- Scouting at Godwin -

Scout cards

- Overview -

Scouting, for both men and women, was a big part of Godwin life in to the 1950s yet. Reflecting community involvement in the school, scouting require den mothers, troop leaders, and other adults to do everything from organizing activities and projects, to chaperoning camping trips. In addition to teaching self reliance, scouting allowed those participating to advance as far as their initiative, energy, and interests allowed. Merit badges were awarded to those completing a project, and the completion was judged by adults. The projects could be physical, or any of a number of specific learning projects. The topics were pretty much unbounded. More accomplished scouts could be seen wearing an impressive number of badges. The highest level of scouting was the Eagle Scout. Those achieving a lot as an Eagle Scout were the best of the best.

As to be expected, one of the early scoutmasters was Charles Saur.

Mike Bloore, class of 1955, provides the following insights into the levels of scouting, and the meaning of merit badges, which really did have to do with merit:

Left click on the image below for a much larger version.

Material provided by Mike Bloore, class of 1955.

There were many aspects of scouting in the 1950s and before that would be largely impractical today. In a world where gym classes have often been cancelled, despite the fortunes spent on gyms and equipment, a five mile hike would probably be fatal to many young people today, whereas in the 1950s yet many students walked almost this far to and from school each day. A five mile bus or car trip is really not the same. And five miles was a minimum distance.

Scouting taught people to be self sufficient, and the merit badges provide a way for initiative to rewarded, and were also educational. A scout with a lot of merit badges, all done under fair adult supervision, had done a lot of self motivated work and study. Many of the merit badges entailed construction projects, including things like radios and other kinds of electrical equipment.

In year 2006, scouting often has to be modified for more urban or suburban settings. It's still possible to walk distances, but lighting fires is not encouraged in such places. Nor is camping, although camping in city parks was common during the Great Depression. And in an ever more touchy world, any images of indians would be frowned on, as would use of the word indian.

Below are examples of Cub Scout badges, the lion, wolf, and bear. Under each of these would have been categories of merit badges, some silver, and some gold, each representing a project properly completed.

Left click on the image below for a much larger version.

Material provided by Mike Bloore, class of 1955.

Below are some Boy Scout badges. The one at the lower left is the Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared." Others represent attendance at various camps, which were once common at what were at the time secluded lakes. In year 2006 man has seemingly conquered all of the wilderness in the Grand Rapids area, and lake fronts have now mostly been "developed." There is mostly no place for scouting of the kind common in the 1950s and before.

Left click on the image below for a much larger version.

Material provided by Mike Bloore, class of 1955.

- Scout cards -

left click on any item for a larger version.

Membership Card

Second class scout

Order of the Arrow

Registration certificate

First class scout

Cub card

Material provided by Mike Bloore, class of 1955.

The Cub card, lower right, was a membership card, and gives a summary of some of the membership milestones and scouting values.

Material provided by Mike Bloore, class of 1955.

While more material is currently available about male scouting, female scouting was active at Godwin also. Below is a 1938 photograph of a meeting of the Campfire Girls, the analog of the Cub Scouts. Lee (Tanner) Collins, class of 1941, is shown at the right.

Material provided by Lee (Tanner) Collins, class of 1941.

She relates the following about the Camp Fire Girls program in the late 1930s:

"As you may or may not know, the Camp Fire Girls whole program was patterned after the Indian Lore. We had Pow Wows, Council Fires,etc. that were taken from the Indian Lore. We had a whole book that we had to follow. So, of course we had to learn how the Indians lived. We had to learn Indian Dancing, and how to make fires and all of that good stuff. Our Council Fires were extremely serious. We each had an Indian gown, trimmed with beads, that we had to earn to reach certain ranks in the organization, and would walk into the Gym in single file singing, "We come, we come to our Council Fire with measured tread and slow. To light the fire of our desire, to light the fire of WoHeLo.....etc." WoHeLo, was short for....Work-Health-Love, our motto. Then the ones that were all ready in the Gym would sing, Wo He Lo, and the ones that were still out in the hallway would echo the same... Then when we were all in the Gym, we would all sit around a 'supposed to be fire" and do the rest of our program... So, the picture actually, if I remember correctly, was where he was teaching us some of the beliefs that they had."

Note in the 1938 photograph above that Frank Rackett's flora and fauna collection had only been given to Godwin three years earlier. One senses the size and scope of the gift to the school, can only ponder why the collection was allowed to be trashed, and was ready to be thrown out by year 2005. It should have served as a timeless look at the flora and fauna in the Godwin area 100 years ago.