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CARYL MCNEILL

WOMAN HISTORYOF ^ANHMR.AOR.DIN^ARY A BRIEF

"A WOMAN BEFORE HT.R ITVIE" ' 'LffTLE BUT MIGHTY" I "A JEIyEL" ; 'TAIYESOME' "'A WONDERflIL WOMAN' ; "A GREAT RESOURCE" ; "MY GIIIL SCOUTHERO" Thesewords werc used by many friends to describe Caryl McNeill, the namesd(eof our senice unit Eere is a brief history of the woman behind the name.

Caryl Mook McNeill was born on June 5, 1930 in New York City. Shewas the youngestof three daughtersof Rnth and Cherles Moolc Both of her parcnts were well educated,with degreesin several ar€as of science.Car-rl grtw up and attended schoolin Metuchen, NJ and lived in a big old houre surrounded by many trreesand a large garden 0ften, Caryt could be found high in a tree, reading a favorite book Mrs. Mook was active in church and comrnunity activitie$ including Girl Scouts.Caryl joined Brownie Girl Scoutsand movedup to Intermediates (as the level was called then), and possibly into Senior Scouts. Her high schooleducationwas internrpted by polio Paralf'zcd on her left sidc, Ceryl spentmany months in a rehabilitation hospital and made an almost{omplete necovery.She attended Skidmore Collegein New Yorlq majoring in nuning. As was conmon for the women of her time, she quit collegewithout completing her nursing program to manT William McNeill in 1950. Bill McNeill was a nese&rch chemist His work at the Franldord Arsensl brought the couple to Philadelphia Caryl soonbecameactive in Philadelphia Girl Scoutsas an rssistant Brownie leader in the Franldord sectionof the city. Soonafter their first chilfl, $stsy, was bom in 1951, Caryl was diagnosedwith juvenile diabetes. F'rom her nursing bec}ground, sheknew this wurld be a lifelong condition, but could control it with twice would hold her baclc daily injections of insrlin Caryl made up her min{ tq be as active as ever; no disease In 1955,shortly after their seven-week son,Johnnie, died withont neiilnn, the McNeiils movedto old Somerton Their white ctep- board home at 615 East Bybenl Road was coal heatedand srrrouded by a double lot filled with trees, vegetablegardens and neighborhmd children Ceryl loved childrcn and tmk in many foster chilflpn. One of them was a boy named Ch&deq who was adopted by Bilt and Caryl in 1959.A seconddaugbtcr, Mrggre, bom in 1962,completedthe McNeitl fanily. Caryl and a neigbbor, Doris Reese,begrn a Brownie Girl Scmt troop in 1957for their daq[ters and the neighborhoodgirts They met at Somerton Methodist Church, but also had neny planning sessions, meetingsand cenemonies the McNeill houseand backyard. As the girls got older, Caryl foraed nert level in trrops ( Intermediate Troop #130 and Senior Trup #3641,leading both of them for a time. Her troops were very active in Council pnograms,service projects and advenbre trips Shetaught her scoutsabout leadership, equality and community responsibility. She had a love for camping and being outdoorsin all seanns. Caryl especiallyloved primitive camping, which r former scurt describ6fl 1s r'lnking to an open area, with only a spigot of cold water. We pitched our tents, dug our latrines and learned to survive." Camprngtrips were often week-long adventrrcs that included canoeing,hiking, mountsin climbing, learaing to rccognize phnts and animals in nahrr€, and, of coune, singng. Ceryl had a talented voice and usedit to teach many songsto her scoutg Caryl and her husbandoften volunteered as week+nd site directors at Camp Laughing Waters. Bill was a nember of the Council'sCimping Committee and was one of the dadswho helped to build the famous ilrrolh{r bridge- He was a devoted "honorary Girl Scout" who often accompenid Caryl and her troops on mary adventures Caryl McNeill taught her tmop memben to put their heart into the Girl Scout program" If a girt was intenestedin something,Caryl encouragedher to go after it Shewas always therc to help make drcans cornetme and provide every oppornrnity for her scoutsto rcach their goals Caryl was a verT private person who stmggled with the efrectsof her illnggs, but she never let diabetesstop her. Shebelievedthe Girl Scouterperience was vital to every grrl" She hdped other leaders vilft flaining and trmp planning. She herself and treasurcd her twoweek improved her own leadership abilities by taking many lraining sessions counrcat the Edith Macy National Training Center in New York In 1967,Phileddphia Council presented her with the William Pmn Awerd. She remained active in scoutinguntil her condition worsened.Her last role was asAdvisor of Senior Troop #36.1. atrected many parts of her body; sheeventually lost her eyesight Shedied in Eoly The disease RedeemerHospital on November 20,1969. Sheis buried in the Williarn Penn Cemetery in Somerton She was only 39 years old and left behind a wondertully srpponive husband, thr€c young children and hundreds their lives were touched by this extraordinary womarr. of Girl Scoutswho are better hr.mar beingsbecause The Caryl Mcltteill Service Unit was establishedin her honor in 1976.Becauseof her enthwiasm, inspiration, and dedication, Eily women todey fondly rcmember Caryt McNeill rl & womrn who positively influenced their lives and consider her their "Girl Scout hero."

Corgl J4. ,fu\c9'leill
"A wonderfulwoman", "little but mighty", "a jeweltt,"a driven person", "awesome!", "an incredibleresource", "my Girl Scout hero" These words were used by many friends to describe Caryl McNeill, the namesakeof our service unit. Here is the life historv of the woman behind the name.

Caryl Mook McNeill was born on June 5, 1930 in New York City. Shewas the youngestof three daughters of Ruth Raeder and Charles Craig Mook. Her parents were bolh very intellectual Mr. l\iook was a noted people, each having earned severalcollegedegreesin the various sciences. paleontologistand Mrs. Mook studied geology.She was very active in her community and church, as well as in Scouting,serving on the Metuchen Girl Scout Council. This gave CarTl her role model for her own active life. Caryl grew up in Metuc hen,New Jersey in an early American house(built in 1735 and restored, room by room, by her parents). It sat on two acres of land, surrounded by many trees garden. She loved to read and, as a child, could often be found and Mr. Mook's favorite vegetable sitting high in a tree, reading one of her favorite books. Caryl joined Girl Scoutsas a Brownie and moved up the levelsto Intermediates (as they were called in the early days),and possiblyinto Senior Scouts.She attended grade and high schoolin student.Her high school educationwas interrupted by a bout with Metuchen and was an excellent polio, paralyzing her left side. She spent severalmonths in a rehabilitation centerand made a great recovery. The only lasting effect was a slight loss of muscle tone in her left hand that was often undetectedby others.She was a petite woman with dark black hair, but friends rememberher beautiful smile and hearty laugh. "A kind and gentle spirit, she had a quiet manner about her." Caryt attended Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, majoring in nursing. As was common for the women of her tirne,she quit collegewithout completingher nursing program to marry William McNeill in 1950,whom she had met on a blind date. Bill McNeill was attending Colgate College,studying chemistry. After graduating, he got a job as a researchchemistat the Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia.They moved here and lived in the Frankford sectionof the city. Caryl soon becameinvolved in the Philadelphiascoutingprogram as an assistant Brownie leader at St. James Lutheran Church, where the McNeills belonged. Their first diagnosed chitd, Betsy, was born in October of 1951.It was soon after this that Caral, at age 22, wars with juvenile diabetes.From her nursing background, Caryl knew this would be a life'long condition, but it was controlled by twice-a-dayinjectionsof insulin. She made up her mind to get over her disappoiritment,get on with her life, enjoy it and be as active as ever. After their son Johnnie (born in October, 1954)died suddenly at 7 weeksof age (probably from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome),the McNeills moved to the Somertonsectionof northeast Philadelphia in 1955. Their white clap- board housewith black shutters at 615 East ByberrA Road was heated by coal.At that time, it was the third house eastof BustletonAvenue on the north side of Byberra Road. Like her childhood home, this housewas also surrounded by treesand large vegetable gardensthat Bill and Caryl lovingly tended.Many young families were moving to this rural neighborhoodand the McNeills befriendedrnany of them. Often, neighborhoodchildren gathered in the McNeill's backyard to hear Bilt read storiesaround a campfire, swing on their swing set or play in the big pile of sand that Bill had deliveredevery Spring.

Cai,yl loved children very much and decidedto take in foster children. One of them was a boy named Charles,who was arloptedby Caral and Bill in 1959.A seconddaughter, Maggie (born in August of 1962)completedthe McNeill family. Caryl and Bill often enjoyed penny poker gameson Friday nights with Dr. Ted and Nancy Offner, closeneighborhoodfriends. Nancy remembersthe beautiful needle work Caryl did. She was also active in the Junior Women's Club of Somerton.Bill and Caryl were membersof the Gloria Dei Church in l{untington Valley and sang in the church choir. In 1957,Caryl and her neighbor,Doris Reesestarted a Brownie troop with their daughters and many neighborhoodgirls. The Junior Women's League of Somertoil were their sponsorand ceremonies and meetingswere held at the SomertonMethodist church. Ilowever, many meetings, as planning sessions were held in the McNeill's kitchen or backyard and, especially Caryl's disease worsened,at the lVl:illoy home next door. As their daughtersgot older, Caryl and Doris formed new troops for the next Scoutinglevels, (IntermediateScoutsand Senior Scouts)but Caryl often helped out with her former troop as well as leading the new one. It was said that Caral's greatestwork in scoutingwas openingup new troops in Bustleton/Somerton to provide many adventures to the girls in that area. Caryl's troops were verlr did numerous active in the PhiladelphiaCouncil Girl Scout program; they earned many badges, serviceprojects and had great adventures.She took her girls canoeing,hiking, mountain climbing, and sight-seeing. She loved to sing and could read rnusicwell. She shared her accuratepitch and singing clear, talentedvoice with her scouts,teachingthem many songs.One former scout remembers - at meetings,at camp, in the car going somewhere. Someof her all the time with Mrs. McNeill favorite songs,rememberedby her husband and former scouts,were "The Ash Grove", "This Land Is Your Land", "\4then e'er You Make A Promise", "Our Chalet", and "Put a WatermelonUpon rounds. Your Chest". She loved songsabout nature and the traditional Girl Scout songs,especially Caryl taught her scoutsthe Indian stick game "Lemmi Sticks" and the chant that went with it. This was a cooperative and fun ,but noisy, activity frequently enjoyed by the girls. Everything she did was girl-oriented; she was totally devotedto her scouts.She was also very "by the book" and committed to the Girl Scout program ans laid out by council.Her girls wore full uniforms to their meetingsand events.As Carol Cruickshank, another former scout,stated, "Caryl believedthe Girl Scout experience was vital to the girls to get a feel for their community and be in touch with suburbia (camping and outdoor life). Shewas an incredible resource!" Caryl's greatest love was camping and being out-of doors, with her family and with her scouts. Bill was very devoted to and supportive of Caryl and her work in Girl Scouting. He was affectionately called "Mr. Girl Scout". Severalcamping trips to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, somelasting a week or more, were fondly rememberedby Mr. lVlcNeilland former scouts.Caryl's troops camped in all seasons eyen in the winter. Caryl's favorite was primitive camping , especially the Conestoga at site of Camp Laughing Waters. One of her former scoutsdescribedthe experience: "We took to the open area-with only a spigot of cold water. We pitched our tents, dug our latrines and learnedto surrive". Caryl and Bill were both very active at Camp Laughing Waters, often servingas volunteer on site-directors week-ends. Caryl often lrroughth few Senior Scoutswith her to give them the learning experience site directing. Bill was part of the Camp PropertiesCommitteeand servedon of the PhiladelphiaGirl Scout Council Camping Committee. He lvas one of the dads who helpedbuild the famous "D0 DAD" bridge and often volunteeredto build and/or restorecamp facilities.With their troops, Caryl and Bill often did servicework at CLW - painting, restoring,repairing, Dutch stencilingaround the fireplacein the decorating.It is said that the Pennsylvania making 90 wooden Administration building was done by one of Caryl's troops. Bill renrembers in one weekendfor usein the cabins . Maybe someof them are still there !?! cubbies

was a favorite gathering placefor the McNeill The old boat dock at CLW (no longer in existence) family hnd troops. Bill recalleda specialtime when a troop of blind scoutsfrom the Overbrook SchoolcAmedown to the dock for their boating time. Caryl, Bill and severalSeniorScoutseachtook three blind scoutsinto a boat and rowed down thc creek, "showing" them by touch the different foliagealong the banks. "They were excitedto be able to recognizehemlock treesand back on shore they thought it was great to touch the patchy bark on the sycamores."The Overbrook scoutsthen invited Caryl and her group to their baseballgame, played with a beach ball with bellsinside.At night, Caryl taught all the girls many songsaround the campfire. one former scout(Evelyn From the many camping trips Caryl's troops experienced, Zebrowski McClave) says,"We becameexpertsat lashing tables,putting storm lineson tents, chuck boxes,baking cakesover the campfireswith reflector oveps,waterproofingmatches, assembling We carried snakebite and digging latrines,when we weren't "luxury" camping in one of the cabins.... never had to." Caryl often brought her entire family kits and knew how to use them, even though we It with her on their camping expeditions. was not unusual to have cribs coveredwith netting at the camp site and baby bottlesand bottlesof insulin kept cool in a near-by stream. to Caryl was totally dedicatedto the Girl Scout program and took many training sessions improve her abilities as a leader.She treasured her trvo-weekcourseat the Edith Macy National Training Center in New York This coursewas, most likely, one that dealt with primitive camping. During the 1960's,Macy was used as a training center wltere many troop leaderscould sharpentheir skills and learn about a variety of topics related to Girl Scouting. Caryl received a small pin, shaped that she kept as n cherishedmemento.She also like an Aladdin's lamp, from this trnining session with camping,andsite helped other leaders and Senior Scouts with troop planning and management, directing. She was awarded the William Penn Alvard in L967for her many servicesto the scriuting program. Caryl McNeitl had a deeplove for and conrmitmerrtto her girls and individualizedeachgirl'sr,1 program. If a girl was interestedin something,Caqyl taught them to go after it. Shewas alwaysthere to help make dreamscome true and provide every opportunity for her scoutsto reachtheir goals. Even though her illnesswas always with her and often took her strength iwtlr Caryl never let it stop her, she kept pushing onward for her girls. She was a very private personand neverlet her young with her Senior scouts;many of them were aware scoutsknow shewas sick. (Shewas not as secretive adventure : "(Caryl) could seethat I Beth McCauley Haarlander recalleda r;pecial of Caral's illness.) had a very strong interest in canoeingand hooked up with the Appalachian iVlountainClu! to (drove)just Janice and I to for provide many canoeingexperiences me. One Saturday, ...the lVlcNeills Delaware to canoe on the Brandywine River... It was one of my greatest adventures,white water at its finest with class4 and 5 rapids. At the end, Caryl and Bill were there to dry us off and take us home." She always treated eachgirl fairly and would not lllow any discrimination from anyoneinvolved in her troops. Evelyn Zebrowski McClave stated, "Before th,aCivil Rights movement gathered force and long befori the Women's Movement, Caryl modeledthe idealsof racial and genderequality,so that thoseof us in her troop identified such principleswith scouting...Caryl reinforcedthe valuesI was learning at home. From her and my parents I learne{ that discrimination is intolerable,women can can make a need not be the central focus of one'slife, and one penson do anything, a disease difference.Caryl McNeill embodiedthe idealsof scouting." on One tif Caryl's specialqualitiesas a leader,which she unknowingly passed to many of her of scouts,was teachingher girls "to put their heart into the Girl Scout Program". Because this many memoriesof this wonderful woman, has quality, one of her scouts,who shared remained in scoutingfor almost40 years.Her name is Beth McCauley Haarlander, now involved in Girls Scoutsof New Hampshire.

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Beth states,"Caryl gave me the keys to developingan extraordinary working relationshipbetweena leadei and a troop of girl scouts- involve the girls, plan with and for them only." Beth recalledthat in after she and two other Senior Scouts attended Caryl's funeral, drcsr;ed their full Girl Scout uniform, they were dropped offat their high schoolto finish their da.r.Beth felt that if they could make it through the day, dealingwith the teasingfrom other studentr;, they could do anything. Beth summarized,"Even in death, Caryl helped us to be stronger and starrdup for what we believein above all odds. After that day, I felt as though I could do anything; rnd f was never afraid to let anyone know that I was, aboveall, a Girl Scout." There are many women today who fondly whoseextremelypositive remember Caryl McNeill as a very important person in their lives,someone influencewent far beyond troop meetingsand Girl Scout days. capsulized Caryl's of In his remembrances his wife's scoutingdays, Bill McNeill Jroignantly as as essence a Girl Scout leader." I think that Caryl's enjoymentsand success a leaderwere rooted commitment to the idealsof scouting,rnd an ability to communicatethis to girls who in a very deep and idealisticstagein their lives. She didn't lecture them, but got the idea were at an impressionable acrossin other ways. On hikes,it wasn't enoughthat you didn't litter', but if you saw something It someone elsedropped, it was your job to pick it up and disposeof it Jrroperly... was up to you to use your head to find ways to be helpful. It ryasn't drudgery, the idea thitt scoutingwas fun was always from the fun of there. But as the girls moved through the program, many of them progressed playing gamesto a deeperenjoymentand personalpride in service,companionshipand an appreciation of nature." Caryl's last role in scoutingwas as the lelder/advisor of Senior Troop 364. Her last big camping trip was in the Spring of 1968when she took her Senior Girl Scoutsto Mt. Chocorua in New Hampshire. Accompanying her were her husband Bill, and Eflie and Gardner Dean, who also loved mountain hiking. (Effie was a friend in Scoutingwho remainedactive in the Philadelphia council for many years).They camped at the baseof the mountain and climbed to the . . ' top the next morning. Along the way, Caryl grew very tired and barely made it back down. Upon returning home, Caryl's problemsfrom her diabetesgrew worse.She neededto be hospitalizedmany times. Her eyesightsteadilydeteriorateduntil she was nearly blind, b:rrelyable to even distinguish affected many parts of her body :rnd finally, in Holy Redeemer between light and dark. The disease Hospital on November20, 1969,Caryl lVlcNeilldied. She was only 39 years old. She left behind a wonderfully supportive husband,three young children and hundreds of Girl Scoutswho were better peoplebecause their lives were touched by this extraordinary worn:ln.She is buried in William Penn cemeteryin Somerton.Her gravesite, in Section9, is not far from the houseon Byberly Road ( now occupiedby the law officesof Ratner & Richter) where so much of her influenceoccurred.

Befdre her death, Caryl askedBeth McCauley, the presidentof her Senior scouts,to promise to keep the troop together,no matter what. Even though Beth was only 17 at the time and too young to becomea troop leader herself,she kept her promise to Caryl. She recruited one of her high school teachersas the troop's leaderfor the next year. DeSpitesomeoppositionand with total girt-planning , Beth and another Senior scout,Janice Cheney,kept the troop active.When sheturned 18, Beth becamethe leader and remainedthe advisor of Senior Troop 364 until 1981,when she moved to New Hampshire. When the Girl Scoutsof Greater Phil:rdelphiaCouncil was re-organizingits troops in 1976,a in are:I.Beth was :r sectionchairperson new serviceunit was to be established the Bustleton/Somerton that the new unit be named after her former leaderand friend, her for the council and suggested was acceptedand the Carol McNeil ServiceUnit was established. "Girl Scout hero". Her suggestion

It wasnrt until extensive researchwas done for this patch program, in the summer of 1997,by . JeanneBenkert (current leaderof Junior Troop 658 and co-managerof the serviceunit) and Janice Murset (current leader of SeniorTroop 364 and serviceunit treasurer),that the corrcct spellingof her name -Carvl NlcNeill - was discovered. lVloreimportantly, the dedication,Ieadership, influenceand charisma of this renrarkablewoman was re-discovered and for the Girl Scouts(young and not-soby young) of our serice unit and council.As she positivelyinfluenced many girls during her lifetime, so Caryl McNeill's story of commitment,courageand the true Girl Scout spirit will, hollefully, continue '" '':.".'.'.'::._:...::...:.....:.:._.:_::.::..::.....,,*,.**,,************,,,,**,,

This has been a project of love.Since 1989,I have been involved with Girl Scoutingrvith my two daughters,being membersof the CarTl McNeill ServiceUnit. At first, the name didn't mean much to me. I askeda few times , but not many others knew who this personwas. As my involvement progressed from involved parent to assistantleader to troop leader and co-manager thc seruice of unit, the questions"Who was Carol McNeil ? and Why is our serice unit named after her?" burned stronger.I wanted the scoutsofour area to learn about her, too. I decidedto createa patch program for our serviceunit. Finally, in the summer of 1997,I took it upon myself to begin rescarchingthis person.With the help of JaniceMurset, we began our search. Asking anyoneand everyoneinvolved in scouting,our contactswidened,until I hit the jackpot ! I locatedand contactedCaryl's husband, Bill McNeill and he respondedwith information and pictures beyond my greatesthopes. At last, CarTl McNeill rilasnrore than just a name. By talking to friends of Caral's and reading their written memoriesof her, I got to know her, too. f am eternally grateful for that and only wish I could have met and befriendedCaryl while shewas alive. I believeshewould still be involvedin the scouting pfogram today and contribute much to its success. Many peoplehelped createthis story. Their memoriesand tributes were collectedand compiled by me, but this is truly a loving tribute BY THEM, for us. Specialthanks are given to Bill lVlcNeill, Beth McCauley Haarlander, Nancy Offner, Bill Malloy, Jr., Louisa Malloy, Evelyn Zebrowski McClave, Ed Zebrowski,JeannieMurphy, Carol Cruinshank, Doris Reese, Trudy Murphy, Janice CheneyQuinn, and Sally Barber. Their fond rernembrances helpedCarAl come alive for thoseof us who did not have the privilege to know this wonderful woman.It has been my pleasureto bring this program to all of you.

Our Caryl McNeill ServiceUnit Patch program was approved by the Girl $couts of SoutheasternPennsylvania Council (Peg Szczurek and Cathy Malkemes) in February, 1998. The patch itself was designedin Novemberof 1997by Nicole Vito, a Cadet Girl Scout in Troop 535. Her original design,anonymoulyselected the leadersof the Caryl McNeill ServiceUnit from entries by submitted by many scouts,neededto be slightly changedto be in accordance with the National Girl Scout'slicensingrequirements.Carolyn Kushner and RoseIloezel were alsohelpful in bringing this ' patch program to reality. * The program and patch were ofTicially prescntedon June 5, 1998at a special"Caryl McNeill Day" celebration,held at llustleton NlethodistChurch for all troops of the Caryl McNeill ServiceUnit, council staff and friends of the NlcNeill family.

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