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Girl Scouts of America
Camp Unit History
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The following is the history of each camp unit.


Following the National Girl Scout organization trend to develop units for various levels, a junior camp unit was established in 1925. The unit was developed near the lake and was called Hillcrest. It states in an early camp report that "the fires of Hillcrest reflect on Lake Ely." Hillcrest started as a group of tents and then in 1928, four cabins were erected. The wood for the cabin came from an old barn and slabbed sides and asbestos shingles were added. The name Hillcrest lasted until 1931 when it was changed to Green Forest. The pines, which surround Forest, were planted in 1921, 1922, and 1923. Some 9,000 trees have been planted on the campgrounds since the first land purchase.

Camp Archbald is proud of its many "firsts" and the one we can be proudest of is the establishment of the very first Brownie encampment. In 1933, Brownies from nine established packs attended camp. A special staff of Brownie Owls and Tawny Owls were recruited. The staff numbered one to every four Brownies. The Brownies lived in Green Forest and engaged in a program quite distinct from that carried out by the older Scouts. Camp Archbald was qualified in 1933 as to layout, staff, and program to make camping for Brownies practical. Since then, Brownies have been a part of camp every year. In 1941, Sunnyside, another Brownie unit, was added.

During 1939-1941, the unit was again called Hillcrest when the Brownies were in attendance the Frontier when older girls occupied the unit. The forest troop house was built in 1949. This troop house was one of the most beautifully locatedwhere the girls work and play on the large porch, which overlooks the lake and the Gateway to Heaven.

In 1961, the original Forest cabins were torn down and replaced with Adirondack shelters, three-sided wooden structures with a canvas curtain across the front of each.

Pioneer Camp/Hultz

Pioneer camping was started in 1925 by Miss Amy Hultz. The unit has been located in the same spot since its beginning and was later named "Hultz" in honor of the first pioneer unit leader. The outdoor kitchen in Hultz had a canvas roof made from the first camp mess tent. Nearby was a huge gong used to assemble the campers. After many good years, the old Hultz kitchen was razed. In 1931, a more permanent kitchen was built so that the girls could cook breakfast and dinner. Supplies were backpacked from main camp by the girls. Again, in 1949, the fireplace was replaced and a washstand was added. A specialty of Hultz was the annual Bean Hole Supper cooked in a hot rock-lined pit. Cold food was stored in an Indian cooler-a moss covered cave dug in the hillside.

The Hultz troop house, a log cabin with a beautiful fireplace, was a gift of the Samter family in 1932. It was destroyed by fire some time later.


     Another tent unit was established in 1929 called Neverlands. The girls became followers of Peter Pan and the program was for girls 10 and 11 years old. In 1930, the name changed to Wildwood and again in 1931 the name changed to Gypsyland. It was discontinued when Nissaki was built in 1932.


The Greenwood unit was established in 1925. Situated on the wooden ledges beyond the flagpole, Greenwood adopted, as its theme, "Robin Hood and his Merry Men." Four Adirondack shelters were built in 1925 and four more were added in 1932. Tents replaced the shelters in 1947. In 1968, a primitive outdoor kitchen was added to allow girls to cook once or twice a day. Tent camping in Greenwood ended when all the tents were destroyed by a fire in the storage barn in 1986.

Dedication for a new building erected on the Greenwood site was held in 1991 in honor of Louise Greener Williams, an extraordinary woman who served as camp director and Scranton Council director for 26 years. The new building was aptly named Treetops for its cliff hanging site and innovative new design. Because of its less primitive design, Treetops is now used to house the girls in first, second and third grades.

The Greenwood troop house was built at the foot of the hill in 1954. It is winterized and available for year round camping. It is equipped with a kitchen, toilet, and twin sleeping lofts to accommodate 22 campers.


The camp enrollment grew with each passing summer. Pioneer camping became so popular there was a need for a second unit. "Grizzly" was opened in 1929 and located beyond Hultz. The unit was named for Gertrude Gold whose nickname was Grizzly.

In 1933, the first ever covered wagon gypsy trip planned by Girl Scouts was taken by the girls of grizzly. The trip was so successful it continued as one of the regular features of pioneer camp life until 1970. 1956 featured the building of a combination troop house and kitchen to replace the old primitive kitchen. This facility has since been moved to Hultz. In 1960, Grizzly was used by the counselors-in-training. At present, though, Grizzly is not being utilized.


Four cabins were erected in an open field in 1932 to house eight girls each. The area was called Nissaki. The Reciprocity Club of Scranton donated a troop house. The name Nissaki changed to The Ship in 1935 and then back to Nissaki from 1936-1939. In 1940, the name Green Meadows was adopted. This name was shortened to Meadows over the years. A shower house was added in 1947 and renovation to the cabins and troop house were made in 1968.


Another first! The very first Mariner unit to be opened in any Girl Scout Camp was started at Camp Archbald in 1938. One houseboat, which floated on drums on Lake Ely, was christened the "Hey You." A second boat, the "Challenge" was added in 1939. The two houseboats have been rebuilt twice: once when the wooden roof was added in place of a leaky canvas, again, when the boats were taken off the lake and situated on the shoreline.

In 1982, the two boats were officially retired, but on August 12, 1984, a new house boat, the "Hey You II" was christened with due ceremony. The following year, its sister ship, the "Challenge" was put afloat; both built by Senior Girl Scouts of the Johnson technical Institute, Scranton. An additional boat was recently added called the "Scout" which is utilized by counselors. Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts living on the boat participate in canoe and basic rescue certification courses and qualify for the canoe trips on the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers.


In 1941 a special Brownie unit, Sunnyside, was added. Three cabins were built on the hillside in view of main camp. This unit, housing 24 brownies, had always been filled to capacity. In 1946, a combination troop house and wash house was built for work and play on rainy days. In 1960, the original cabins were removed and modern cabins were built which feature aluminum windows, screens, and individual closet space for each girl


In 1947, as the demand for counselors increased, a special three tent unit for training twenty counselors was set up in a secluded spot just beyond Grizzly. The only structure was a latrine as water was carried from Grizzly and a counselor lived away from the site so the girls learned to govern themselves. In 1961, Applenook became the training unit and Samoset became a campfire site. In the late 1960s, Samoset again assumed housing CITs although at the present time, it is no longer in use.


In 150, the number of girls attending camp went over its 1000 mark. There was an increased demand for a unit for 11 and 12 year olds. A new unit, Beechwood, was established to be a "junior Greenwood." Because of its unsatisfactory location, where the "Quiet Place" is now located, Beechwood was discontinued in 1961.


In 1961, Applenook was added to replace Beechwood. Land had been purchased on the westerly side of the main camp and a decision was made to spread the camp out in that direction. Applenook was a primitive unit, having as its only permanent building, a latrine. The girls prepared for National Girl Scout Roundup by pitching their own tents, cooking two meals a day and mastering other survival skills using official Roundup equipment. It also housed CITs. Because of its remoteness, it was been disbanded.


In 1961, Maples was also added to the expanding camp. The tent unit housed 26-30 girls who enjoyed pre-pioneer adventure. For several years, a bicycle trip was the highlight of the unit. A large troop house was added to the unit n 1967 to be used on rainy days or cool evenings. The troop house is used for troop camping through the fall and spring.