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HoP: Organizations For Girls In Piedmont - Camp Fire Girls #14

Updated: Feb 28

Patsy Riley

March 18, 1929

Civic's Term Topic on the subject of Organizations For Girls In Piedmont

Revised and shortened, April 8 1929


This term paper is fondly dedicated to Miss Rhea Rupert of the Piedmont Camp Fire Girls in appreciation for what she has done for so many of the girls, and for what she has done for Winema


Outline for Term Topic-Organizations for Girls in Piedmont (Revised and Shortened)

I. History of the Piedmont Camp Fire Girls

II. The Three Branches of Camp Fire In Piedmont

a           Blue Birds

b           Camp Fire Girls

c           Winema

III. Conclusion-What the Piedmont Camp Fire Girls Have Accomplished



History of the Piedmont Camp Fire Girls


The Piedmont Camp Fire Girl's Organization was started on December 1. 1922, under the supervision of Miss Rhea Rupert, as social service worker who had her training in Washington and Oregon.  The organization was then called the Girl’s Community Service, and it was their aim to do the same work as was done by the Boy Scout Organization. The entire organization was made into two groups – the Bluebirds for the younger girls, and the Camp Fire for the older girls. These two groups were divided into many smaller groups all under the direction of an older girl or woman, usually one of the mothers. Each afternoon after school had some definite activity planned, one evening having nature work, another hand craft, and various other similar lines of work.


When Camp Fire first started in Piedmont started the rooms were in the Interdenominational Church, A few years later they were changed to the beautiful club rooms in the Community Center which they have at the present time. After the changing of rooms the name of Girl's Community Service was dropped, and the name Piedmont Camp Girls vas taken. They still have this name, but they maintain the same plans and the same ideas as before. Also the two main groups were kept-Bluebirds for the younger group and Camp Fire for the older girls.


In 1927 a new group was formed-"Winema." This group is for alumni of Camp Fire, that is the ones who have passed their highest rank, and who do not want to lost contact with the organization. Also desirable girls who have had no connection with Camp Fire, but who desire to be associated with "Winema" are brought in by vote.

Since it has been formed, the Piedmont Camp Fire Girls Organization has grown rapidly, under the direction of Miss Rupert, and it is hoped by the members of Camp Fire that it will continue to grow and achieve great things.



Piedmont Blue Birds

Maurice Maeterlinck, the Belgian playwright and author, in his charming play “The Blue Bird” tells the story of two children, Mytyl and Tyltyl who start out in the world seeking the Blue Bird, the symbol of happiness. The two children are very anxious to find Happiness and go thru the entire world searching for it.  They have many and varied experiences and adventures, but each time, just as they think that their ambition is about to be realized they are mistaken. Sadly disappointed they return to their home to find to their great surprise, thay what they have searched the entire world for, was there in their own home.


It is from this beautiful little story of the "Blue Bird for Happiness" that the organization known as the Blue Birds was founded. In everything that Blue Birds do they find happiness, in their work, in service, and in play. They are the younger sisters of the Camp Fire, that wonderful organization for older girls. Blue Birds not only find Happiness; they give it. Because of their sunny cheerful dispositions they are popular in their homes, at school, and among their fellows.


Because a group is interested in doing together what the individual does not wish to do alone, the Blue Bird troops have been found most successful in carrying out the ideals essential to the growing girl. In these groups each girl finds others who are striving for the same goal; they find those whose ambitions are similar, and from them derive proper incentive for putting these ambitions and ideals into active practicr. The strength of the group becomes the strength of the individual, giving to each a sincerity of purpose and kindness of spirit which cannot be expelled.


Blue Bird groups are very democratic organizations and are absolutely non-sectarian. They are for girls who are in the grammar grades, and after entering Junior High the girl becomes a Camp Fire Girl.


The BIue Bird Law really signifies what the Blue Bird Organization stands for in Piedmont. The Law is as follows:

Blue Birds are loyal; Blue Birds are helpful; Blue Birds are honest; Blue Birds are happy; Blue Birds are kind; Blue Birds are reverent. Blue Birds obey their leader.


The general Blue Bird Motto, for all the Blue Birds, is also very significant of what Blue Birds stand for. The Motto is: Blue Birds sing, Blue Birds Help, Blue Birds Grow.

In everything the spirit of Happiness is carried thru.


Winema was formed in the early spring of 1927. Its purpose is to afford means of service and comradeship to girls who have been interested in Camp Fire, and who did not wish to lose touch with its purposes and aims. Any other girl who is not a Camp Fire Girl, but who is interested in the organization and its work, may be voted in by the members. Another purpose is to encourage and assist, where possible, all Camp Fire Activities. A certain number of meetings each year is devoted to some type of Service, selected by the organization.


The club does not exceed forty in membership, and all applications for membership may be made thru any member, who hands in the applicants name to the Chairman of the Membership Committee. The names, after being, voted on by the officers, are handed to the group for final consideration. If they are voted in there are certain tests the girls must pass, and they are expected to know the basic ideas and ideals of Camp Fire. They are then put thru a “funny” initiation, and alter that a beautiful ceremonial. This ceremonial is very impressive and beautiful, and every girl is proud to be taken thru it.


The officers are the usual ones that direct such an organization, and these officers decide every matter of business for the club.


The meetings are held every Friday, and some matter of programs are given after the business is done away with.


The name “Winema” came from an old Indian legend, and it means “Woman of the Brave Heart.” This legend concerns and Indian girl-Winema, who saved a group of whites from Indians who were going to massacre then. Ever afterwards she was called "Winema the Woman Of the Brave Heart."


It was this lovely story that caused the Senior Organization of Camp Fire Girls to choose the name of Winema.


Piedmont Camp Fire Girls

The Piedmont Camp Fire Girls is a general name given to the Blue Birds, Camp Fire Girls, and Winemas. In reality, however, it is composed of the group between Blue Birds and Winemas. As soon as a girl enters the Seventh grade, and passes the necessary requirements she becomes a Camp Fire Girl. After she enters Camp Fire she has three ranks she must pass. This takes from two or three years, sometimes longer. These ranks are the Wood Gatherers, The Fire Makers, and the Torch Bearer’s rank. After one has passed all of these ranks they are automatically brought into Winema, but they must be Sophomores. The Camp Fire group is the most important of the three groups, for it is the one that lays the basic ideas and ideals for later life. Winema is just a continuation of this, and Blue Birds lay the foundation. The Camp Fire Girls are a national organization, and are ruled by a National Board of Directors. Then there is also a local Board of Directors that takes care of the immediate needs of the group,

and the ones they know about. Camp Fire Girls have their own activities and requirements, and as the ranks go up; the harder these requirements become.


Many things can be said about the Camp Fire Girls, but I believe I told the main ideas of it in my first article-aims and purposes of the Camp Pire Organization as a Whole. Piedmont Camp Fire Girls have these same ideals and standards, and they have the same activities as the others do. They probably do more than some of the other Camp Fire Orgs. do, but they all carry the same ideas. The things that they do, however, can be summarized inone word- “Wohlo” – Work, Health and Love.

What the Piedmont Camp Fire Girls Have Accomplished


During the seven years the Piedmont Camp Fire Girls have been in existence they have accomplished a great deal. In some cases one cannot exactly put their fingers on the actual achievements, but the results are just the same.


The girls have brought girls into the organization who were discouraged, disheartened and thought the world in general despised them, end they have made new girls of them. On of the ideals of Camp Fire is service and the Camp Fire has certainly been of Service to many girls.


The Camp Fire Organization has helped the city of Piedmont in more ways than one. They have instilled the ideals and standards into the minds of many people, and because of this knowledge they are better citizens and finer characters. One of the Camp Fire activities is to plant trees. Many of the trees in the Piedmont park were and are planted by Camp Fire Girls, and also many of the flowers and shrubbery. They took over the down stairs of the Community Center, which was once the Armory, and made it into a beautiful and livable place, that any girl would be proud of. Once a year, on Sunday, the girls have a Camp Fire Girl's Sunday at the Piedmont Community Church. In this the girls have their ceremonials and rituals, and in this way people learn of Camp Fire.


The Camp Fire Girls take care of a number of Indian families on a reservation in California, and the girls practically keep them. They clothe and feed them, as well as giving them thing for their own pleasure.


The Winemas give fifty dollars a year to the Baby Hospital, besides doing other services in charity.


While the Berkeley, Oakland and Sacramento Camp Fire Girls were establishing their camps on Lake Vera, Piedmont Camp Fire Girls had been visiting various camps in California. Rhea Rupert, who had been in “charge of all Piedmont Camp Fire Girls camps” dreamed of a permanent camp on Lake Vera for Piedmont Camp Fire Girls. She was introduced to William and Charlotte Ehmann who had inherited $3,900.00 from Charlotte’s mother, Augusta J. Collins. The Ehmanns agreed to finance property on Lake Vera; this became Camp Augusta which Rhea Rupert directed from 1930 until 1947. Camp Augusta was the site of a Camp Fire Guardians’ course in the summer of 1939 and the Guardian, a Camp Fire publication for leaders of Camp Fire groups...

...In 1993, after the national Camp Fire organization ordered the Piedmont Camp Fire Council to merge with San Francisco or Oakland, the Piedmont Camp Fire Council became a new entity called Camp Augusta Inc. They continue to operate Camp Augusta as a non-profit camp for boys and girls.


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