As I have walked in the door each day this past week my eyes glance over to the counter. They are searching for a box addressed with my name. I wasn’t sure if I should make the purchase because there was a part of me that thought it was a little silly. Writing and thinking about some of my childhood experiences have flooded me with memories. Some of my story inspiration has been coming from old photographs and other memorabilia. Recently I came across a newspaper photograph of myself and two other smiling girls in their Camp Fire Girl uniforms showcasing hinged decorated eggs. These intricate eggs were quite fancy…worthy enough for a picture in The Indianapolis Star. This was just one of the many things we did as a group when we met together every Tuesday after school. In the picture I notice that all three of us are wearing our navy blue vests decorated with different colored earned beads. Each colored bead represented the seven crafts: business, citizenship, creative arts, frontiers, home, outdoors, and sports and games. You received your beads in a ceremony to celebrate your work. You then sewed your beads in a design on your vest. Every girl came up with their own design. I kept my beads for a long time but they are now long gone. I wondered about the Camp Fire Handbook that I poured over when I was a young girl. The handbook outlined tasks that you needed to complete to earn your wood craft beads. There were also patches you could earn. Google search. Could I find a 1960s Camp Fire Girl Handbook? There were several but not the edition that I wanted. Then on Etsy I found a seller that had the 1965 edition of the handbook AND a vest with beads AND the beanie AND the tie. Tempting. Then I thought…I need to downsize…not collect more stuff. This is silly. Blog-stalking husband said to go for it if it brings you joy. I caved. Today the box was sitting on the counter as I walked in the door. Big joyful smile as I pulled the items one at a time. Again I will be pouring over the handbook.
“Those early days began in 1910. A group of very capable men and women were concerned about boys and girls and the fact they had nothing much to do after school that was really interesting or that would help them to grow up to be strong and healthy and good citizens. This was at a time when mothers were beginning to have jobs, and when more and more things were being invented. Looking ahead, these men and women saw that many ways of doing things were going to be changed. people would be able to travel faster and farther than ever before. Many new kinds of jobs would need to be filled. There would be many more things to be learned.
But in spite of all the changes they saw were coming on, these people knew it was important to keep some things that would always be, or should always be, part of living: things like music and singing, and dancing, and making beautiful objects with one’s hands, like knowing about and loving the beauties of nature, thinking lovely thoughts and trying to put them into words.”
It then goes into the planning for the Boy Scouts of America. Then they wondered, What about the girls? “Nowhere in the country was there a program for girls of all races and nationality backgrounds and religious beliefs.”