Remembering Roundups

Before there were Destinations, before Wider Opportunities, Senior Roundups were often the highlight of a Girl Scout career.

These two-week encampments brought together high school-age Girl Scouts from around the country plus a few Girl Guides as well. They lived together in small groups, engaged in special programs and activities, and generally experienced the scope of the Girl Scout movement.

Four Roundups were held: 1956 in Detroit; 1959 in Colorado Springs; 1962 in Vermont; and 1965 in Idaho.

, Girl Scout History Project


The Roundups were before my time, so I asked a member of the GSCNC Archives and History Committee, Kathy Seubert Heberg, to share her memories:

Fifty years since the last Girl Scout Roundup! It’s hard to believe that much time has passed. Anyone who attended one of the Roundups knows what a wonderful experience it was.

I was thrilled when I received my selection notice in December 1961 for the July 1962 Roundup, scheduled for two weeks in Vermont!

, Girl Scout History Project
GSUSA President Olivia Layton calls Rounduppers to dinner in 1957 (GSCNC archives).

The excitement had been building since mid-May of 1961 when all the Washington Metropolitan Area Roundup applicants met for an orientation meeting. This included Senior Scouts from five Councils that were merging to become the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital – Alexandria, Arlington, National Capital, Northern Virginia, and my council, Southern Maryland. Each of these Councils selected their own representatives to Roundup; Southern Maryland was sending two patrols of eight girls each.

In early July, we formed initial patrols, elected patrol leaders, and started to meet on a regular basis. After a rigorous process, the Southern Maryland Council made their selections, and the two patrols were finalized. In the following months, we honed our camping skills and worked on our demonstration and swaps – we became a close-knit patrol and were ready to go. On the evening of July 17, 1962, all the area patrols gathered on the Washington Monument Grounds and received a grand send-off from family, friends, and Council officials. At that time, we each received a waterproof ID (think old-fashioned hospital wristband) that we wore at all times until we got back home.

We boarded three buses and headed north. We were excited, we talked, and we sang – there wasn’t much sleeping on the bus! We arrived late morning on the following day and located our patrol equipment and personal belongings. Tents, cooking utensils, and individual duffel bags, with all the important things – our clothing, swaps, stationery for letters home (this was long before cell phones!) – had been shipped a month beforehand.

We then headed to our designated spot to pitch camp. The entire encampment was divided by Section, Camp, and Troop, with each Troop containing four Patrols of eight girls each. All patrol items were marked with our specific number – 2F82. Each of us had an added number indicating our position in the patrol so all my clothing and personal items, for example, were marked 2F82-1. We settled in and met our Troop Leader, Jerry, and the other three patrols that made up our Troop – from upstate New York, western Illinois, and southwestern Minnesota.  We got to work building our patrol picnic table, which was a bit challenging – I think we used a whole box of nails to hold it together! One day it collapsed – it didn’t fall apart – it just sank to the ground. It was easy to fix – just needed more nails.

, Girl Scout History Project
Tents pitched at the first Roundup, Detroit, 1956 (GSCNC archives).

There was always something to do! In addition to preparing food, eating, and cleaning up, there were patrol meetings to let everyone know what was happening that day. Sometimes, we had assignments, such as being part of the flag ceremony on the Avenue of Flags. There were demonstrations by each patrol about something related to our home area. Because jousting is the Maryland State Sport, our patrol demonstrated a jousting tournament – with cardboard horses. The demonstrations were always interesting and fun to watch and, if you were lucky, perhaps you could get a taste of rattlesnake meat – really! In the evenings, we joined other patrols at Troop or Camp programs – perhaps folk dancing by Girl Guides, singing (of course), and Arena events.

The official camp uniform was “greenies” – dark green shorts and knee socks, and white camp shirt. It was very sharp looking but we could only take so many sets along – that meant hand laundry and line drying. Roundup was open to the public and we had a lot of visitors – the first day that Roundup was open to the public, over 4,000 people visited and that number increased. The patrol areas also had to be ready for visitors during certain hours of the day. Any wet laundry had to be out of sight during those times and, combined with almost daily thunderstorms, clothes took a while to dry! There were career counseling sessions, visits with Burlington College language students, and exhibits. Vermont is a big dairy state, and the cows and milking machines were a big hit! There were even milk dispensers scattered throughout the area. We drank a LOT of milk!

, Girl Scout History Project
Regulation camp uniform (GSCNC archives).

Whenever, wherever, we exchanged swaps! Every State was represented and Girl Guides from 15 member countries attended. Meeting them was simply terrific! The best place to put all those swaps was on your Roundup hat – until you ran out of space and then you safely packed the rest away. Our patrol’s swap was a small, thin, pointed wooden dowel – like a jousting lance – slipped through a round piece of material (Pellon®) with Southern Maryland Council written on it and, of course, our own name and address.

, Girl Scout History Project
SWAPS!!!  (GSCNC archives)

For our meals, we received recipes and bags of food. We had enough for nine people because we always had a guest – usually a Troop Leader or Staff Member. We cooked on charcoal and had made many, many fire starters soaked in paraffin which were safe, lightweight, and easy to pack. We celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Girl Scouting with a special meal of grilled chicken. We received 4 ½ chickens – 4 were whole. Only one of us had the foggiest clue of what to do with a whole chicken. We ended up with a total of 90 pieces of chicken – some were a little small but it all tasted great!

The 1962 Roundup focused on the 50th Anniversary of Girl Scouting – “Honor the Past, Serve the Future.” The 50th Anniversary stamp was issued from Roundup, and we all kept the on-site Post Office busy by mailing First Day covers. One of the Arena Events was a special celebration of the 50th birthday, with special guest of honor Maria von Trapp visiting from nearby Stowe. The arena, a natural hillside, was a perfect setting and could handle 10,000 people. You can image 10,000 Girl Scouts on the move!

There’s so much to tell you about – all the fun, all the friendships! At first, I didn’t know where to start, and now I don’t know where to end. But it was an incredible time and it’s amazing to meet another Roundupper. It’s like meeting an old friend and sharing many great memories. The conversation usually goes – – “You went to Roundup? Which one? Me, too!”

–Kathy Seubert Heberg

Stop by the Nation’s Capital main office at 4301 Connecticut Ave., NW in Washington, DC, to see an exhibit of items from the various Roundups.

Why were the Roundups canceled? Read about it here!




Published by

Ann Robertson

Ann Robertson is a writer, editor and Girl Scout historian.

16 thoughts on “Remembering Roundups”

  1. Why did the round-ups end?  They were obviously popular, with growing numbers.  

    From: Girl Scout History Project To: Sent: Monday, January 11, 2016 7:56 AM Subject: [New post] Remembering Roundups #yiv4435397017 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4435397017 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4435397017 a.yiv4435397017primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4435397017 a.yiv4435397017primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4435397017 a.yiv4435397017primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4435397017 a.yiv4435397017primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4435397017 | Ann Robertson posted: “Before there were Destinations, before Wider Opportunities, Senior Roundups were often the highlight of a Girl Scout career.These two-week encampments brought together high school-age Girl Scouts from around the country plus a few Girl Guides as well. T” | |

  2. Hi There I attended the 62 Round Up with 15 other GS from Idaho. All of the girls from Idaho had to apply for this opportunity and then 16 of uis from Idaho was selected. I was 16 years old at the time. Our patrol of 8 practiced once a month for a full year prior to attending the roundup. We had so much fun and I couldn’t believe we had bulld a table after we got there in order to have a place to eat. Our demonstration was performing the various Basque dances. The reason we chose Basque dancing, was one of our girls was Basque and there is a Basque communtiy in Boise, Idaho which is our Capital City for Idaho. Boise has a entire block with all the history, museum, Catina, restaurants and much more. The Basque came to Boise from Spain and they have their own language. You can go online and look up the history, if interested. I remember all the rocks with holes in them make from the sand washing back and forth on the shores. I found on the shores of Button Bay. The story why they called it Button Bay was the rocks from the sand would put holes in the rocks that looked like buttons. We travelled on a passenger train from Boise, Idaho to Vermont. The train started from the West Coast in California and traveled thru many states picking up each patrol from the states the train passed through. By the time we got to Vermont, we had a train full of 1962 Roundup G. S. attendees. I’m not sure not sure how many was on the train but their was alot of Green Shorts and straw hats everywhere.
    I will never forget the fun, friendships and experiences i acquired while at the roundup. My great grandaughter, Penelope is 7 and she is a Brownie this year. I had to join too, so I am back to girl scouting after all these years. Please contact me and we can talk about all of experiences we had there. My name is Joanne Hancock, Email:

  3. My name is Paulyn Hoffman ( Goldstein). I attended Roundup in Idaho in 1965. I represented Essex County, NJ. I was also chosen to be the Troop reporter and send articles back to our local newspaper. I used the Press tent and their equipment. I have such vivid memories of my days as a Scout and being at Roundup. I still have many mementos from it. Including a yellow cowboy hat filled with Potlach( trading pins). I wish I could connect with the girls that I went with?

  4. Paulyn, There is a Facebook group for the Roundups. Try searching for “Girl Scout Roundup 1965.” Thank you for writing!

  5. I was selected for and attended the 1968 Regional Girl Scout Round-up at Camp Drum in NY. I and my 1,000 sister Scouts will challenge that the encampments ended in 1965.
    Any one else remember the 68 Round-up?

    1. The last NATIONAL roundup was 1965. Councils continued to use the name for their own events.

    2. Where’s the rest of my comments ? As I stated, the 68 roundup was a REGINAL event and just as important and exciting as the NATIONAL. Ann’s reply was hurtful as if I didn’t know the difference and it didn’t matter anyway. Please don’t down play the most important highlight of my GS “career” which continued for several years working at our summer camps, serving as troop leader and on council committees.

      1. Caren, I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. I’ve had other comments from women confused about those signature events, and I gave my usual answer. I did not mean to diminish your experience in any way.

  6. I just recently found my slides(color) from the 1965 Roundup in Idaho- I had them made into a DVD – I just bought an iMac computer so if anyone has any advice as to how to post this slideshow on this site please advise me. I’m not a technical genius yet !!!
    A step by step explanation is greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Patricia, thanks for writing! Only I can post images. But you could email them to me ( There also is at least one Roundup alumni group on Facebook where you can share them.

  7. Along with 5 other Senior Girl Scouts from the Wasatch Girl Scout Council (Ogden, Utah), I attended the 1959 Roundup in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I have some photos of our unit and would be happy to share if you would like me to download them somewhere. We rode by train from Ogden UT to Colorado Springs, camped and cooked on a vast plain, and met many of the 10,000 wonderful young women who attended. Regards, Kathryn

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