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Canton's Girl Scouts, Canton, Bradford County PA
Article - Girl Scouts of Canton
Township: Canton Borough, Bradford County PA
Year: 1960s 
Postcard from Collection of Janet PETERS Ordway
Article by Eleanor Keagle submitted by Don Stanton
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The Canton Girl Scouts were organized in September or October 1928, and members of Troop 1 registered on November 14 of that year with Alwyn Wyle as Captain and Harriet Bullock as Lieutenant. The troop expanded rapidly until it included as members: Margaret Allen, Helen Bird, Nellie Bolt, Mary Bullock, Laura Bohlayer, Henrietta Bohlayer, Laura Biddle, Elizabeth Cole, Gertrude Coons, Mary Crist, Laura Farmer, Ruth Foster, Elizabeth Foust, Mary Huntley, Mary Hackett, Lillian Johonnis, Emma Keltz, Phyllis Keagle, Katherine Keagle, Marion Kilmer, Winifred Kilmer, Bertha Mae Kilmer, Fanny Kraiss, Virginia Owen, Dorothy Owen, Mary Purvis, Beatrice Rockwell, Jennie Rockwell, Cora Helen Pealer, Neva Scott, Emily Smith, Helen Smith, Marjorie Tripp, Marion Tripp, Lois Terry, Dorothea Williams and Florence Wright.

Meetings were held in a room of the Church of Christ, and Lafey Bates, janitor of the church was an interested spectator at most of the meetings. The Campfire Ceremony was held at every meeting, the fire being small logs and an electric light.

On April 4, 1929 a Girl Scout Night was held to raise money for Troop 1, called the Wild Rose Troop. The affair was quite elaborate with printed programs and included a pageant, a play and several musical numbers, tenderfoot, second class and life saving demonstrations. Prior to this time, Miss Kathryn McCurdy, Latin teacher at Canton High School, also became a lieutenant of the Wild Rose Troop.

Canton Girl Scouts had their first camping experience at Camp Seneca, on the east side of lake Seneca in New York State. Camp Brule was being established in Sullivan County for Boy Scouts but was considered too primitive to meet Girl Scout standards for the first two years.

The road into Camp Seneca ended at the top of a steep hill, nearly one half mile from the lake-side camp, so everything the girls took for their week’s stay had to be carried down this hill which was supplied at intervals with long steps guarded by a rickety hand-rail. The camp was a collection of wooden cabins, each of which would accommodate six or eight girls on built-in bunks. The water of the lake was very cold and swimming time necessarily short. Scouts from Sayre and other Bradford County towns shared the camp with Canton. Among the Girl Scouts attending Camp Seneca in 1929 were; Marjorie and Marion Tripp, Winifred and Marion Kilmer, Mary Crist, Phyllis and Katherine Keagle and Mary Hackett.

After Alwyn Wyle left Canton, Miss McCurdy assumed her place as leader of the troop. Of the early girl scouts, Golden Eaglet badges were earned by Dorothy Russell and Phyllis Keagle. Phyllis also attended Camp Andree on an Abigail Morris Scholarship, being chosen with Miss Eleanor Diehl of Scranton as the two highest ranking scouts in the region, which then included four states.

Camp Brule was well organized for the reception of the girls of the Susquehanna Valley Council in the summer of 1931. Bloomers, middies and broad heeled shoes were listed as proper outfit for camp. Shorts, knickers, sailor pants and pajamas (except for sleeping) were taboo.

At first, each town in Bradford County was a separate scout unit. Later, an organization which ultimately became known as the Pennamite Girl Scout Council was formed. This is now merged into the Penn-York Scout Council and comprises several counties in both New York and Pennsylvania. The head office and professional Girl Scout personnel are located in Elmira, New York.

Eleanor P. Keagle (1896-1971)
The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933