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Fay Gunn in uniform
Fay's Page:

My Life in Girl Scouts

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Girl Scout Stories

Fay camp counselor

Great GS story sent to us by Gail Yook!

A Thanksgiving Story Told by Juliette Low (founder of GS USA)

One year for Thanksgiving, we raised a turkey and we all became very fond of
him—even called him "Old Tom." When the day came for Tom to become Thanksgiving dinner, I begged my papa for the turkey's life, and, if not, then at least for anesthesia.

So we got some chloroform, put poor Tom to sleep, plucked him, and put him in the
cold storage. We did not, however, cut off his head.

So the next morning when we went to get him for cooking, he was very much alive and very, very mad. He chased Mama and the cook round and round, until finally he was caught, and had to lose his head. It really was a Thanksgiving to remember!


A special note of Thanksgiving to each of you--

Thank you for all you do in the name of Girl Scouting. You are an important role
model. Even small actions touch the lives of our girls, their families and other
adult Girl Scouts. Thank you for being there-- You are appreciated!

Gail Yook
Girl Scout Museum at Daisy's Place
Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians

An addition to the story "Izzie, Fay and the Klan"

When I was at the GS ice cream social, I was able to get a good picture of the Knoxville, TN Mohican Troop 8 from 1924-26. On row four on the far left is Elizabeth Ijams. She was the daughter of Harry P.and Alice Yoe Ijams. She was a Director of the Knoxville council and later that same position in Nashville and evenually to a national position.

In the third row, is Mary Elizabeth Ferris, just below Elizabeth Ijams. Mary Elizabeth Ferris and Elie Manley were the first Golden Eagelets in Knoxville in 1924

The Walter Donald Ross Award: Girls and Leaders Can Change Their World.
This story, also, originates from the book "And The Fence Came Down" (seen in the story Fay, Izzie and the Klan below) by Joyce Maienschein and Eileen Neiler. It is an excellent book to add to any library.

The Walter Donald Ross Award was given to the Senior Troop 69 of Oak Ridge, TN in 1970 and received at the National in 1972 in Dallas. This award was “given each year to the most outstanding service troop in the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scout” and was given only once to a troop in the United States! What did this troop do? Their work started as Intermediate Troop 45 doing conservation and landscaping for their council. They cleared a trail labeling trees and wild flowers. They started a paper recycling program to raise money to go the the Birthplace and as Senior Troop 69 turned it into a city wide paper recycling which lasted 30 years until the city took over the recycling. “Troop 45's Curved Bar service project was learning Braille from Mrs. Frank Parker, who had been given her diploma from Helen Keller. The girls brailled for students at Daniel Arthur Rehabilitation Center and continued into Senior Scouting” They won a Reader’s Digest Grant to buy braille writers and instruction aids for a new program for the blind or visually impaired in Clinton, TN. This was a evening adult basic education class for the blind at Clinton High School in 1966. They won a second Reader’s Digest Grant in 1968 to prepare a nature trail for the blind at the Daniel Arthur Rehabilitation center in Oak Ridge. The brailling projects last until the 90's. The troop got involved with starting the Awareness House in Oak Ridge. Awareness House was a teen drop-in drug prevention/ counseling center. They received their third Reader’s Digest Grant to renovating offices and providing living quarters for a resident counselor. Troop 69 also started the Children’s Museum in Oak Ridge using another Reader’s Digest Grant. When the troop went to see Our Cabana in Cuernavaca, Mexico, they brought school supplies to do a project with children who were not able to go to school. They raised money to send materials to that school for several years until the government of Mexico took over the school.

Girls and their leaders really can change the world little by little!

This is a replica of the trophy given to Senior Troop 69 and leader, Mrs. Fred Maienschein. The original trophy has every troop engraved and resides in the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts office in London, Great Britain.


P.S. We know that Fay was at this meeting!

Girl Scouts and Segregation: Fay, Izzie and the Klan plus the Oak Ridge Experience
One day I asked Fay if she had known the Ijams family who were involved with Girl Scouts in Knoxville. She said that she knew the family and had visited at their house. Fay did not tell me Mrs. Harry Ijams and Mrs. W.E. Ijams had been on the National Board of Directors at different times. Elizabeth Ijams, daughter of Mr, and Mrs, Harry Ijams, had attended the Macy Director Training with her in 1930.I had discovered that information going through Fay's papers. Fay did tell me that National asked Fay and Elizabeth (Izzie) Ijams to direct one of the first integrated leader training in this area. The training must have been going fine until it came to the over-night part. Fay told me that the Klan invaded the camp and told the women that they didn't think it was right for southern women to sleep in the same tents with negro women. Izzie Ijams told the men that if they were real southern gentlemen, they had no business coming into the women's tents. They shamed the Klan into leaving. The women may have been afraid, but they were determined to do the right thing. I think this occurred in the early to middle 1950's.

To really appreciate the significance and potential dangers of the time, one only has to look to Clinton, TN, ten miles away and what happened when a group of black students, who have become known as the "Clinton 12", integrated Clinton High School. Judge Robert Taylor of the U.S. District Court of Knoxville, TN, ordered the School Board to end segregation in the fall of 1956. These students were the first to desegregate a state supported Tennessee high school, or in any southern state. Some White Citizens Council agitators came to town to incite violence and to intimidate the students. There was so much protest, rioting, threats of bombs that the Governor sent in the National Guard to keep order. A white minister was severely beaten after escorting the black students to the school. There were cross-burnings on the lawns of teachers and civic leaders who supported integration. The slate of White Citizen Council in the Dec.1956, election was defeated. The first black student graduated in May 1957. Then on Oct.5,1958, the high school was bombed. The students were bussed to Oak Ridge to use the empty Linden elementary school until the school was rebuilt.

Oak Ridge was a government owned and segregated town until 1955 since it was involved in the development of the Atomic Bomb. The town was surrounded by a security fence with entrance only through guard gates until 1949. In January 1955, the Superintendent of Oak Ridge Schools announced that the Atomic Energy Commission mandated schedule of school desegregation would begin in September 1955.

And The Fence Came DownThe book "And The Fence Came Down", has a number of stories about the effort to integrate with Girl Scout activities in Oak Ridge TN in 1947-49. One story in particular was really neat. The federal government would not allow black girls to "attend an integrated activity inside an official building; so, the Girl Scouts held it Outside." Later, the government allowed the Negro Girl Scouts to attend an event, but only if seated in the back of the room. The director, Evelyn Harris, had some of the Negro Girl Scouts be the flag bearers for the flag ceremony. This was always an honor for the girls. "A Girl Scout Play Day was the first known integrated city-wide activity for Oak Ridge Youth." Some of the leaders did receive anonymous phone calls "threatening their children or homes, cross burning the whole bit "but they continued; because they believed that the law to be "a friend to all and a sister to every other Girl Scout regardless of color or creed. No child would be excluded." The Girl Scout leaders in the town and area took the law to heart and helped change minds. There was no problem with the Girl Scouts for school integration since that had been encouraged since the earliest days.

It was a demonstration of the conviction and courage to stand up against the hatred and institutionalized bigotry of the time. We should all thank and salute them for helping to end segregation.


P.S. Just to give another picture of the racial tension of the time, my daughter told me a story while she worked at the Highlander Research and Education Center. In 1958 Eleanor Roosevelt was planning to attend a civil rights workshop at the then Highlander Folk School. The Klan found out about the workshop. They put a $25,000 bounty on her head. The FBI said that they could not protect her and that she couldn't go. Eleanor Roosevelt said that she was going anyway. A little old lady (71) picked up the 74 year old Eleanor Roosevelt at the airport in Nashville. For protection they had a gun on the seat as they drove to Monteagle and the Highlander. We have since been able to verify that this was a true story. Eleanor Roosevelt had been the Honorary President of Girl Scouts as First Lady. -sc

The book "And The Fence Came Down" is available at the Girl Scout Museum at the Tanasi Council.

There is a detailed article about the Clinton12 and Clinton Desegregation and in the book "Tennessee Encyclopedia."

  • Here is a link to the Eleanor Roosevelt story. It is a pro-gun site, but has interesting info and pictures.
  • Here is a link if you would like to read more about the Highlander
  • Here is a link to the if you would like to read more about the Clinton, TN and the desegregation crisis.
Girl Scout Stories and "The First Circulating Baby": A True Story
I found some old books for young adults who were Girl Scouts. The books were copyrighted in the 1920's. I took them over to Joyce Maienschein, the director of the Girl Scout Museum in of Tanasi who read them. When she was a girl in the thirties she had read the books and had thought that they were just pieces of fiction. Fact may stranger than fiction. After the museum was established, one of the older Girl Scouts brought in a doll which had been in the Smithsonian Institution for a while and has a fascinating story.

Mabel Pain was a real girl who really was adopted by Girl Scout Troop 3. The real story of "Mabel, First Circulating Baby in World, Is Only Three, But She's Some Girl" (This was the actual headline of the Washington Times). Thanks to Mrs. John Neiler, the librarian for the museum, who gave us all the details: "The story is in the book "The Girl Scout Triumph" by Katherine Keene Galt. It is the story of Miss Mabel Pain who was once "...a little waif, without parents and without a home." Mable was discovered by the girls of Troop 3 when they decided to adopt a baby (I assume because they wished to learn/earn badge re child Care; but, the book does not say that)...a big job for a group of girls! Anyway, it was with the agreement of the Troop Leader and the parents of the girls that the effort was made to go ahead with the project and thus Mabel was found and became the first "circulating baby!"

Mabel spent one week with each girl's family and when she got to the Pain home it was truly love at first sight for Mrs. Pain who was captain of the troop and had shown keen interest in the baby from the start; Mrs. Pain was also a trained instructor of children. Mrs. Pain became very active in Girl Scouts in Washington, D.C. helping "Daisy" Low establish Girl Scouting on a sound footing, and organized her own troop.

Her troop was featured in the story book "Girl Scouts Triumph," which tells about a troop taking an orphaned toddler, passing her from family to family until she arrived back with Mr. and Mrs. Pain who decided to adopt her."

You can see this doll in the display case (doll on left) on the Girl Scout Museum page wearing the
First Khaki Camp Uniform 1914. This doll was made for young Mabel, with Mrs. Pain sewing the unifrom and Mr. Pain painting the insignia. Mrs. Pain later gave the doll to her friend Elsie Jachowski who was living in Washington, D.C., the mother of Frances Van Winkle of Knoxville. Elsie Jachowski was given the doll in the early 1900's by Mabel Pain, an English friend of Lady Baden-Powell and Juliette Low. Mr. Pain, an artist, who worked with Scotland Yard in England, was sent to the United States to work in the War Department during WWI. The exact date of the doll is unknown, but it was surely made before 1920. It has previously been on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and is now on permanent loan to our Girl Scout Museum at Daisy's Place. Our thanks to Mrs. Van Winkle for sharing this very special doll."

I have books done by three authors, Katherine Keene Galt, Edith Lavell, and Margaret Vandercook. Each of these authors give
an interesting view of the early days of Girl Scouting. The Girls Scouts of the Eagles Wing was about how these early troops were started and an idea of the structure of the troop as while as the troops in the community. The Girl Scouts' Triumph seemed more concerned with the Girl Scout oath and the ten Girl Scout laws and how they apply in girls lives. Another book was about the structure of the local and national Girl Scouts. This book, THE GIRL SCOUTS' DIRECTOR by Edith Lavell, is more about growing councils and the number of Girl Scouts going into professional management in GS (title page). I was interested in this since I learned that Aunt Fay became a director in 1930. However, she did not have the same experiences as the young woman in the book.

I have also enjoyed reading the early days of our own council by Jerry Warwick, MEMORIES FOR A LIFETIME A History of Tanasi Girl Scout Council. I just love looking a old photographs. Seeing a doll and looking at the old photographs as well some of the Girl Scout Series books really gives a good feel for the early days of Girl scouts.

If you have an historical Girl Scout true story, send it to me and I will add it to this section to share with other Girl Scout enthusiasts.


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