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Experience in Citizenship

Camp Fire Girls find out for themselves what rec-
reational opportunities are being provided for
them and for other young people in their communi-
ties, and make suggestions on what is needed.

By C. FRANCES LOOMIS HE SCENE is a dinner attended

Some facts were brought out

Editor by the mayor and three mem

that were new to many of the bers of the City Council. The

Department of Publications

people present and the newspaper hostesses are eighteen Camp Fire

Camp Fire Girls, Inc.

editor, feeling that this informaGirls, average age seventeen;

tion would be of interest to the members of Towanka, the club of the older Camp publie, asked for copies of the reports, which were Fire Girls in Reading, Pennsylvania.

printed as a series of six articles in The Reading There were sixty-five guests at this dinner, Times. among them the head of the recreation depart- Each committee felt that there were special ment, the president of the school board, the head needs in its particular field but the girls all agreed of the community chest, and other members of on one need to present to the mayor on this octhese organizations, library officials, the editor of casion. This need was for more recreational centhe newspaper, the curator of the museum, repre- ters and they told the mayor where they felt these sentatives of service clubs, members of the Camp were most needed and what schools might be Fire Girls Local Council, and representative busi- used. Mayor Stump asked Betty Glaes, the chairness men and women. These guests not only hon- man of the committee making that report, some ored the occasion with their presence, but with very pertinent questions about how this might be true community spirit they paid for their own managed and she gave him thoughtful and practidinners!

cal answers. Some of the guests thought, because Why were they there? To hear the reports of of Betty's poise and the soundness of her answers, the girls who had been making a survey of the that these questions had been rehearsed beforerecreational opportunities of the town, and their hand, but they were entirely impromptu. Betty recommendations as to what was needed.

was able to answer the mayor's questions because The president of the Local Council of Camp she had, with the other girls on her committee, Fire Girls introduced the president of Towanka personally gathered the necessary information and and from then on the meeting was in the hands of given the subject careful thought. The mayor the girls. The girl president explained that the took the reports with him for further consideration girls had been looking for the answer to the ques- and the girls, of course, will be very proud if tion “What does my community do for me in the their recommendations bear fruit. way of recreation?" Six committees had been at The activity has already borne fruit as far as the work on schools, playgrounds and recreational girls and the community are concerned. The centers, parks, libraries, museums, and special pro- community is better informed about its recreajects. The chairman of each committee then made tional opportunities and needs. The girls are not her report. She gave information

only better informed but have a about the recreational opportuni

deeper feeling of interest and reties in the area her committee had

All around the world the

sponsibility as citizens. investigated, whom they served,

Camp Fire Girls this year are

Each committee had an adviser who paid for them, how they were celebrating their Silver Jubi- in its particular field and the girls' managed, who had been responsible

lee. More than two million

contact with these men and women for their establishment and de

girls have followed the trail in responsible positions was an velopment. She concluded by point- to happiness along which the enlightening and enriching experiing out needs for further develop- seven crafts have led them for ence. Mr. Thomas Lantz, Director Inent in her particular field. the past twenty-five years. of the Reading Recreation Depart

28

EXPERIENCE IN CITIZENSHIP

а

ment, acted as adviser for the whole project and different cities. It is interesting to note the needs the girls are most grateful to him for his help and they discovered and the recommendations they guidance.

made. The Spokane, Washington, girls asked There was another question that the girls were that the swimming pools closed during the depresasking themselves--not just what does my com- sion be reopened, and pointed out that a civic audimunity do for me, but what can I do for my com- torium where large public meetings could be held munity? In answer to this they made out a ser- was much needed. The report was made by the vice calendar, setting down the ways in which girls at a luncheon meeting of the Chamber of Camp Fire Girls have been of service to their Commerce attended by two hundred and twentycommunities and suggestions for other ways in five prominent men and women of Spokane. This which they could be helpful. They planned and program was broadcast over a local station. In carried out a service project which, because they Sherman, Texas, they also felt the need for a had started out on their undertaking just before community house where meetings could be held, Christmas, took the form of toy collecting and with club rooms, swimming pool, and tennis mending. They asked the Boy Scouts to help courts. This report was made to the Sherman them with this and gave a dance for them Civic Club. In Denver, the girls invited people afterwards.

prominent in the recreaWe've sketched the

tion field to lunchstory of this informal sur

eon meeting. The fathers Dr. Harry A. Overstreet, commenting on vey of recreation made by the reports of community needs made

of the girls were also the Camp Fire Girls in

by the Camp Fire Girls said: "I think guests. At this meeting the Reading, but in other

you have hit upon a great idea in these girls reported that "a park towns all over the country projects. You are taking the dullness in the heart of lower the girls were doing the out of citizenship. These reports all have down-town is badly needsame thing. The same, only

a zest to them. The girls enjoyed doing ed for the benefit of the different, because each

what they did. They saw with their own
eyes and interpreted with their own

Negroes and foreigners group of older girls took brains, and they had a happy time

living in that section. They the survey suggestions as doing it. . . . I think of no greater ser

have nowhere to go in sent them from National vice to our nation than to get young

their leisure time and since Headquarters and did people enthusiastic about opening their that part of town is very what they pleased with eyes and their minds to what their

over-crowded it would be communities do and need." them.

a blessing to have a park." These "older girls" in

Those present agreed Camp Fire are girls who

strongly with the suggeshave been members for several years, who have tion and a committee was formed to discuss this enjoyed earning Honors and Ranks, who want to with the board of managers of the city parks. continue their connection with Camp Fire, and The same feeling of need for recreational faare particularly interested in service and citizen- cilities in underprivileged sections of town was ship. They like projects of their own, and this

expressed in the Dallas, Texas, report. “Dallas one was outlined at the request of the older girls' has a great need for more schools, a park, and groups. We sent it out to all of them to do with

other places of interest and amusement in this as they wished. Some of the groups did not un- section where the percentage of juvenile delindertake it because of other activities they were

quency is high. There is a social center there but more interested in at the time, and that was quite it is too small to meet the demands on it and all right because there was no pressure on the badly in need of repair.” Other recommendagirls to participate. Others went at it with a will, tions made were for a library on wheels to sereach group adapting it to meet their special inter- vice the outskirts of town, music for the city ests and local situations. Their reports show vari- orchestra, a new wing for a crowded museum, ation in methods and results, though all followed

more people to supervise recreation in city parks, the general plan of dividing into committees to field houses for indoor recreation, and housing gather information and pooling this information equipment. in the final report.

The reports themselves were very attractively Their findings, of course, are quite different for presented in book form with interestingly deco

EXPERIENCE IN CITIZENSHIP

29

rated covers and accompanied by photographs, ble, of old and young together, to help us in the news clippings, and folders gathered by the vari- critical day ahead to bring about a better state of ous committees during the course of the in- society in this country of ours. Something posivestigation.

tive must be done. Cooperative community activiProbably the significant feature of this activity

ties constitute one line of attack.” And Dr. Hanna. was that it was carried on entirely by the girls out the author, says: "To harness the energy of youth of their own interest, without adult pressure but

to the task of progressively improving conditions under the guidance of their chosen adult advisers.

of community life—that is the supreme challenge The average age of all the girls taking part in the

to educational and social statesmanship." project was fifteen and a half.

It is sometimes difficult, however, to find opIt is particularly fitting that the girls who have

portunities for cooperative community activities. had experience in Camp Fire should be carrying

Dr. Caroline Zachry, speaking at our Executives out this project this year, the twenty-fifth anni,

Conference, said that one of the stumbling blocks versary of the founding of Camp Fire Girls. Dr.

in the way of making the social studies vital in Luther Gulick, leading spirit among the founders

the schools was this difficulty in giving young peoof Camp Fire Girls and our first president, was a pioneer in the field of recreation and a lasting

ple actual experience in community life. This influence in its development. He was president of

project, just completed by the older Camp Fire the National Recreation Association (then the

Girls, is such an experience in citizenship, carryPlayground Association) from 1906 to 1910, and ing forward in 1937 the philosophy of education during those years gave inspirational impetus and incorporated in the Camp Fire Girls program by practical guidance to the movement which has ad- Dr. Gulick and his fellow-planners twenty-five vanced steadily until today our large cities and years ago. many of our smaller towns have parks, playgrounds and recreation centers. Most of the recreation centers and playgrounds that the girls visited in connection with this project owe their very existence to the continuing influence of the Playground Association.

Dr. Gulick believed in practical training for citizenship through experience and this philosophy of education and character building was embodied in the earliest plans for the Camp Fire Girls program. He said: "The sciences that may be taught in school do not equip the child with the social attitudes that are demanded of the adult in a modern community. She must have opportunity for experience and responsibility.” And that opportunity was provided for in the community service activities included in the first program.

It is interesting to read in a book published this year and sponsored by the Progressive Education Association, "Youth Serves the Community," statements of today's educators which embody the same thought. Dr. William Kilpatrick says in his introduction : “We wish then an education, if possi- Courtesy Atlanta, Ga., Girl Scouts

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Saving Pennies

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AST SUMMER it was

You may think they're just worthless old pieces of equal length a bat for brother

which are whittled baseball bats you're throwing away, but Billy; now it's a

or turned on a lathe stool for sister Susie ! you're really discarding hand looms, forks until they are 2 inSuch is the life his- for camp, and legs for Cinderella stools! ches in diameter. tory of many unique

Three holes i inch pieces of equipment and hand

in diameter are bored at a slight

By ZORA JOY GIFFORD craft articles made recently in the

Recreation Department

angle through the seat and are so workshop of the Houston Recre

placed that they are equally dis

Houston, Texas ation Department.

tant from each other. One end Though at the time no one saw

of each leg piece is then cut as in the value of it, nevertheless the broken baseball the diagram. The peg is 134 inches high and i bats returned from the playgrounds were thrown inch in diameter and just fits into the holes bored into a corner of the workshop and saved. It was into the seat. The legs are glued or nailed into the a happy "hunch," for when requisitions for hand holes, and the stool is sandpapered, stained and looms on which to make purses, table mats and waxed. other small woven articles began to flood the of

And More Followed fices of the Recreation Department “necessity became the mother of invention,” according to Mrs. Out of the same workshop which turned out Fred Browne under whose supervision the miracle these novel looms, stools and forks have come was performed, and old bats suddenly changed

many other interesting articles. Game boards for into hand looms!

checkers, Chinese chess and many other table The wood in baseball bats is carefully selected

games, puzzles, box hockey equipment, hat racks ior durability and straightness, making it service- for community centers, file cases, attractive posable in the construction of the looms. And so it ters, and even novel musical instruments pour out was that the same old bat with which little Billy in an unending stream. It has become almost knocked home runs last summer on the play- axiomatic for the playground director, not posground became, under the skilled workmanship of sessing a piece of equipment he needs, to ask if the artisans in the Department's workshop, an it can't be made in the workshop. A very good efficient hand loom for sister Susie.

example was the recent need for small blockAfter the workers had discovered the possibili- printing presses with which to print the blocks ties which the bats offered they began casting

used in the annual report. A pattern was brought about for other projects in which they might be

in and very shortly thereafter three little presses used. Long lengths of wood, it was discovered,

modeled after it were busily hammering away at were adapted to the making of camp forks, while

the annual report. shorter lengths worked up nicely for the legs of For pieces too large to be cut from baseball bats, little Cinderella stools.

especially large flat pieces, The Cinderella "pick

the workshop carpenters up" stool is made from a Old baseball bats have a part in the con

have resorted in most piece of wood 1612" x struction of Cinderella "pick up" stools

cases to prune boxes, 1372" x 1/2" and an old

orange crates and scraps worn, but not broken, bat

of lumber discarded from or parts of two bats. The

larger pieces of conlarge piece of wood is

struction. cut in the shape indicated

Utilizing scrap matein the diagram to form

rial found around the the seat. The small tab is

workshop, Mr. Charles the “pick up” handle. The Leg Top

Stool

Corbin, who has had conbat is cut into three

siderable training and ex

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perience in constructing and repairing musical in- In common pottery, Vr. Hart, creator of the struments, deftly creates banjos, mandolins, uku- kiln, points out, there are two kinds of clay: fat leles, guitars and even one-stringed Japanese fid- clay, which is sticky and plastic, with a high dles. The only parts of the instruments not made shrinkage which may be reduced by mixing with in the workshop are the strings. In addition to clean white sand, and open clay, which is sandy these instruments, which were made at small cost, and in some cases has to be mixed with fat clay to Mr. Corbin has repaired ukuleles, violins, victro- make it plastic enough to work easily. las and pianos which have been given to the de- To mix clay, water should be added until it is partment, making possible music clubs which about as thick as cream. Mix with the hands and might not otherwise have come into being.

break up all lumps. Then strain through a fine

cloth to remove any gravel or lime rock, as glaze Something Else for Nothing!

will not stick to lime rock and in damp weather Another example of "something made of the rock will expand and crack the glaze. Pour nothing" is the equipment in the pottery shop built by Mr. S. J. Hart. The kiln is of beehive style with a down draft which burns gas and is one of the few kilns in the vicinity of Houston. It was built of bricks taken from an old building which was being dismantled. The three kick wheels used in the pottery shop were assembled from pieces of old automobiles wheels, cranks, bolts and nuts.

A glimpse at the contents of the workshop shows how The pottery shop

varied are the articles made from waste materials has filled a very. important and interesting place in the program of clay into a heavy canvas bag and put through a the Recreation Department, making it possible for press if one is available. If not, pour the liquid housewives, art students, teachers and others to clay onto a table and let it stand until it is dry create and have beautiful pieces of handmade enough to use. If an old electric coffee grinder pottery.

can be secured, clay may be dried as it comes from The following figures show the cost of building

the ground by grinding it. It can be ground as the kiln and kick wheels :

finely as necessary, then mixed with water to the Second-hand fire brick for kiln..

right working condition. By this method the lime

$15.00 Lime and clay, approximately.

4.65 becomes so fine that it gives no trouble. Homemade burner and valve.

5.00 Pottery should be dried in a closed room. Don't Asbestos ....

11.10 Pipe and damps..

dry it in the sun, in wind or direct draft. Drying

13.60 Welding three kick wheels, bolts and nuts, bending

near a stove will cause uneven shrinkage, crackand welding axle....

10.50

ing or warping. Don't try to rush the drying proTotal cout of materials, kiln and three wheels. . . $59.85

(Continued on page 51)

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