Camp Daisy Hindman: G.I.R.L.- Built

Summer is coming to a close and we are taking a look back at the histories and stories that make up the camping experience at GSKSMO to gear up for our 2017 alumnae reunion (Sept 23 – 24, 2017). Today, we’re looking at the early history and community support that brought Camp Daisy Hindman to life. As with Girl Scouting today, the story of Camp Daisy Hindman is truly one of community, girl support, female leadership and a dedication to empowering girls.

1925 – The Search Begins

Daisy Hindman is elected Girl Scout Commissioner of Topeka with her main focus on finding a camp property for area Girl Scouts. The Council trampled across a lot of land whenever they got a lead on a potential campsite until they found their future camp property.

Left: Girl Scouts outside a cabin at Camp Daisy in 1929; Center: Daisy Hindman; Right: Helen Zimmerman, director of Camp Kee-Wah-Kee in 1926 conferring with Daisy Hindman.

 

1929 – Camp Comes to Life

20 acres for camp were leased to Girl Scouts by Mr. & Mrs. Floyd Ross. The couple lived across the road and provided support to the mission. When word got out that a Girl Scout camp was being built, the community came together to make it a reality. Cabins were sponsored by donors, tradesmen donated time and skills, local companies and clubs donated materials, all in an effort to build the best facilities for girls. Girl Scouts hosted a marionette show that raised $2,000 and sold cookies for four years fund construction. In 1929, the first year camp sessions were held, with the camp unfinished. In fact, some cabins were completed the night before girls arrived. At the time, the camp was known as “Dover Camp” or “Established Camp.”

FUN FACT: L.G. Ehols, a local carpenter whose wife was on the Council, organized local tradesmen & carpenters to donate time to the project as a community project. The Council members cooked meals for the workers so they could go straight from work on Friday to working on camp.

1930 – Camp Officially Opens

10 more acres were acquired and camp officially opened in 1930. At the time, it had four cabins, a partially constructed lodge, hospital, office, outdoor kitchen and shower house. The units original were named Juliette Low, Ipesi (now Sleepy Hollow), Trails End (original end of the property) and Peter Pan.

1934 – Camp Gets Its Name

When Daisy Hindman relinquished office (with the debt for camp paid off and camp being considered one of the excellent Girl Scout camps in the country), Mrs. J R Borrow took office. The Council voted unanimously to officially name the camp “Camp Daisy Hindman” in honor of the former Commissioner.

Left: Girl Scouts at Camp Daisy dining hall (1940s); Right: News clippings describing girls leaving for camp (1934) and fundraising efforts for camp (1962), Troop leaders gathering firewood (photo courtesy of Velma “Fae” Dinkle).

 

 1930 – 1948 – Camp Expands and The War

Between 1930 – 1943, an additional 70 acres of land were added, making it 100 acres total. Over the years campers got to experience an International Camp (1936), horses on property and scholarships for girls in need. The 114th cavalry provided horses in 1938 and in 1940, horses from the Mott Riding Academy in Lawrence came to camp for the summer. During the war years of 1944 – 1948, no camp was held due to a gas shortage that made it too difficult to get girls to camp. In 1948, Girl Scouts sold over 20,000 boxes of cookies to make repairs to camp that allowed it to serve girls once again in 1949.

1949 to Today – Honoring Daisy Hindman and G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)TM

In the late 1950s, the song “Camp Daisy Hindman” was composed by Martha Adams, a camp director, and it is still in use today. In July 1962, the staff celebrated the 50th birthday of Girl Scouting and Daisy Hindman returned to camp. The campers were honored by her presence and celebrated this leader who made their camp a reality.

FUN FACT: Donors Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Springer said of their gift: “Our contribution was wholly unsolicited, but we have to many starry eyed little cookie sellers in our neighborhood, it was a matter of enlarging our pantry or sending a contribution.”

Left: Girl Scout with a horse (1970s/80s); Center: 2017 Girl Scout camp staff; Right: Campers in the pool at Camp Daisy (1970s/80s).

 

 

Today, Camp Daisy Hindman is a home to more than 2,000 Girl Scouts each year for a variety of camping opportunities. Girls can experience archery, geocaching, canoeing, kayaking and summer camp, thanks to the tireless efforts of donors and alumnae who continue to support the camp. Camp Daisy Hindman continues to offer a place for  G.I.R.L.s to grow  thanks to the hard work of Daisy Hindman, the Council and the community that came together to build this camp.

Thank you to the leaders who made our camp properties a reality, the donors who continue to fund improvements, the alumnae who keep history alive and the G.I.R.L.s who give life to the campsite each year. Camp Daisy Hindman truly is a special place.

We hope you’ll join us for the 2017 alumnae reunion to share camp stories, celebrate our Lifetime members, participate in adventure programming and rededicate Neal Lodge and the Oakledge Ish-ki-ti-ni! Registration closes September 8, so register today at https://www.gsksmo.org/reunion!

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