Celebrating 16 Years as Barrington’s Signature Magazine

The Girl Scouts of Barrington

Civic Spirit, Skills, and Adventure in Times of War and Peace

Written By Barbara L. Benson

Barrington Girl Scout Photos
By Linda M. Barrett

Special Thanks to Claire Leininger for Historical Information

Historic Photos Courtesy of Barrington Girl Scouts

Juliette Gordon Low
Juliette Gordon Low (1860–1927) is the founder of the Girl Scouts, the largest and most successful organization in the world for girls. This year marks the 108th anniversary for the national organization, and the 88th year since the Barrington Girl Scouts was founded, in 1932.
Juliette Gordon Low officiates at a Girl Scout event.
Left: Juliette Gordon Low officiates at a Girl Scout event. Right: Juliette Gordon Low in uniform at a Washington, D.C. conference in 1923.

The scrapbook that chronicles the early years of the Girl Scouts of Barrington is not a leather-bound, gold tooled volume. Instead, it has a particle board cover with colorful pasted on cutouts, and parchment-like pages with glued-in newspaper clippings. The pages are three-hole punched and tied together with shoelaces. For the history of Girl Scouting in Barrington, it is priceless. A tiny clipping on the first page dated December 17, 1931 briefly tells us “The School Welfare Committee Reports that plans for the Girl Scouts are working out nicely, and they expect to have the first Troop organized just after the first of the year.” This was the School Welfare Committee of the Barrington Woman’s Club.

The date has an unheralded significance. One hundred years earlier, in 1831, Mrs. Juliette Magill Kinzie, wife of John Kinzie, the government agent at Fort Winnebago in Wisconsin, traveling from Chicago to the Fort, had ridden through the southwestern corner of what is now Cuba Township. Her journey was eloquently described in her book, published in 1855, “Wau-Bun The Early Day in the Northwest”. After three years at the Fort, the Kinzies returned to the family homestead on the Chicago River near Fort Dearborn, where they raised six children. One daughter, Eleanor or Nellie as she was known, married William Washington Gordon, a cotton broker from Savannah, Georgia.

Founder Juliette Gordon Low

One of six children of the Gordons, Juliette, known throughout her life as Daisy, grew up as a Southern lady, but often visiting her Kinzie grandparents in Chicago, where they were community leaders. Daisy married Andrew “Willy” Low, a wealthy and bon vivant English aristocrat. Low was a member of the Marlborough set, those who gravitated to the orbit of Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward the Seventh. Although almost deaf from the mistreatment of an ear infection, Daisy became an accomplished hostess for dinners and balls, shooting parties, and racing meets that filled the daily diary of this high-living crowd.

When her marriage broke down, Daisy was challenged by her independence. She met Lord Robert Baden Powell, the founder of the Boy Scout movement in Great Britain, and his sister Agnes Baden Powell who was developing a sister movement, the Girl Guides. Daisy was inspired as she began working alongside Agnes, forming her own Troops. Returning to America in 1912, Daisy went home to Savannah, and there, on March 12, she founded the Girl Scout Movement, and began its immersion into the community life of America.

Brownies of Barrington
Barrington Brownies in 1932.

Mariner, Horseback, and Winter Sport Skills

The growth of the Girl Scouts in Barrington encompassed both its town and country leaders and schools. Many of the activities reflected the background and expertise of their leaders. In 1939, a Mariner’s Troop was formed, whose leader was Miss Bonnie Jean Clark. Her father Sheldon Clark was a Commodore of the Chicago Yacht Club, with a home in Barrington’s north countryside. Girls who were 14 years and older and had previously been Girl Scouts were eligible for the Mariner Ship troop, which would have some exciting experiences.

In 1939, a Brownie pack was organized for girls from 7 to 10 years old. Under the leadership of Mrs. Lloyd Graham and Mrs. Cyril Anderson, the Brownies met on Saturday Mornings at the Scout cabin. In 1939 too, Girl Scout Notes in the Barrington Review reported on February 2: “The scouts and leaders of Troop 2 are all very pleased over the fact that Miss Virginia “Ginna” Cardwell will again return to the troop as one of its lieutenants. Miss Cardwell worked with the group last year. Scouts who are interested in horseback riding will be glad to learn that Miss Cardwell, who is one of the outstanding riders in Barrington will instruct them in that sport this spring making it possible for several girls to earn their “Horsewoman” badge.” Ginna (Cardwell) Reinhardt was appointed Master of the Fox River Valley Hunt in 1960.

The same “Notes” reported that Miss Jane Cummings, who was connected with the Children’s Theatre of the Chicago Junior League, would work with scouts interested in a “Stagecraft” badge. For scouts not in the play, there was a “winter sports badge” with Miss Bonnie Jean Clark instructing in the fundamentals of skating and skiing.

All of these activities were in full swing throughout 1940 and 1941, including members of the Mariners Troop completing a six day trip on Lake Michigan. When America joined the Second World War in 1941, there was one important emphasis to local scouting. Minutes of the March 2, 1942, Girl Scout Council Meeting included requirements sent out from National headquarters for Senior Service Scouts. It was recommended that courses be offered the older girls in first aid, childcare, and home nursing so that they might meet those requirements.

Underlined in the Minutes is the following: “by having a first aid kit, cots, and blankets in the general locker, the cabin could be used as an emergency first aid station and evacuation center for children if a need arose. The senior girls, trained in handling children, would be invaluable in the home defense program in case a wholesale evacuation from Chicago.” This reflected the fears of how close the war might come.

A portrait of MFH Virginia Cardwell
Left: A portrait of MFH Virginia Cardwell. Middle: Barrington Girl Scout Historian Julia Sefing Rock in 1931. She earned an 80-year pin for her service. Right: Selling cookies to finance troop activities began as early as 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouts in the United States. The Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project.

Mariner, Horseback, and Winter Sport Skills

The growth of the Girl Scouts in Barrington encompassed both its town and country leaders and schools. Many of the activities reflected the background and expertise of their leaders. In 1939, a Mariner’s Troop was formed, whose leader was Miss Bonnie Jean Clark. Her father Sheldon Clark was a Commodore of the Chicago Yacht Club, with a home in Barrington’s north countryside. Girls who were 14 years and older and had previously been Girl Scouts were eligible for the Mariner Ship troop, which would have some exciting experiences.

In 1939, a Brownie pack was organized for girls from 7 to 10 years old. Under the leadership of Mrs. Lloyd Graham and Mrs. Cyril Anderson, the Brownies met on Saturday Mornings at the Scout cabin. In 1939 too, Girl Scout Notes in the Barrington Review reported on February 2: “The scouts and leaders of Troop 2 are all very pleased over the fact that Miss Virginia “Ginna” Cardwell will again return to the troop as one of its lieutenants. Miss Cardwell worked with the group last year. Scouts who are interested in horseback riding will be glad to learn that Miss Cardwell, who is one of the outstanding riders in Barrington will instruct them in that sport this spring making it possible for several girls to earn their “Horsewoman” badge.” Ginna (Cardwell) Reinhardt was appointed Master of the Fox River Valley Hunt in 1960.

The same “Notes” reported that Miss Jane Cummings, who was connected with the Children’s Theatre of the Chicago Junior League, would work with scouts interested in a “Stagecraft” badge. For scouts not in the play, there was a “winter sports badge” with Miss Bonnie Jean Clark instructing in the fundamentals of skating and skiing.

All of these activities were in full swing throughout 1940 and 1941, including members of the Mariners Troop completing a six day trip on Lake Michigan. When America joined the Second World War in 1941, there was one important emphasis to local scouting. Minutes of the March 2, 1942, Girl Scout Council Meeting included requirements sent out from National headquarters for Senior Service Scouts. It was recommended that courses be offered the older girls in first aid, childcare, and home nursing so that they might meet those requirements.

Underlined in the Minutes is the following: “by having a first aid kit, cots, and blankets in the general locker, the cabin could be used as an emergency first aid station and evacuation center for children if a need arose. The senior girls, trained in handling children, would be invaluable in the home defense program in case a wholesale evacuation from Chicago.” This reflected the fears of how close the war might come.

Lipofsky’s department store in downtown Barrington
Left: Lipofsky’s department store in downtown Barrington was an authorized source for scouting items. Right: LaVere LaRue stops by Lipofsky’s store.

Scouting Supplies at Lipofsky’s Store

In October 1942, a milestone was reached when Barrington’s troops reached a membership of 100 girls, the required number for a local store to be designated an official Girl Scout equipment center. This honor fell to the S. Lipofsky Store, and ended only when the store on Cook Street, then owned by Harold Lipofsky, was destroyed by fire in 1989. By 1942, Barrington Girl Scouts consisted of two senior troops, three intermediate troops, and two Brownie troops.

After the war, the population of Barrington grew exponentially when corporations built their headquarters here, new subdivisions met the need for housing, and in the countryside areas new villages were incorporated. By 1947 most country schools had been consolidated into new elementary schools which organized their own troops. Barrington Girl Scouts were organized into the Pamaho Neighborhood which included the Village of Barrington, North Barrington School, Fox River Grove, and Cary.

Training to Be Good Citizens

On the Golden Anniversary of Girl Scouting on March 11, 1962 there was a celebration at Cary-Grove High School. Pamaho Neighborhood, now a member of the Sybaquay Council of Girl Scouts, joined this joyous occasion. Sybaquay was a Native American princess who had lived in this area about 150 years ago. Now there were 3,500,000 Registered Girl Scouts in America with 30,000 men holding jobs such as council presidents and committee members.

That priceless scrapbook takes us through the 1960s, as the Pamaho Neighborhood Girl Scouts graced the life of the Barrington area with activities that prepared them to be good citizens for their community and their country. In 1963, members of North Barrington Girl Scout Cadette Troop 77 took a summer bus trip to Springfield to experience the workings of state government.

In July 1964, there was an impressive event for the girls when the colors at Camp Algonquin, now badly tattered were lowered, and a carefully prescribed flag burning ritual took place. It is a ritual described in Girl Scout handbooks, and also in leaflets which are available from the American Legion.

At Girl Scout Week in 1969, Barrington Girl Scouts were recognized with a Proclamation by then Village President John Blanke. The movement had flourished in the Barrington area, and now numbered hundreds of scouts at all levels.

The Girl Scouts celebrated the 1976 Bicentennial Year with special activities. Six senior girls met with Mrs. Helen Zoern, one of the founders of the Barrington Historical Society, learned about its purpose, and set up a display of Girl Scout memorabilia in the museum’s windows then on West Station Street. When David Martin of Tower Lakes headed the 1976-77 Lake County United Way Fund Campaign, Girl Scouts from the Sybaquay Council were among the hundreds of Lake County Girl Scouts who had an opportunity to show him how their many projects benefitted from United Way funds. In May 1976, Troop #352 spent a weekend touring Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, where they saw Thomas Edison’s laboratory and Abraham Lincoln’s Courthouse.

The 21st century brought new challenges for the Girl Scouts to keep pace with the times, as advancements in science and technology broadened curricula. After school activities, besides the arts and sports, increasingly included community service projects, which provided an ideal opening for scouting involvement.

Daisies are named after Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low
Left: Daisies are named after Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low, whose childhood nickname was “Daisy”. Daisies in Barrington enjoyed a traditional rope runner competition at the Wilmering Scout cabin in fall 2019. Right: Barrington Daisy Katelyn Patchak shows the wide variety of badges that can be earned today, including activities in the Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics (STEM) categories.

Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois

In 2009, four local Girl Scout councils were merged to form Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois to include 15,000 girls and 5,000 adults in 1,000 troops in all or portions of 16 counties including Cook, Lake, and McHenry counties, sections of which comprise the Barrington area. While this encompassed standardized programming across the country, this still provided a customizable experience that provided choices for girls within the Girl Scout structure.

The girls can drive their experiences and explore issues that are relevant to them, and to develop skills to improve their worlds. Tradition may still drive the scouting experience, but such contemporary issues as bullying are addressed, and teaching what to do and not to do online. Online safety is part of a badge that can be earned.

Minecraft Mondays can include playing video games, STEM education, entrepreneurial, arts and crafts and career exploration, and outdoor and nature programming. The Girl Scout cookie program now includes financial literacy and life skills. At Camp CEO the older girls learn interviewing skills for future employment, and how to apply for college. Travel, the global community, meeting people, how to be responsible citizens—their horizons are being opened for them and for their future.

A Still Thriving Source of Good

Before women could vote, Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low championed inclusivity, independence, confidence, leadership, and personal growth for young women and girls. More than 59 million Girl Scout Alumnae have taken the organization’s mission to heart over the years.

Of the 15,000 girls and more than 5,000 adults who make up the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, presently the Barrington Service Unit has 512 Registered Girls and 147 Registered Adult Volunteers in 45 Troops among seven elementary schools, Saint Anne School, two Middle Schools, and Barrington High School. So far this year, 45 girls have become eligible for the Highest Awards in their levels. In spite of all the contemporary changes and distractions, the Girl Scout Movement flourishes in Barrington. What a joy it would be, if Mrs. Juliette Magill Kinzie and her granddaughter, Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low could ride through the Barrington area today. Thanks to the participation of scouting in conservation and the environment, they might recognize, here and there, a carpet of native prairie wildflowers.

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Bonnie-Jean Clark Fetridge

A foremost leader behind the early success of Girl Scouting in Barrington

A Daisy group at the Wilmering Scout cabin enjoy activities in Fall 2019.
A Daisy group at the Wilmering Scout cabin enjoy activities in Fall 2019.

Bonnie-Jean Clark Fetridge was the daughter of Sheldon and Bonnie Carrington Clark. Her parents had purchased 80 acres near Rainbow Road during the great “land rush” from Chicago and the North Shore in the 1920s and ‘30s to acquire country retreats in the rolling Barrington countryside.

Bonnie-Jean came from a nautical family; her father, a lifelong and renowned yachtsman, was Commodore of the Chicago Yacht Club from 1921 to 1923, where he held Membership #1. He sailed in the Americas Cup with Sir Thomas Lipton and many Chicago to Mackinaw races. A Regatta still bears his name. He was the national head of the Sea Scouts. With this background, Bonnie-Jean made a major contribution to the early years of Girl Scouting in Barrington. In 1938, she became Skipper of the Mariner’s Troop. The Girl Scout scrapbook documents activities of the Mariner’s Troop and their ship “Rainbow”.

After her marriage to William Fetridge, her life exemplified volunteer dedication especially to Girl Scouting. She died in 2009, aged 93. She was a long-time board member of the Girl Scouts of Chicago, Region VII of the GSA, and a member of the Program Committee, Advisory Board and International Commissioner’s Advisory Panel of the Girl Scouts, U.S.A. She was founder and first president of the Olive Baden-Powell Society, a major source of fundraising for the World Organization of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. She was Vice-Chairman of the Friends of our Cabana Committee, Cuernavaca, Mexico, and Chairman of the Juliette Low Friendship Committee. She received the Juliette Low World Friendship Medal from Girl Scouts U.S.A., and the first Medal of Recognition from the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

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Julia Sefing Rock

In 2007, Girl Scout alumnae gather for the 75th anniversary of the Barrington Girl Scouts founding (1932)
In 2007, Girl Scout alumnae gather for the 75th anniversary of the Barrington Girl Scouts founding (1932). In front, from left: Dorothy Fromm and Dr. Shirley Peterson. In back, from left: Betsy Papp, Julia Rock, and LaVere LaRue.

On April 5, 2010, there was a Julia “Rockfest” at Lake Barrington Woods befitting two milestones in the life of Julia Rock—her 90th birthday and 80 years in Girl Scouting. Family, friends, and leaders of Chicago’s Girl Scout community came to pay tribute to this remarkable woman, who had, wherever life had taken her, together with her husband Phil, raised her family, followed her church, immersed herself in local history, and above all, made Girl Scouting an essential part of her life.

From her investiture at age 10 in East Lansing, Michigan, except for a brief time at college, Julia was a Girl Scout and Girl Scout leader. When she and Phil moved to Barrington in 1970, Julia had been a field staff member, an assistant troop leader, a trainer, and consultant. In West Englewood and Boonton, New Jersey, she was a Senior Leader, trainer, board member, and troop consultant with the Morris Area Girl Scout Council.

Arriving in Barrington, the Rocks settled in Biltmore, and quickly found the Historical Society. With her credentials, Julia joined the Sybaquay Council. She took on the invaluable task as curator and historian, assembling a comprehensive collection of Girl Scout uniforms and memorabilia stored at the Barrington Museum. At numerous Barrington troop meetings, Julia shared items from the collection with the girls so that they could see the older uniforms and handbooks. She also co-organized the Chicago Metropolitan Area Girl Scout Historians Group.

Julia found time for local history research and assisted in conducting historical bus tours in the countryside. She precisely documented the Baby Face Nelson story. Julia had a vibrant, energetic personality, never satisfied until she had explored every historical avenue, which would lead to one of her classic sayings, “I tell you, history is always changing!”

For some 35 years, Julia Rock was a key figure in Barrington and the Northern Illinois Girl Scout community, and on that April day in 2010, her family, friends, and fellow Girl Scout alumna cheered and applauded as the President of the Northern Illinois Council presented Julia with her 80-year Girl Scout pin, together with a congratulatory letter from the President of the Girl Scouts of America. There were “90 cheers for 90 years”, as Julia, ever immaculate and gracious, enjoyed this remarkable day.

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