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History of Girl Scouts of Rolling Hills Council

In 1922,Troop 1 in Somerville was formed; Mrs. Agnes DeWitt volunteered to lead and the rest is history. As early as 1935, troops were chartered in South Bound Brook, Martinsville, Middlesex, Bound Brook, Flemington and Somerset Hills. By 1957 there were councils established in Flemington, Bound Brook, Somerset Hills and Somerville. After two years of study and planning, the councils were joined under a "green umbrella" and Rolling Hills Girl Scout Council was formed in 1959.

Today, over 8,000 girls are served by more than 3,500 adult volunteers in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties and Middlesex Borough. A strong emphasis is placed on contemporary programs that develop girls' skills, confidence and self-esteem. Community service continues as a hallmark of our Girl Scout program as well as outdoor environmental education.

The staff and volunteers of the earliest Rolling Hills Council office first operated in a collection of tiny rooms above Italian Home Products, a food store in Raritan. The aroma of spaghetti competed for attention and the large bathroom served as the duplication center. In the sixties, expanding office needs led us to a house on Route 202 in Bridgewater. Each board member bought a chair for the board room so the seats would be worthy of the handsome table, also a gift. Troop 1 gave a set of dishes, still in use. With girl and adult membership growing at a rapid pace, so too did the need for support services. In 1990, the Council Service Center, complete with a Girl Scout store, the Large Board Room and the Blumberg Library and Resource Room opened its doors on Route 28 in North Branch.
Outdoor instruction and camping in the very early days took place on estates of friendly neighbors. Later we operated three day camps: Betsy Ross on the historical site in Bound Brook, Betty Bright in Hunterdon County and Camp DeWitt in Neshanic. Lack of plumbing, electricity and transportation did not deter the enthusiastic campers. Camp DeWitt grew from 26 acres of rolling hills and poison ivy to 151 acres and new camp buildings like Hawley Cabin. By 1971, day camping was consolidated at Camp DeWitt which now boasted a swimming pool. Today, the new 2,700 square foot Program Center and olympic-sized swimming pool provide girls with outstanding facilities for skill building, ecological study, camping fun and leadership opportunities year-round.

A residential camp was also part of Rolling Hills' dream. After many years of planning, fund raising and volunteer hours of clearing land, painting and scrubbing, Hidden Valley Camp in Equinunk, PA, became a reality in 1971. Over the years improvements have included a new staff house and dining hall, camping sites and shower houses, sailing and canoeing facilities and on-site horseback riding. Girl Scouts and families continue to experience the outdoors at our camps through the careful planning and work of Council Boards, volunteers and staff.

All these additions, improvements and expansions help Rolling Hills serve a growing population, bring the Girl Scout program to the underserved in programs such as the Girl Scouting Beyond Bars program, and carry on the traditions of that very first Troop 1 in Somerville. They have been made possible through the contributions - financial, administrative and spiritual - of our many families, friends, corporate supporters, advisors, volunteers, and most importantly, girls.

Girl Scouts of Rolling Hills Council
1171 Route 28
North Branch, New Jersey 08876
Phone: 908-725-1226 Fax: 908-725-4933

Copyright ©2000 Girl Scouts of Rolling Hills Council. All rights reserved.

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