Girl Scout Camp Latonka

Camp Latonka 04-09-2016I’ve been scanning a lot of Boy Scout stuff recently. Dad, my brothers and I were members of the Anpetu-We lodge of the Order of the Arrow, the Boy Scout National Honor Society. I liked the Order better than the Boy Scouts because we were older boys, selected by our troops, and dedicated to service. We spent weekends building things and doing repairs at Camp Lewallen, for example; things that we could point to years later and say, “I built that.”

While doing a search, I ran across a note on Facebook saying that “as the Brotherhood of Cheerful Service, we have an opportunity to assist the local Girl Scouts at Camp Latonka again this year.” I hadn’t been on a work day since probably 1967, and I had never been to the Girl Scout camp located on Lake Wappapello in Wayne County. This was going to be a chance to kill two birds with one stone.

The worker bees

Camp Latonka 04-09-2016When I got to the camp, I saw several trucks and cars around the dining hall, but there was no sound of saws, hammers or other activity, so I just roamed around shooting mug shots of the facilities.

I finally ran into the group taking a lunch break before heading down to tear rotted boards off cabins, do some painting and general clean up. I shot this group photo of the Order of the Arrow members and The Friends of Camp Latonka in front of a stack of rotten wood that would be burned in a bonfire later.

A beautiful site

Camp Latonka 04-09-2016Without going into a lot of detail, some of which can be found here, a merger found the Girl Scouts with two camps in Wayne county. The Missouri Heartland board decided to retain Camp Cherokee Ridge at Patterson, and “divest” lands not needed, like Camp Latonka.

If I was cynical, I would say that the Latonka site, with waterfront access to Lake Wappapello and great overlooks of the lake, would be prime pickings for developers, with the proceeds going to support other Heartland activities. Fortunately, there was enough of an outcry that the camp has been given a new lease on life. It still depends heavily on donations and volunteer labor to keep going.

Camp mugshots

Pictures of people can be divided into portraits, which attempt to capture a person’s personality, and mugshots, which are merely records of facial features. Since I had never been to the camp before, I knew nothing of the “soul” of the place. What you see are merely mugshots that I hope will stir some memories for some of the hundreds of girls who have passed through the camp. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around.

Girl Scouts and Head Start

Girl Scouts work with Head Start 07-12-1967

I wrote a story for the July 15, 1967 Youth Page about Senior Girl Scouts working with Cape Girardeau’s Head Start program. Here’s the story and some photos that didn’t run. You can click on the photos to make them larger.

This is the caption for the one photo that WAS published: Johnnie Bell enjoys an apple snack under the encouraging smile of Miss Barbara Heye, one of five Senior Girl Scouts working with the Cape Girardeau Head Start program as volunteer teachers assistants. Johnnie is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Bell, Pecan Street, and Miss Heye is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Heye, 1651 Perryville Road. There are 176 children enrolled in the federally-financed program designed to prepare young children for regular school experiences.

Girls “dearly love it”

Girl Scouts work with Head Start 07-12-1967Five Senior Girl Scouts who have been working with Head Start at Jefferson School this summer “dearly love it,” Mrs. Stanley G. Diehl, troop leader, said today.

The Misses Carmen Anderson, Louann Diehl, Barbara Heye, Mary Jane Seay and Susie Fox have been working full time as volunteer teachers assistants.

They are members of Troop 100.

Girl Scouts work with Head Start 07-12-1967“I really liked it,” commented Miss Seay. “From the first day I enjoyed working with the children.”

The Central High School senior added, “When you first look out and look in this thing, you’d think it wouldn’t work. I think it helps them a lot!”

Miss Fox agreed: “I think it’s great! The kids love it – and I’m having a great time, too.”

Have seen change in youngsters

Girl Scouts work with Head Start 07-12-1967Most of the girls have noted a change in the youngsters since the program’s start four weeks ago.

“The first week I was here, the kids were kind of shy,” Miss Fox observed. “Now we get along just great.”

“Getting along really well”

Girl Scouts work with Head Start 07-12-1967Miss Anderson also found this shyness a barrier initially, “but lately we’ve been getting along really well.”

“The children are a lot more forward now,” Miss Seay has found. “The first day they kind of shied away, but they’re more outgoing now and they’re talking more.”

Need note of authority

Girl Scouts work with Head Start 07-12-1967One thing the girls have learned from their experiences this summer is the psychology of dealing with young children. “You have to be nice to them, but you also have to have a note of authority so they’ll respect you,” Miss Anderson discovered. She found the experience particularly valuable because she hopes to teach at a private camp next summer.

“Great opportunity: for girls

Girl Scouts work with Head Start 07-12-1967Mrs. Diehl said that working with Head Start has been a “great opportunity” for the girls.

In addition to the five full-time helpers, there are a number of other Girl Scouts who help in the Head Start program.

Miss Anderson is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G.L. Anderson, Kage Road; Miss Diehl is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley G. Diehl; Miss Heye is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Heye, 1651 Perryville Road; Miss Seay is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Seay, 1520 Jane;, and Miss Fox is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Milford Fox, 415 South Missouri.

Head Start prepares for regular school

Girl Scouts work with Head Start 07-12-1967Head Start, the official explain, is meant to help some children from moderate income families gain experiences they need to get full value from regular public school programs.

Specifically, the program is “planned primarily to help children who who lacked opportunity and encouragement to develop mentally, physically and socially to the maximum of their potential.”

Ride buses to school

Girl Scouts work with Head Start 07-12-1967In the morning, the Head Start youngsters are picked up by bus at their homes. After they arrive at school, they are given breakfast to develop group eating habits. [The boy’s name tag reads “Luther Howard – 748 Giboney.]

The half-day sessions alternate play periods with learning and resting periods.

Field trips

Girl Scouts work with Head Start 07-12-1967Field trips – by bus and by foot – give the the children a chance to see what goes on on a farm, at the airport, at a grocery store. Visits by policemen, firemen and other city officials give them an opportunity to learn about the roles of these community helpers.

About 180 Cape Girardeau children are taking part in Head Start.

Girl Scouts in White Gloves

All three of these subjects look familiar, but I’m going to let you put names to faces. What I can’t figure out is what the guy is holding, what is being passed, and in which direction it’s going. I thought it looked a little like a bird, but it’s not.

Scouts Headed to New Orleans

Pam Burkhimer, Sally Bierbaum and Gail Tibbles pose for a photo. I say pose because they were supposed to be packing for their Senior Girl Scout trip to New Orleans and there’s no way three members of the Class of ’66 could get all their stuff in one suitcase.

The only thing that looks real is Gail Tibbles with a list and checking it thrice. The Otahki Girl Scout Council chartered two buses for the Big Easy trip in June 1966. Wouldn’t you know it, just about the time the city recovered from that, along comes Hurricane Katrina.

You can click on the photo to make it larger.

Other Girl Scout stories