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Girl Scouting Celebrates its 100th Anniversary

February 9, 2012

In 1924, Mrs. A. F. Leifeld made initial contact with the National Headquarters regarding the formation of the Bexar County Council of Girl Scouts. The organization was created after a meeting held in San Antonio’s Menger Hotel, which was attended by interested citizens and Miss Pauline Wherry, a representative of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. At this time there were four Girl Scout troops in San Antonio, the minimum number required for the organization of a council. The Bexar County Council of Girl Scouts was formed to provide a supportive environment for its members to increase their self-awareness, improve relations with others, develop meaningful values and contribute to the betterment of society.

Camp La Jita

Five girl scouts stand outside a tent next to a cedar post fence, which kept out armadillos. Camp La Jita in the late 1940s.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts of the USA, Special Collections has launched an exhibition of materials from the San Antonio Area Council of Girl Scouts Records.

Included in the exhibit are materials documenting Camp La Jita, a Girl Scout camp on the Sabinal River near Utopia, Texas. Starting in 1926 summer camps were held in  New Braunfels, Boerne, Bandera and Comfort. The first permanent camps were not created until the late 1940’s. In 1946, the John F. Camp family donated the land to create a place for Girl Scouts to experience the outdoors. Camp La Jita rests on 236 acres of Texas Hill Country land along the Sabinal River, one hour and twenty minutes west of San Antonio.

Scrapbooks on display include Alamo Compañeras, a log of the 1959 Senior Roundup; 1962 Olmos Park Day Camp scrapbook created by staff; San Antonio Girl Scouts Senior Conference scrapbook, 1965 and 1966, maintained by troop historians – Lee Ann Hendryx and Kathy King; and the personal scrapbook of Jean Daniels, a Scout in Gulfport, Mississippi, that documents a Scout-sponsored tour of Georgia and Florida to visit the birthplace of Girl Scouts founder, Juliette Gordon Low, Daniels’ time as both a camper and counselor at Camp Tiak and trips to multiple Girl Scout conferences.

In addition, there are a number of photographs displayed documenting the council as far back as the 1940s as well as cookie wrappers, patches, badges, a Brownie knife and other assorted ephemera. The exhibition will be on display in the John Peace Library’s Special Collections Reading Room until late March.


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