Founded in England in 1909 by Lord Baden-Powell and his sister Lady Baden-Powell, the purpose of the Girl Guides was to educate young females and shape them into positive role models within their communities. The Guiding Movement reached Canada in 1910 and shortly after the Girl Guides, Passamaquoddy Division, headquartered in St. Andrews, was established incorporating young females from the Charlotte County area. Especially active during and after WW2, the Passamaquoddy Division was in frequent contact with the St. Andrews, Scotland Girl Guide Division. Likewise, the Passamaquoddy Division was active in the community and embarked on many camping excursions around the Charlotte County area and beyond. A detailed history of the organization up to the year of their Silver Jubilee in 1961 was written by Guide Historian Rose Haughn.
Guiding was an outgrowth of the Scout movement which swept England in the early 1900’s. Many of the sisters of Scouts thought Scouting such fun they would like to participate so they appeared in numbers at the Crystal Palace Rally in 1909 much to the consternation of the Scout leaders. No gentlewomen in those days appeared in a crowd, much less wearing Scouts hats and all the pots, pans and knives they could tie on. Lord Baden-Powell, who started the Scout movement turned the girls over to his sister, Agnes, who became their first leader and later his wife, Olive – Lady Baden Powell – continued the program of Guiding.
The Guides at Crystal Palace
The first Guide Company in Canada was registered in St. Catherines, Ontario. Fourteen years after the Crystal Palace appearance, girls in St. Andrews first felt the stirrings of interest in Guiding and a Company was formed with Miss Alice Holt as leader and Mrs. Oscar A. Rigby as lieutenant. This was in 1923 and, apparently, this Company lasted about two years although not registered with the Dominion office. The names of these first local Girl Guides are Mildred Rigby, Winifred and Eleanor Snell, Helen Williamson, Frances, Liela, and Bessie Wren, Lucy Stinson, Agnes McMullon, Margaret Harris, Beryl and Betty Stinson, Lois and Phyllis Thompson, Addie and Christine Rooney, Clara McNabb, Mildren Johnson, Thelma Smith, Edith Finigan, Alice MacLaren, Kathleen and Ethel Bell, Melda Calder, and Mildred Holmes.
For the remainder of the “Roaring Twenties” and through the depression of the early thirties, interest in Guiding lapsed. However in 1935 a group of students went to the school principal, then Karl Kierstead, and asked that Guides be organized locally. He in turn passed the request along to the local Kiwanis Club which got together a group of ladies, mostly wives of the members, to discuss the possibilities. As it turned out, Mrs. Earl T. Caughey seemed to be the only person present who had any practical knowledge of Guiding, having been a Ranger with a company at McGill University for a short time. This it was that she became interested in guiding in St. Andrews and is considered its most untiring champion. These ladies brought together by the Kiwanis club formed the first Local Association which was registered May 22, 1936, and found themselves called upon for every emergency.
The First Local Association (L.A.)
Having established a local association, two girls – Lola Graham and Frances Wren were picked to be trained as leaders. As they progressed with their tests, it was decided to call a meeting of the prospective Guides to see if interest still continued. Imagine the consternation when 60 girls presented themselves. They were hastily divided into the 1st St. Andrews Guide Company and the 2nd St. Andrews Guide Company, both of which were registered on May 22, 1936, and two more girls Bessie Rogers and Marjorie Coakley chosen and trained for leaders. All four received their warrants by the early part of 1937. The Guides proceeded as today to win their first and second class and the various badges and from these records are shown the names of the girls in the companies at the time.
The Guides of 1935
In any history of Guiding do not let us forget our “little sisters” the Brownies. Their history too dates back locally to an unregistered pack in 1923 with Brown Owl, Mrs. William Langmaid. This group continued for some time. Then, like Guiding, Brownies were inactive for years. Having got Guides started and fairly well organized, in the fall of 1937 work was started on a Brownie Pack. The 1st St. Andrew Brownie Pack was registered February 3, 1938, and Mrs. Caughey received her warrant as Brown Owl in June of the same year. It is particularly interesting top note that on February 16th, 1938, the Brownies held a party and each of the 19 girls brought a friend, 38 little girls in all, and the party cost $1.75 including enough peanuts for 25 cents for a peanut hunt for everyone.
The first Sea Rangers we hear of was a patrol called “Bluenose” belonging to the 2nd St. Andrews Guides Company. The patrol leader was Frances Wren and the crew were Margaret Anning, Ellen Gibson, Hazel Miller, Edna McGee, Marjorie McDowell, Fae Hallett, Lucy McDowell, Violet Lee, Joanne McCullough and Edith Henderson. The patrol was formed in December 1939 and the girls enrolled in 1940. In November 1947 the patrol registered as S.R.A. “Haida.” They first met in the dressing room at the Knights of Pythias Seaside Hall where their ensign was presented to them by the crew of the battleship Haida and their ship was christened by Mrs. Alfreda Needler. The first skipper was Mrs. David Walker and the first mate was Miss Lillian Shaw. Through the years the St. Andrews Rangers have visited Fredericton, Montreal, Halifax, Charlottetown, and most noteworthy was their visit to Hamilton Bermuda’s S.R.S. “Deliverance.”
In December of 1945 the Passamaquoddy Division of Girl Guides was created with Mrs. Caughey as Commissioner. Up to that time guides in this area had belonged to the York-Charlotte Division. Guide Marybel Hachey was the first girl in Charlotte County to receive 1st class. Mrs. Caughey was chosen to attend an International Camp at Morin Heights in the Laurentians as program assistant. The following year she was one of two chosen to represent Canada at Camp Edith Macey, Pleasantville N.Y.
The first county-wide rally was held in June 1947 at Fort Tipperary. The first Division Camp was held at Lake Utopia. Mrs. Alfreda Needler became district commissioner and the Guides had a visit from Mrs. D.E.S. Wishart, Dominion Commissioner of Girl Guides. The following October Miss Daphne Montefiore of Ottawa, Dominion Council Training Leadership also paid a visits.
Shiela Caughey was the first girl in Passamaquoddy Division to receive her Gold Cord which was presented to her by Mrs. George Hartshorn, then provincial commissioner. The following year she attended camp at Ottawa with her mother, Mrs. Caughey in charge of the New Brunswick contingent. This year Mrs. Caughey became the international commissioner.
An international camp was held at Lake Utopia with guides attending from various centers in the United States. This was Coronation year and the Brownies, Guides, and Rangers each entered a float in the Coronation Parade.
Mrs. Oscar A. Rigby was appointed the first District Commissioner in 1938 and served three years, next was Miss Frances Wren, two years; Mrs. Richard H. Smith, three years; Mrs. Earl T. Caughey, two years; Mrs. Alfreda Needler, three years; Mrs. Thomas Grant, one year; Mrs. Harold Johnson, three years; Mrs. Joseph Walsh, six years; Mrs. Neol Tibbo took office in 1961.
The first camp was held at Gibson’s Lake in August 1945 with Mrs. Thomas Grant as commandant. It was purely a district camp with only St. Andrews girls present. Mrs. Grant was assisted by Mrs. Early Caughey, Miss Edith Hanson, and Miss Norma Richardson, and 16 girls attended.
The second camp, although a district camp, received visiting Guides as well and was really a forerunner of the first division camp. It too was under Mrs. Grant as Commandant.
The third camp was held in the Guides Silver Jubilee year, 1961, with Mrs. Joseph Walsh as commandant, assisted by Mrs. Bruce MacVicar of St. George; Mrs. Lewis Day, Mrs. Earl Caughey, Mrs. John Hull, Mrs. Douglas Everett, Mrs. Frank McCracken, and the district commissioner Mrs. Noel Tibbo. 21 guides attended.