GSHPA camps and activities, please visit our website.

Have a great memory to share about Camp Archbald? Share in the comments or email Cathy Hirko at chirko@gshpa.org.

Cathy Hirko is the director of Marketing and Communications at GSHPA.

5 Ways to Celebrate JGL’s Birthday

While the world might know October 31st for its Halloween tricks and treats, here at the Girl Scouts this day has an extra special meaning! On October 31st Girl Scouts all over the world honor the memory and celebrate the birthday of our founder, Juliette Gordon Low! October 31st, also referred to as Founders Day, can be celebrated in a variety of ways! Some Girl Scout Troops choose to celebrate throughout the month of October with service projects and special events while others plan a party near her actual birthday.

Troops at all levels are encouraged to recognize and honor Juliette Gordon Low’s (JGL) birthday in some way, whether through a service project or some sort of party. Additionally this can be a great time to work with younger girls on their Girl Scout Way badge!

If you are looking for ideas to honor Juliette Gordon Low in your troop, here are some easy ways to do it!

  1. Learn Girl Scout History! What better time to learn about Girl Scout history than on our founder’s birthday? Learn more about Juliette Gordon Low and how the Girl Scouts got started!
    • Read up on JGL’s story and pick out some interesting facts to turn into a fun game of trivia or bingo! You could also have girls act out different parts of JGL’s story to honor her own love for the arts and acting out plays.
    • Make a JGL inspired paper bag puppet! Have girls design puppets by finding out what kind of Girl Scout uniforms were worn during Juliette Gordon Low’s time. You can get creative and use old scraps of fabric, felt, or construction paper to make these uniforms or you can use markers and crayons to make the craft simpler.
  2. Daisy theme it up! Juliette Gordon Low was nicknamed Daisy, from which the youngest rank of Girl Scouts, the Daisies, gets its name. This makes daisies a perfect fit for decorating a JGL birthday party or planning daisy inspired crafts!
    • Make your own daisies! Have the girls create a bouquet of tissue paper daisies using white and yellow paper. To create the daisies stack 3 white and 1 yellow colored pieces of tissue paper that you have cut into desired size. Accordion pleat the tissue paper working from the long side. Tie a ribbon or wrap one end of a chenille stem around the middle of the accordion pleated paper. Gently separate each layer pulling upwards towards middle of the flower, and WALA you have a beautiful daisy!
  3. Participate in Girl Scout traditions! What better way to celebrate JGL’s birthday then sharing Girl Scout traditions! Remind your girls that they belong to a big, powerful, and inclusive sisterhood rich with history and tradition.
    • Have the girls learn some Girl Scout songs or let the older girls teach younger girls their favorites!
    • SWAPS or “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere” are a great way to build friendship while getting creative and participating in a long time Girl Scout tradition! Some of troops take this time to make SWAPS inspired by Juliette’s pearls, which are well known because Juliette sold them to pay the rent for the National Office stating that “Jewels are not important, but my Girl Scouts are, they need money more than I need pearls”.
  4. Play JLG inspired Games! Honoring Juliette Gordon Low is a great opportunity to have some fun and play games that were popular for girls when she was alive. Some favorites include relay races, scavenger hunts, and head stands.
    • Have a scavenger hunt! Show the girls a tray with many items on it, and explain that each of those items is also hidden somewhere in the room or location that the party is being held. Send the girls out to find as many of the objects as they can. This can also be adjusted for virtual celebrations by putting objects on a tray and sharing the image on your screen for 30 seconds, then when you stop sharing give the girls a minute to record as many objects they can remember. 
    • Conduct a headstand challenge by seeing which Girl Scout can stand on her head the longest! One of JGL’s special skills was standing on her head. She was known for standing on her head on her birthday every year to prove that she still could. Once Juliette even stood on her head in the board room at National Headquarters to show off the new Girl Scout shoes!
  5. Community Service: JLG’s birthday is a great opportunity for Girl Scouts to work our mission by making the world a better place! Discuss how the girls can live out the Girl Scout slogan that has been around since 1912, “Do a good turn daily”. Talk to the girls about who they think needs help in their community and brainstorm ways to get involved.
    • JGL died at the age of 67 due to breast cancer. Since her birthday and Breast Cancer Awareness month are in October, this could be a great time to do some good for the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Your troop could collect small gifts that can be given to those who are fighting breast cancer.
    • Bring your community into the celebration by having the girls create Birthday-in-a-Bag’s! This fun service project started with Girl Scouts in Kansas and has quickly gotten popular with troops nationwide. Have your troop collect birthday party decorations to fill gift bags and delivered to your local food bank.

Mostly, take this opportunity to connect and celebrate the amazing contribution that Juliette Gordon Low has made to our world and forever Girl Scout hearts. Let us know how your troop celebrated this special time!