Camp Archbald is a camp with one main goal: for each girl to develop skills, progress from basic to more advanced programs,
interact with other peers, and have fun as she grows. Perhaps what makes this camp so fun is the mere friendships and bonds
created with fellow campers. Maybe its the fun and enjoyment of the programs. Perchance it is the challenges of everyday camp
life that is so exhilarating.
The staff at camp Archbald consists of enthusiastic, young-at-heart adults who have
been trained to work with younger kids in the out-doors. They are college students and young adults from across the world.
For the younger children that may be afraid of out-door life or the thought of sleeping in a tent, the camp provides
cabins for the younger girls to catch their bearings until they are older.
Camp Archbald programs include swimming,
boating, canoe trips, crafts, games, sports, theatre performances, and many more. Each day brings new and exciting adventures.
Camp Archbald History
Camp Archbald did not develop overnight from the touch of a magicians wand. It has taken many years of work
and thought to make it into the modern and well-equipped organization it is today. Mts. Thomas F. Archbald was chairperson
of the camp committee in 1920, at the time when the council purchased the site of land of the present camp. It was through
the efforts of Mrs. Archbald and her committee that the dream of several years was realized. The site was named Camp Archbald
in her honor.
Camping began for the Scranton Girl Scouts in 1918. The first established camp was at Lake Coxton, directed
by Miss Mable Christ. Girls went to the campsite where they pitched tents, cooked meals, and enjoyed a waterfront program.
The site was not suitable for development so Mrs. Archbald and her committee began searching for a better site.
The committee was out looking for a campsite in Susquehanna County and lost their way. They stopped at the
Brooklyn Post Office and met Mrs. T. Oliver Williams who suggested they look at the lovely lake near Brooklyn called Lake
Ely. The committee immediately investigated it and while walking around the lake, were completely awed by the natural beauty
of the site. The Narrow strip of land on which the first camp was erected was rented from Shirley Stevens who lived in a neighboring
In 1921, the first tents were pitched on this site of rented land. One year later, 49 acres were purchased
for $1250. Mrs. Frank Kaiser was in charge of land deals and raised the money through private subscriptions. In 1926, campgrounds
were enlarged when 154.5 acres were purchased from Luther Ely for $8500. Again in 1959, Scouts contributed by delivering new
books for the Telephone Company, receiving $0.22 for each out-dated book they returned. So in 1959, the camp committee purchased
another parcel of 84.5 acres from the Ely family for $12000. There are now 288 acres of forests, woods, and open fields, which
provide summer fun for at least one thousand girls each summer.
The first camp year of 1921 was an eight-week session and 76 girls were enrolled every week. Today campers
arrive in cars and vans, but in 1921 and for some years later, they came to camp via the Northern Electric Trolley from Scranton
and stopped a mile from camp, from which point the girls hiked with their bedrolls to camp or may have been brought down by
truck. The cost for attending was $7 a week. Miss Florence Yost was the camp director. A row of tents was pitched in army
fashion where Schoonover Hall and the flag pole now stand. Large tents were used as a dining hall and administrative quarters.
The Story of Taps
Taps is a traditional song sung at the end of evening flag just before lights out. Here's the
story behind it.
Taps was devised during the Civil War. In 1862, the Union Army of the Potomac, under Major General
George McClellan, was transported to the Virginia Peninsula to launch a campaign against the Confederate capital at Richmond.
The Army met stiff resistance at the outskirts of Richmond. After a series of battles, McClellan, a cautious general by nature,
and misinformed as to the strength of the Confederate army confronting him, elected to "change bases" - a carefully
worded synonym for retreat - to a site to the south, on the bank of the James River.
During this retreat, the
Army of the Potomac was forced to stand and fight the pursuing Confederate army at Malvern Hill. The Confederate army, rather
unwisely, charged the Union line and was defeated. The battle of Malvern Hill was fought on June 28 - July 1, 1862.
On July 2 (134 years ago today), in a miserable rain, the Army of the Potomac completed its depressing and embarrassing retreat
to Harrison's Landing on the James River. The retreat was a grim disillusionment for the North, which had expected a short
war. For the Army of the Potomac, it was its darkest and saddest hour.
Encamped at Harrison's Landing that summer
was Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield. He was the commander of the 3rd brigade of the 1st division of the Army of the Potomac's
5th corps. A fairly undistinguished officer otherwise, General Butterfield had an ear for music. Previously, he had observed
that his brigade's bugle call caused confusion in camp, because it could not be distinguished from that of other brigades.
So he devised a unique bugle call for the 3rd brigade.
Now, in camp along the James, he noted that the regulation
evening bugle call for lights out was neither musical nor inspirational, nor tranquilizing. He devised a alternative tune
for his bugler, which, after a couple of attempts, became Taps. The tune became popular, and soon the entire Army of the Potomac
was using the call in place of the regulation call for lights out.
Eventually, Taps was adopted by all Union armies,
and became official army regulation. Taps remains regulation to this day.
The story of Taps is particularly appropriate
for July 2, given that today is the anniversary of the Army of the Potomac's long retreat to the Harrison's Landing camp.