Françoise May, the Belgian Apple Blossom Queen

Today, May 2, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival will crown its 2014 queen in Winchester, VA.  In 1933 that honor went to a 23-year old Girl Scout leader, Françoise May.

Françoise May, the 10th Apple Blossom Queen, sits upon her throne.

Françoise May, the 10th Apple Blossom Queen, sits upon her throne.

Françoise was the eldest daughter of Paul May, the Belgian ambassador to the United States. She had been an active Girl Guide in Belgium, and when her father was posted to the United States in 1931, she immediately signed up with the Washington, DC, area Girl Scouts. She became captain (leader) of Troop 53, and the troop grew so large that it divided into 53 and 53A. Françoise became a popular speaker about the Girl Guides and a staff member for Camp May Flather. She was awarded the Thanks Badge for her efforts.

 

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Her younger sisters, Ghislane and Elisabeth, also joined Troop 53.

Françoise presents the First Class rank to her sister Ghislane and other members of Troop 53.

Françoise presents the First Class rank to her sister Ghislane and other members of Troop 53.

The entire troop traveled to Winchester for the coronation ceremony.

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Troop member Virginia Hammerley, who later joined the staff of the Girl Scouts of Washington, DC, kept detailed scrapbooks of Troop 53’s activities, including many clippings and items from the coronation of Queen Françoise. Her scrapbooks are in the archives of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital.

Ambassador May died suddenly in July 1934. When Françoise, her sisters, and their mother returned to Belgium, “Ginger” Hammerley succeeded her as troop captain.

Excerpt from farewell letter to Troop 53.

Excerpt from farewell letter to Troop 53.

Her touching farewell letter to the troop may be downloaded in its entirety by clicking here.

 

Françoise pauses for a photo while working at Camp May Flather.

Françoise pauses for a photo while working at Camp May Flather.

Girl Scout History Book Released

Just in time for the holidays, my new book, Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, was published on December 2, 2013.  Retailing for $21.99, the book is available at the Nation’s Capital Girl Scout Shops, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other booksellers.

Arcadia front Cover

The book shares 100 years of Girl Scout memories in the greater Washington, DC, region and commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital.  GSCNC was created in 1963 upon the merger of the Arlington, Alexandria, National Capital, Northern Virginia, and Southern Maryland councils.

Girl Scouting came to Washington, DC, in June 1913 when Juliette Gordon Low decided her new girls empowerment movement needed a national headquarters. Although the headquarters moved to New York City in 1916, the council in Washington, DC, is still actively involved in the programs. Girl Scouts of the Nations Capital includes some 200 photographs that will rekindle memories of making new friends, earning badges, spending summer nights at Camp May Flather, taking road trips to Rockwood, attending freezing inaugural parades, hiking along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, and participating in enormous sing-alongs around the Washington Monument.

Vintage Camping Equipment on Display

There’s still time to see the latest exhibit from the GSCNC Archives and History Committee.

“Girl Scouts: Camping Is Our Bag” showcases  vintage camping equipment.

Whether you’re shopping for a new uniform or taking a training class, next time you are at the GSCNC main office at 4301 Connecticut Ave., NW in Washington, check out the displays in the lobby!

What did the well-prepared Girl Scout bring to camp? Compare the  Camp May Flather packing lists from 1930 and 1947:

CMF 1930 packing list

1930 Packing List for Camp May Flather

1947 Packing List for Camp May Flather

1947 Packing List for Camp May Flather