Camp Fire River Bend | Camp Tannadoonah

Camp Fire in the 1920s

In 1921, Colonel and Mrs. C. Seymour Bullock led the first camping trip for the Camp Fire Girls, at Pleasant Lake in Edwardsburg, Michigan. Col. Bullock was the Director of Municipal Recreation for the City of South Bend, and Mrs. Bullock directed the activities of the Camp Fire Girls and was the Camp Supervisor. The camp was sponsored by the Municipal Recreation Department, and was exclusively for girls who were members of the Camp Fire Girls.  The South Bend Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs were fundamental in helping to establish the program and procuring the supplies needed for the camp. For the first two years they called their camp Wohelo Camp, and in 1923 they adopted the name Camp Tannadoonah.

Mrs. C. Seymour Bullock, in her role as Assistant Director of Municipal Recreation, was in charge of directing the activities of the Camp Fire Girls in South Bend, at least through 1921. They held ceremonial meetings, hosted Halloween parties, went on hikes, held winter camping outings, attended the Grand Council Fire awards ceremony, celebrated Camp Fire's birthday in March each year, and went to summer camp at Tannadoonah (still located on Pleasant Lake in Edwardsburg). There was even a Camp Fire Glee Club, and being a Camp Fire Girl was considered excellent training for the young women of the 1920s! In 1928, Miss Mary Catherine Anderson was announced as the Camp Director at Tannadoonah.



The Camp Fire Girls of South Bend were officially chartered by the National Camp Fire organization on August 5, 1924. In 1928, Doris Longbrake was the Acting Executive Secretary for the Camp Fire Girls. In late summer of 1928, Mrs. Kathleen Armstrong was named Executive Secretary, and she also served as Camp Director for Tannadoonah over the next few years. Although her husband resigned from his post as Director of Municipal Recreation, Mrs. C. Seymour Bullock remained active in the Camp Fire Girls organization.

Throughout the decade, there was a regular Camp Fire News Column in the South Bend Tribune, called the Teepee Fire, and each of the Camp Fire groups shared updates of their activities in the column. The Camp Fire groups were named by the girls using the 1915 Camp Fire Name Book, which provided Indian words and symbols and their meanings. The girls also sometimes submitted fun articles to be published in the newspaper.


The Camp Fire Girls of Mishawaka formed a board of sponsors in 1926, and hosted their first camping event at Camp Mishawaka on Stone Lake in Lagrange, Indiana during the summer of 1927. The first camp was directed by Miss Carolyn Newhafer. Camp Mishawaka was owned by the Boy Scouts, and Camp Fire shared the property with the scouts for many summers.

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