This week I was contacted by someone doing research on the former Bear Creek Girl Scout Council.
She had done an internet search for Bear Creek and found me. That is where I began Girl Scouts, as I mentioned in another post a few years ago.
We talked a bit about Bear Creek’s merger into the Kentuckiana Girl Scout Council. I also offered to search my home town newspaper for anything relevant.
A quick search of the Paducah Sun archives produced a detailed article, as I expected:
But wait….what’s that on the page next to the article?
It’s a photo! An old photo with very little contrast. Plus the three figures are in shadow since they are standing under a canoe.
But if the faces aren’t clear, those three names sure are. That’s my old troop! I know those girls!! Heck, Laura Terrell sang at my wedding!!!
The photo is accompanied by a detailed article about the troop’s 1978 canoe trip to the Boundary Waters area on the US-Canadian border.
No, I didn’t make the canoe trip. I joined the troop a few weeks after they returned home. Even if I had had the opportunity to go, I’m positive my parents would not have let me. (Don’t even get me started on that subject….)
I already knew some of the girls from Junior Girl Scouts, the others I met at day camp later in the summer. After two weeks at day camp I felt like I had gone on the trip. That’s all they talked about! And they sang…the canoe songs… the car songs…the tent songs…. So many songs!
We’ve lost a few troop members over the decades, but I’m still in touch with many via Facebook. (Ladies, please leave a comment!)
Finally, I have to share another photo gem that turned up in my search. Nothing to do with canoes, but I need to recognize two women who were very important parts of my early Girl Scout years: Aleta Worthen, my Junior leader, and Mary Henry, my Cadette and Senior leader.
Being a Girl Scout archivist is always an adventure. Donations come in bags and boxes, via the mail or literally left on a doorstep. We know to go through the donations carefully. We get lots of old uniform socks, the occasional 20-year old cookie box (with the cookies still inside!), not to mention the potentially hazardous old first aid kits.
One recent donation included a shopping bag full of assorted papers: flag ceremony diagrams, permission slips, the typical troop records. But among the packing lists and kaper charts was this photo:
Captain Irma Gorton and Troop 47 of Pittsburgh, c. 1923
At first I thought it was a photocopy, but no, it is the real thing. There is some damage to the photo, but it is in remarkably good shape for being nearly 100 years old.
According to the caption written in pencil on the back, this is Troop 47, sponsored by Latimore Junior High School in Pittsburgh. Irma S. Gorton was captain, and the date is estimated as 1923.
But wait…there’s more! These documents were in an envelope in the same bag of random papers:
Irma Gorton’s membership card
Irma Gorton’s appointment certificate
The appointment certificate needs some preservation attention. It has been folded for decades, all four borders are present but delicate. You can also see the official stamp/seal in the lower left corner.
It is only fair to send these items to the Girl Scout Council of Western Pennsylvania, but I wanted to share them first!