On the shores of Long Lake the dozen girls who made up the Manasquan Camp Fire of the Camp Fire Girls of America were busily engaged in preparing for a friendly contest and matching of skill that had caused the greatest excitement among the girls ever since they had learned that it was to take place. For the first time since the organization of the Camp Fire under the guardianship of Miss Eleanor Mercer, the girls were living with no aid but their own. They did all the work of the camp; even the rough work, which, in any previous camping expedition of more than one or two days, men had done for them. For Miss Mercer, the Guardian, felt that one of the great purposes of the Camp Fire movement was to prove that girls and women could be independent of men when the need came. It was her idea that before the coming of the Camp Fire idea girls had been too willing to look to their brothers and their other men folks for services which they should be able, in case of need, to perform for themselves, and that, as a consequence, when suddenly deprived of the support of their natural helpers and protectors, many girls were in a particularly helpless and unfortunate position. So the Camp Fire movement, designed to give girls self-reliance and the ability to do without outside help, struck her as an ideal means of correcting what she regarded as faults in the modern methods of educating women.
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