Camp Archbald

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Camp Archbald is a Girl Scout camp in Brooklyn Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. It encompasses 230 acres (0.93 km2), including a 45-acre (180,000 m2) lake (Lake Ely). Established in 1920, it is the second oldest Girl Scout camp in America. (Only Camp Bonnie Brae in Massachusetts has been serving girls longer.) Camp Archbald falls under the jurisdiction of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, which operates 7 camp facilities in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.[1][2]

The Units[edit]

Camp Archbald has 8 operational units during the summer camp season. Girls stay in either cabins, platform tents, or houseboats, with staff sleeping in a Staff Tent embedded in the unit or in the same type of housing as the girls if it is available.


Greenwood unit is located at the base of a hill on the left side of camp. Greenwood is a 2-story troophouse, built in 1954 as a troophouse for the Greenwood and Beechwood tent units, which have since been disbanded. The first story is an open room with tables for working, with a small attached kitchen with refrigerator, stove, and indoor sink, and 2 clivus multrums for bathroom facilities. Lofted sleeping quarters are on the second story, with an open view to the first floor. Seven girls sleep in each of the two lofts, for a total of 14 girls. Greenwood was used for the Counselor-in-Training (CIT) Program. It now houses administrative staff.

Greenword also is thought to be haunted by counselors and campers alike.


Walking up the hill from Greenwood, visitors will encounter Treetops unit. Treetops is the newest unit at Camp Archbald. Built in 1991 on the site of the former Greenwood Tent Unit, the building is dedicated to Louise Greener Williams, who served as camp director and Scranton Council Director for 26 years. Treetops is situated on the side of a cliff, with excellent views of the trees below from the wraparound porch.

Treetops is based on two prefabricated Eagle Nest Buildings with a connecting link with wraparound porch. The two twelve-sided sections of the building serves as the sleeping quarters (11 girls on a side for a total of a 22 girl capacity). The connection link contains the kitchen with refrigerator, stove, and indoor sink, dining tables, a handicapped accessible shower, and 3 clivus multrums for bathroom facilities.


Past Treetops, Hultz Unit resides at the top of the left-hand side hill. The oldest unit still in operation (since 1925), Hultz was named in honor of Amy Hultz, the first unit leader when the unit was named Pioneer. A tenting unit, Hultz has 8 platform tents. Each tent sleeps four girls and seven tents are for girl use, for a 28 girl capacity. The final tent is used for staff quarters. Hultz has a troophouse for unit use in inclement weather, an outdoor kitchen, washstand, and 4 clivus multrums for bathroom facilities. As of 2010 Hultz is used for the CITs (Couselor in Training).


Walking by the shores of Lake Ely, Forest Unit is the first stop on the journey. Forest was the site of the first Brownie Girl Scout encampment in the nation in 1933. Currently, girls in Forest sleep in one of four cabins, with eight girls to a cabin, for a 32 girl capacity. Each cabin has 4 bunk beds with doors opening to the front and the back. Forest Troophouse is situated overlooking Lake Ely, with a porch and 2 clivus multrums for bathroom facilities. A washstand is also located in the unit. Forest typically houses programs for Junior programs (girls in grades 4-6).


Past Forest, visitors will arrive at the houseboats of the Mariners Unit. Camp Archbald has the distinction of having the first houseboat unit in the nation, with Mariners Unit having opened in 1938. Three houseboats grace the shores of Lake Ely:

While standing on the Waterfront dock, visitors can glimpse the Hey You II, one of the Mariners Unit Houseboats
  • The Hey You II - A replacement boat (installed in the early 1980s) for the original Hey You, this houseboat is on the left and is the closest boat to the waterfront.
  • The Challenge II - A replacement boat (installed in the early 1980s) for the original Challenge, this houseboat is located in the middle of the three houseboats.
  • The Water Scout - The newest houseboat (installed in 2001), this vessel is located on the right as the furthest boat from the waterfront. This boat is also the only houseboat with electricity, due to solar panels installed on its roof.

Mariners Unit has a girl capacity of 20 girls, with 7 girls on the Hey You II, 7 girls on the Challenge II, and 6 girls on the Water Scout sleeping in bunk beds. Mariners Troophouse is situated above the houseboats for group activities and has 2 clivus multrums for bathroom facilities. A washstand is located near the Troophouse. Staff sleep in platform tents near the houseboats unless there is an open boat.


On a hill on the right side of camp, Meadows Unit sits at a crossroads leading to two additional units. Meadows is a cabin unit, with 4 cabins sleeping 8 girls each, for a unit capacity of 32 girls. The Troophouse is located behind the cabins further up the hill for whole-group activities in inclement weather. Meadows also has a washhouse (attached to Meadows Showerhouse) with multiple sinks and shares 6 clivus multrums with Sunnyside Unit for bathroom facilities.


Taking the right fork from Meadows leads visitors to Sunnyside Unit. A spacious unit with open fields, Sunnyside was the first unit in the country (1941) dedicated solely to Brownie Overnight Programs. (Treetops Unit has since taken on the responsibility of the Brownie Overnight Programs.) Sunnyside is a cabin unit, with 2 cabins sleeping 10 girls each, for a unit capacity of 20 girls. The Troophouse is located next to the cabins and can often be mistaken for a cabin itself, as it is the same design as the cabins. A washstand is available for running water. Sunnyside shares 6 clivus multrums with Meadows Unit for bathroom facilities.


Taking the road up the hill from Meadows, followed by a right turn at the next intersection is the path to Maples Unit. A tenting unit, Maples has 8 platform tents. Each tent sleeps four girls and seven tents are for girl use, for a 28 girl capacity. The final tent is used for staff quarters. Maples Troophouse is located next to the staff tent, with tables for indoor activities in inclement weather. A washstand and 4 pit johns are located in the unit for bathroom facilities. A small field is located next to Maples (Maples Field) where girls may choose to sleep under the stars.

Other buildings and locations[edit]

The Lodge fireplace, decorated for the 85th Anniversary of Camp in 2005.

The Lodge[edit]

As visitors drive into camp, the Lodge is the first building on the right-hand side of the parking lot. This is the administrative center of camp, with the offices for the Camp Director, Assistant Camp Director, Program Director, and Business Manager during resident camp season. Additionally, the Camp Director's quarters are located inside the Lodge. Built in 1938 in response to the need for year-round camping facilities, the Lodge is equipped with a kitchen, a large main room with a fireplace surrounded by wooden rocking chairs, and a sleeping loft which opens out to the main room. This building is used for Troop Camping in the fall, winter, and spring.

Friendship Hall[edit]

Located adjacent to the Lodge on the left-hand side is Friendship Hall, a 2-story heated building equipped with running hot and cold water. Dedicated in 1972 to Anna Johns, the upper level is currently used as the infirmary and the lower level as a private camp staff area. This building is also used for Troop Camping in the fall, winter, and spring.

Nivert Pavilion[edit]

The Nivert Pavilion is located on the right of the Lodge off the main parking lot. Built in 1999 in honor of Harry and Marion Nivert, the Pavilion is a covered facility for luggage pickup/drop off on rainy days, as well as a shaded, yet open space for camp activities.

The Stables[edit]

Located along the public road across from the Caretaker's House, the Stables house horses for horseback riding instruction during the summer resident camp season. The Stables consist of a small wooden tack room, 12 standing stalls, a garage for storage, a large turnout pasture and a small riding ring. Riding instruction is done in the Western style with some English demonstrations.

The Caretaker's House[edit]

A year-round caretaker and his/her family reside in the Caretaker's House, located along the public road up the hill from the Lodge, near the entrance to camp, and across from the Stables.

Adventure Trail[edit]

The Adventure Trail (or Ad Trail) is open to Junior, Cadette, or Senior Girl Scouts attending overnight camp. The Ad Trail has eight obstacles that help girls develop teamwork and cooperation skills. It is located in the woods heading out of camp. It is no longer in use due to its condition.

Schoonover Hall[edit]

Directly in the middle of main camp, in the middle of a grassy field, is Schoonover (Schooney) Hall. This stone and glass building is open at all times for shelter and is used for rainy day activities, singing, dancing, games, theater performances, and other special programs. W. J. Schoonover donated this building to Camp Archbald in 1928 in memory of his mother. A stone plaque over the fireplace reads:

1928 Roxy Ann Schoonover 1928
Best citizens come from the homes where there is a loyal, helpful wife or a loving, practical mother. As a tribute to such a noble woman this building is presented to the Girl Scouts of Scranton by her son, William J. Schoonover.

Schooney Lawn[edit]

With Schoonover Hall at the center, Schooney Lawn is a wide open field in main camp. Schooney Lawn is also the only place where the campers can run.

The Flagpole[edit]

Located on Schooney Lawn, campers gather at the Flagpole every morning and evening for flag ceremony and all-camp announcements. Each unit takes turns to do the flag ceremonies.

The Dining Hall[edit]

The original Dining Hall was located adjacent to Schooney Lawn in main camp, the Dining Hall (built in 1941) had a double-wing design, with the kitchen in the center of the two wings. The new dining hall, built between 2013 and 2014, opened for the summer of 2014.

Heritage Hall[edit]

Built in 1970 overlooking Lake Ely, this two-story building performs multiple functions. The lower level provides storage for waterfront equipment and a changing room for campers. The upper level houses arts and crafts activities during the summer and serves as a troophouse for fall and spring Girl Scout troop camping.


Waterfront was one of the first areas to be developed at Camp Archbald, with the first dock installed in 1922. The dock has been replaced at least four times, most recently in June 2006. The new H-shaped dock is made of plastic (instead of wood) and floats up and down with the water levels of Lake Ely. Waterfront houses swimming, boating, and canoeing activities, as well as floating lunches, dock lunches, wishboat launches, and water carnivals. Red Cross safety standards, instituted in the 1922 camp season, of colored caps, unit check boards, buddy system, life saving buoys, and qualified lifeguards continue to be used to this day.

Trading Post[edit]

The oldest building in camp (built in 1923), this building was originally used as the camp director's quarters. It is located on the left side of camp on the edge of Schooney Lawn near Heritage Hall.

The Cottage previously known as Oakley[edit]

One of the three quarters available for camp staff not assigned to a unit. It is located next to the Trading Post.

The Trailer[edit]

One of the three quarters available for camp staff not assigned to a unit. It is located next to the Cottage.

The Quiet Place / Beechwood[edit]

Between Greenwood and Treetops, there is a small path on the left that leads to the Quiet Place. It is a small circular patio with embedded benches and an antique outdoor fireplace. The Quiet Place is used for quiet activities and mediation by girls in all units. It is located at the site of the former Beechwood Unit. Beechwood had 3-sided Adirondack shelters, with a curtain on the fourth side. Beechwood opened in 1950 and closed in 1961 with the opening of Applenook Unit.


Located beyond Hultz Unit, Samoset was a former tenting unit, created especially for counselors in training in 1947. There is no published date as to the closing of Samoset. The remains of the Samoset kitchen lean-to can be seen from Hultz. The Samoset Unit was still operational in 1973 and 1974 for the Junior and Senior CIT programs.


Also located beyond Hultz Unit, Grizzly was a former tenting unit which opened in 1929 with a focus on pioneer camping. It was named for Gertrude Gold whose nickname was Grizzly. In 1933, girls from Grizzly took the first-ever covered wagon gypsy trip. The covered wagon gypsy trip program continued until 1970). The last published date available of Grizzly's use was 1960, when it was used by the Counselors-in-Training (CITs). Currently, another area of the camp is nicknamed Grizzly, though it is not the location of the original unit. The current Grizzly is located up a steep hill to the left side from Hultz Unit. It is a flat area of land used for rustic sleepouts by adventurous Cadette and Senior summer programs.


A former tenting unit located further up the hill from Maples, Applenook Unit opened in 1961 as a replacement for Beechwood Unit. It was a primitive unit, used by girls preparing for the National Girl Scout Senior Roundup. Later on, a troophouse and washstand were built and the unit was used as a Counselor-in-Training (CIT) unit, in addition to other programs. Applenook Troophouse no longer stands and the tent platforms have been removed. Former Camp Director Phileshia Dombroski was one of the last campers to stay in Applenook (as a CIT) before it closed after the summer of 1989. It has now been replaced by the Nook Tower.

The Mariners' Path[edit]

A 0.24 miles (390 m) trail from the Mariners Unit to the Point and Sunset Hill, following the shores of Lake Ely.

The Point[edit]

A small jetty of land on the opposite side of Lake Ely from Waterfront, the Point can be reached by a 0.24 miles (390 m) hike from Mariners Unit or by canoeing across the lake. Campers may have campfires and cookouts at the Point.

Sunset Hill[edit]

Located next to the Point on the opposite side of Lake Ely from the main portion of camp, Sunset Hill is a field with has a terrific view of the sunset every evening. Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts occasionally will sleep-out on Sunset Hill for a primitive night away from the hustle and bustle of main camp.

Sunnyside Bridge[edit]

A small bridge leading over a wildflower marsh/bog from Sunnyside to Friendship Hall. This bridge was built in 1998 and is dedicated in memory of Joyce May. The Sunnyside Bridge is also called the wishing bridge, as campers walk over the bridge they go silent and each make a wish.

Greenwood Showers[edit]

Located down the path from Greenwood Unit, Greenwood Showers are most frequently used by Greenwood, Treetops, and Hultz. Seven showers are located in Greenwood Showers with warm water.

Meadows Showers[edit]

Located adjacent to Meadows Washhouse, Meadows Showers are most frequently used by Meadows, Sunnyside, and Forest. Seven showers are located in Meadows Showers with warm water. There is a shortcut to the showers through the woods from the Forest unit. It also has a toilet.

Maples Showers[edit]

Located down the path from Maples Unit, Maples Showers are most frequently used by Maples and Mariners. Six showers are located in Maples Showers with warm water.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°45′04″N 75°48′25″W / 41.7511882°N 75.8068585°W / 41.7511882; -75.8068585


  1. ^ "For the Girls — A History of Girl Scouting in the Scranton Pocono Council", Girl Scouts, Scranton Pocono Council, 2003
  2. ^ Oral History from Past and Present Campers and Counselors