Here's the history and information I've gathered about camp so far. Some of it came from the Girl Scout website, and other parts came from my 1998 WIT manual, which I think was supplemented by the CIT manual. Information about individual units will be listed in the units page.
- Approximately 45 minutes from downtown St. Louis
- Encompasses nearly 700 acres of wooded hills, accentuated by rocky ledges, cedar trees and grassy meadows
- High hills and rambling creeks offer an invitation to such activities as hiking to Atwood Lake (8.8 acres), searching the creek beds for "lucky stones" (stones with holes worn through the center), and running and playing in the meadows
A . Philosophy of Camp - To offer resident camp experience to girls 2nd through 12th grades that provides each camper the opportunity to grow as an individual by learning new skills, participating in a variety of activities, developing leadership and functioning as a member of a group.
B. General - Resident camp which provides various outdoor programs to approximately 350 girls per session. The camping day usually runs from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm. Campers sleep together based on program and age group. Campers eat in two dining halls which serve 3 meals per day at established times.
C. Specific - 11 units, atleast 5 different programs running at any time, often as many as 7. Units consist of atleast 8 shelters (permanant tents and/or cabins), unit program area, pit toilets (ETs), and running water. CIT unit contains one house that is used for meeting places and houses the CIT library. Camp facilities include an arts and crafts lodge, health lodge, dining halls, pool, shower house, lake with shelter and dock, and corrals.
D. Personnel - 5 administrative staff, 33 unit staff, 20 program staff, 4 health staff. Camper counselor ratio is at least 8 to 1. CIT counselor is at least 10 to 1; there is one professional CIT Director and two other CIT unit staff members.
E. Camp Population - 350 campers ranging in age from 7 to 18. The CIT program contains 12 girls ranging from 14-18. Some CITs have attended camp before; many have attended other camps.
F. Socio-economic factor - Campers come from families in every
socio-economic class; most are from the St. Louis metropolitan area.
Here's a great little bit about Cedarledge's history, taken from IT manuals:
Girl Scout Council Of Greater St. Louis
"The First Fifty Years"
"Cedars and hilltops
Bringing wonderful memories of you,
Day in the open
'Neath heavens of cloudless blue,
Nights round the campfire,
The embers are growing anew;
Girl Scouts are singing,
Cedarledge, we love you"
Camp Cedarledge opened in the summer of 1927 on 259 acres of wooded
hills and grassy meadows. The camp was named "Cedarledge" because of
the abundance of cedar trees and limestone ledges on the hills.
Flowing springs in the valleys and a brook running through the meadow
made the old farmland perfect for a campsite.
Three units of canvas tents on wooden floors housed 24 girls each. For younger girls, Woody Glen and Rocky Ridge were situated in the Woody Glen Valley, and the Pioneer unit for older girls, was on the hill. All three units were full every summer.
The old farmhouse was used as camp headquarters and kitchen. A large screened porch was built on the north side of that building and served as the dining hall. Today that porch is Rec Porch and the house is Staff House. For lunch, campers cooked their own meal over open campfires in their units.
An old barn close to the house was cleaned out and used as a rainy day shelter and meeting place. The base of the old grain silo can still be seen near the present office building. A small shed nearby became the nature museum. The rocky ledges behind the shed became the singing rocks for the twilight hour.
An earthen dam at the lower end of Woody Glen Valley impounded cold spring water for a swimming pool. But early in the first season, a heavy rain washed out the dam. For the rest of that summer and for the next 3 years the campers walked to the Schlueter Farm at the camp gate to swim in the pond there. In 1931 Cedarledge had a new concrete pool built in the Woody Glen Valley and it was filled with pure water from the camp's deep well.
Campers arrived on busses from St Louis and were unloaded at the camp gate because the camp road was not suited for the heavy busses. Campers walked into camp and their luggage was taken by horse-drawn wagon. It was a long, hot walk to the big shady Welcome Tree just south of the dining hall.
Camp craft, nature trails, stargazing, exploring, fire building, outdoor cooking, swimming, handicraft, games and songs, ballads/plays, folk dancing, and pioneering filled the days in early years.
Campers kapers, nosebag lunches, rest hour (siesta), sleeping under mosquito nets and in hammocks were new experiences to most campers. Costume parties, fairy balls, water fights, and free days - to roam the campsite with a special friend - were happy times. A real adventure was to hike off the campsite for breakfast, supper, campfire program or an overnight stay. Favorite spots were the Tub Spring at Trails End, Rice's hidden pool, the Ice Box, Fern Dell, Doone Valley, Hidden Meadow and Sandy Creek.
All camp campfires with programs of ballads, stories and songs were held several times a week at Council Rock. The rock lies just at the foot of Sunny Top by the Present "Old" Dining Hall which was built in 1941. Unit campfires on other nights gave time for learning songs and making plans for the days ahead.
The hills and main valleys were named the first summer. Beginning to the east of the old farmhouse and going counter clockwise is Staff Hill (now Eagle), Flagstaff, Woody Glen Valley, Tank Hill (later Sherwood... known as Tank Hill to many), Gypsy Dell, and above it, The Ridge. Crossing to the west is Pioneer Mountain, Purple Mountain, and- way at the end of the long valley- Sunny Top. The meadow, white daisy flea bane in the early days, was called "Daisy Low-Lands" for our founder, Juliett Low.
Many Changes in unit names and locations occurred at Cedarledge during the years, and more units were added as Cedarledge grew. Rocky Ledges, the first cabin unit, replaced Woody Glen; Rocky Ridge became Sherwood Forest and then moved to become Gypsy Dell. Border Village, Wayfarers Bend and Highlands on Sherwood Hill (Tank Hill) were added. Later this unite became "The Harbor" when the Mariners lived there. Out camp developed a tentless unit in Hidden Meadow. The first unit shelter was Gypsy Dell, built in the 1940s and then, Robin Memorial Shelter was dedicated in 1952.
The big campfire site near Council Rock was moved by the Pioneers out into the big meadow where all the hills could be seen. They laid rocks to form the Girl Scout symbol around the fire pit and named it the trefoil ring. Pioneers, too, blazed all the first trails in camp, outlined the paths in units with rocks, made stepping stones, and lashed hand railings for the younger campers to use in rainy weather.
Scouts' own was always held in the Green Cathedral on Sunny Top, just above Council Rock -sometimes in the evening, but usually on Sunday morning. Everyone wore the official camp uniform and filed slowly into the open grove under the tall trees to stand in a circle among rocky ledges for a ceremony of music and poetry.
Many color ceremonies were held around the original flagpole which was later moved down into the valley.
In the years since that first summer in 1927, Cedarledge has more than doubled in acres and numbers of campers with many added activities. Still each camper learns the love of camp and the spirit of the out-of-doors through sunny days and starry nights.
"Oh camp, you'll forever receive our praise
For gifts we can ne'er repay.
For 'tis here that wee learn of the deeper love,
'Tis the spirit of the Girl Scout Way."
Cedarledge Alumni Club
The following was sent by Travis, who attended/worked at Cedarledge from 1975 to 1980:
It's been a long time since I've been there, but Cedarledge will always be a special place for me. I was a Wrangler Aid (WIT as they're called now) in 1975, and yes we did stay at Conestoga. We slept in hammocks that summer, under tarps, with a foot locker for our "stuff." It was quite an adventure...and I still have the tarp. The latrine was only a one holer, however.
I was a CIT in 1976-77 and a Wrangler Aid again in '77. In '76 the CIT unit was in the meadow across the creek from Manor House, but in '77 we moved to tents in the field in front of Boarder Village for security reasons. That was the same year they fenced the perimeter of the camp and started closing the main gate at night. But that's another story. The Wrangler Aids still lived in Conestoga, but had been upgraded to round-up tents. It rained for two weeks and was an ungodly mud hole.
In 1978 I was an Assistant Unit Leader in Ahwenasa, then junior high age kids. Ahwenasa was the "native american" unit and we had a special ceremony at the end of each session. It happened at night, involved a big camp fire, a blindfolded hike for the campers, drums, usually horses and torches (occasionally a bad combination) and the awarding of indian names to each girl, plus an honorary staff member or two. It was really a moving event. When I was a wrangler we always had the horses; bare back with the torches. Maybe not such a great idea in retrospect, but it was really cool, and nobody ever got killed or even hurt bad.
In '79 and '80 I too was a wrangler. I "lived in" at Ahwenasa both years. Wranglers & pool staff were basically homeless and, as such, were assigned regular units to live and participate with. The "ranch," as we affectionately called it, looked one hell of a lot different but had the same atmosphere. I made some of the best friends of my life there, many of whom I'm still in touch with 25 years and thousands of miles later. Keep up the good work and take good care of the tradition.
Round up tents first - Round up tents were state of the art in the '70s, although now they sort of remind me of World War II surplus. They were canvas wall tents about 6' long and tall enough for a short person like myself to almost stand up in. The walls were about 24" high, which was enough to accommodate a cot. The tents slept 2 people, had no floors and just simple flaps on the ends. They utilized 2 (3 piece) poles, a myriad of ropes, rolled up for storage and probably weighed 30 pounds...not suitable for backpacking. We slept in these as Wrangler Aids (WAs) and CITs in 1977. The army cots and mildewy tents did get kind of old after 6 weeks. As staff we upgraded to the concrete floored wooden cabins which we called Adirondaks, and I suspect they're still in use.
Security changes - I don't remember the exact details of this, but as I recall some girl scouts staying at a camp out of state were raped and/or murdered between the summer of '76 and the summer of '77. This caused a huge "knee jerk" among councils nation wide to improve security...i.e. installation of fence and closing of the main gate. When I was a first year CIT we stayed in permanent floored tents near the kitchen shelter in CIT meadow, hung out at Manor House and used the johns at the bathhouse adjacent to the swimming pool - turned duck pond. (all of which I understand are now gone) We also did unsupervised (read no staff) overnights a top several of Cedarledge's mountains and took multi-night canoe trips on the Black River. As a result of the security enhancements, the CITS moved to round up tents in the field in front of Boarder Village, no longer did anything unsupervised or overnight and hung out in a building (who's name I cannot remember) adjacent to Boarder Village. This building had previously housed the male staff. We really missed Manor House and our old accommodations.
In those years we didn't graduate from the CIT program per-se. The culmination of our 2 year effort was a "formal" dinner. In retrospect it was pretty ridiculous, but we thought it was way cool at the time. On the appointed night we set formal tables in yard in front of Manor House, did our hair & makeup, put on long dresses and wined and dined on average fare and grape juice. I don't remember who cooked, but I think we did and I think we did the dishes too.
If you have any missed details, comments, arguments, or anything else, please e-mail Indigo with it.
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