Troop 430’s 1959 European Camping Tour

Troop 430 at Our ChaletGirl Scout Troop 430 started in 1949 with a group of second graders in South Minneapolis. Some of the first few badges the girls earned taught them how to be self-sufficient in the wilderness. They built a fire with tinder, kindling and fuel, and cooked angel wing pastries at the local park. For several summers, many of the girls were active at Camps Lockeslea, Greenwood and Ruby Lake. They also participated in the Girl Scout Primitive Encampments in 1955 and 1956, and canoed and camped eight nights on the Gunflint Trail.

The troop’s final camping trip was in 1959. Seven of the Girl Scouts spent almost three months camping with two leaders at 36 different sites across Europe, including visits at Our Ark in London, the Girl Guide Hostel in France and Our Chalet in Switzerland. For this grand tour, they packed a Volkswagen bus with a tent, cooking supplies and gear. Taking this type of trip was unusual at the time, and this ambitious endeavor provided a very enriching experience.

The girls began planning their European tour in fifth grade when they were working on an International Friendship Badge. While preparing for performances at the State Fair and the Festival of Nations, the girls wondered if they could visit the countries they were learning about and representing. The answer they received was yes! They could do it if they worked for it.

Over the following years, the girls eagerly fundraised by babysitting and selling nuts, cookies, fresh eggs and holding quarterly paper sales. They balanced this work with additional part-time jobs, high school activities like the Honor Society, and badge-earning activities with Girl Scouts.

Their hard work paid off, and the girls were able to fully fund their 1959 trip. Through this process, they gained independence and developed team building, organizational and leadership skills.

Troop 430 October 2012With the support of their families and their talented leader, Charlotte Rotzel, the girls graduated as Girl Scout Mariners in 1960, achieving the highest level for Girl Scouts at the time. The women from Troop 430 remain loyal friends today, and although many have moved from Minneapolis, they continue to meet and celebrate the legacy of their troop (photo from October 2012).

A special thanks to Nancy Moe, member of Troop 430, for providing the details for this story.

Has your group stayed connected over the years? We’d love to hear! Submit your story and photos. 


  1. says

    What an amazing trip that must have been, 3 months around europe. And I thought it was great to go away for a week when I was in scouting. Nice to see they still get together after all these years.