African American YWCA Camp Fire Girls USA

A great shot of the YWCA Girls or Camp Fire Girls on Camp!

They are wearing white Middy tops and sailor type and sprawling black, red or blue neck ties.

Photos from:

These badges or insignia look like YWCA (Blue Triangle League?) badges for these organisers and officers – photo from the The Work Of Coloured Women by Jane Olcott 1919. These uniforms are businesslike and very similar to British women’s police constable or Women’s Royal Navy uniforms in WW1.

(African American?) Camp Fire Girls under canvas “Camping in Old Kentucky”.

Another view of the YWCA Reserves photo c.1919, the YWCA version of Camp Fire Girls?

YWCA Reserves? Camp Fire Girls activities like Scouting and Guiding could be adopted in part or whole within other existing youth programmes.

The activity looks quite odd – I’m not entirely sure if this is rope callisthenics with individual ropes, long group ropes or staff drill.

In this photograph, you can see an interesting range of variations of uniform of the Middy Top and neck tie, as well as knickerbocker / bloomers or skirt and white Keds type sport shoes. In an old black and white old photograph, it’s difficult to tell details.

They are not ‘uniform’ from skin tone and hair style to clothing.

Some have no neckties. One girl (far right) has an off white or khaki Middy Top.

Some have white Keds type sport shoes and white socks.

Some have full knee skirts, others have bloomers or knickerbockers.

Interesting that none of these African-American girls in any photos are wearing hats. Some have head bands and big white ribbons, obscuring the faces of those behind.


You can see more on African American Camp Fire Girls and YWCA Blue Triangle League uniforms and activities at my previous post:

All good uniform reference for my LBB30 Little Britons Boy Scout figure conversions (left) into Girl Scouts (right) and Camp Fire Girls (middle).

Here in preparation, these figures have tissue paper PVA skirts and hair and filed down scout hats with tissue paper softening or brim changes.

The Middy Top is quite loose and smock / slops like without a belt but it proved difficult to file down the belt details on the front. I used a thin layer of tissue paper to smooth the belt out.

The Camp Fire Girls Necktie is bigger, flatter and less Scoutlike but difficult to file. I left this in place as it fills out the curves on the figure in a more feminine way.

Unlike the scout scarf, the back of the neck tie is hidden under the collar of a large Middy flap, like a triangular sailor suit neckcloth.

I didn’t manage to put bed rolls on this first batch of Camp Fire Girls.

I shall have to remedy this on the next batch.

More on the painting here:

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 1970s Cub Scout (Bronze Arrow, retired) 27 / 30 May 2022


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