Isabella County Girl Scouts, Inc. Organizational records   1930-1980, and undated
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History

Organizational History:

The Girl Scouts of America was established in 1912 by Juliet Gordon Low and based on the British Girl Guides.

The Isabella County Girl Scouts, Inc. was started in 1930 as the Girl Scout Council of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Inc. Originally, the objective of the council was to help girls realize the ideals of womanhood as preparation for the responsibilities in the home and service to the community. Girl Scouts emphasized outdoor life, learning about health, homemaking, first aid, handicrafts, comradeship, developing initiative, self-control, self-reliance, and unselfish service to others.

By 1980, the organization included 45 troops with over 600 girls in Mount Pleasant and Isabella County. Scouts collected books for hospitalized veterans and sold cards to support cerebral palsy. They planted flowers and trimmed Christmas trees. They also sold cookies. Self-improvement projects included: bird-watching, nature study, art training, snow sculpture, folk dancing, bread-making, chair canning, homemaking, and good deeds.

In the early 1930s, Edward Owen Harris built a cabin on the Chippewa River and donated it to the Girl Scouts. It was later named for his daughter, Jane (died 1953), as the Jane Harris Girl Scout Cabin. The Girl Scouts used the cabin for various activities. The cabin was later abandoned as the isolated location led to repeated vandalism. The Scout Room was then established on the second floor of McFarlane’s Dairy on W. Mission Street between Wisconsin and Locust. Scouting thrived here from 1949-1954/55.

In 1951, Scout Commissioner Audrie Batson and CMU Comptroller Norvall C. Bovee planned to move the cabin into town. Over $10,000 was raised and the cabin was moved on September 20, 1951, and updated. On June 5, 1955, dedicatory ceremonies were held. The cabin currently backs Chippewa Park on Remus Road (M-20 West).

Many changes have occurred since the 1950s. In 1952, the United Way began sponsoring the Girl Scouts, which previously had been sponsored by community fund drives. In 1954, the council expanded to include girls from all over Isabella County. In 1963, the council merged with 12 other counties in Michigan to form the Mitten Bay Council, headquartered in Saginaw. The Mitten Bay Council now includes 21 counties. Originally only young teens were allowed membership. Now there are five age groups. (This information is from the collection.)