By Hazel Smith and Barbara Betts
The first guide company in Albert County was started in Gunningsville in 1939. Mrs. Gaius Avard, Division Commissioner for Westmorland-Albert Division, appointed Mrs. James Crawford and Mrs. Cecile Rooney as leaders for the new company.
Through the efforts of Mrs. M.H. Biggs, and with the assistance of Mrs. Avard, the first guide company was registered in Riverview in 1951. Miss Jean Berryman and Miss Carol Steeves were the leaders of the new company.
The first Brownie Pack was also registered at this time with Mrs. Florence Kingston and Mrs. Isabelle Knapp as leaders.
A Brownie Pack was registered in Bridgedale in 1956 with Mrs. Earl Adair as Brown Owl, Mrs. Ronald Kay as Tawny Oil and Mrs. Bannon O'Hearn as Snowy Owl. Later when a guide company was needed, Mrs. O"Hearn became Captain of the new company, with Mrs. Kay as her Lieutenant.
In 1956 Albert County was made into two districts, Coverdale-Albert with Mrs. H.E. Betts as District Commissioner, and Shepody-Albert District, with Mrs. J.D.B. MacFarlane as Commissioner.
The year 1960 was a big year for the brownies and guides in Albert County; this was the year Camp Whisong was purchased as a permanent camp sire. More about Camp Whisong in the chapter on camping.
In the fall of 1961 another guide company was formed in Riverview, with Mrs. K.A. Smith as Captain.
In 1962 Mrs. H.E. Betts retired as District Commissioner, having served six years in this capacity, ten years altogether in guiding. She was succeeded by Mrs. K.A. Smith.
In 1963 a third Riverview Brownie Pack was formed with Mrs. R.L. Snow as Brown Owl. Also in 1963 the first West Riverview Guide Company got underway with Mrs. A.D. Gray as Captain. This year also saw the formation of the second West Riverview Brownie Pack with Mrs. Maureen Wills as Brown Owl.
In November of 1965 the first Riverview Land Ranger Company was registered, with Mrs. Ruth McInnis as Captain. In 1966, due to the growth of guiding, Albert County became a division. Mrs. K.A. Smith became the first Division Commissioner. Mrs. Norma Dobson became the Division Secretary, Mrs. Ken Stiles was selected to be Division Camp Advisor. Mrs. T.E. Connolly was Blue Trainer, and Mrs. Robert Keirstead, the Brown Trainer.
In 1967 the highlight of guiding in Albert County was the Centennial Camp held at Camp Whisong. Attending this camp were 186 guides, rangers, girl scouts, and leaders. Guides were invited from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Saint John, Moncton, Caraquet, and girl scouts from Maine.
Each year several camps are held at Camp Whisong, including Brownie Pack Holidays, Brownie Revels, Guide Camps, and training weekends for the guiders.
1984, being the Bi-Centennial Year, a special camp was held. The camp was B.A.C.K. at Whisong. Translation of B.A.C.K. being: Bi-Centennial Arts and Crafts Kamp. Thirty-one guides from New Brunswick attended this camp. Grants were received from the New Brunswick Bi-Centennial Committee and the Riverview Bi-Centennial Committee.
Craft included decoupage, quilling, quilting, rug hooking, apple dolls, painting egg shells, learning how to dry and press flowers and many other interesting crafts.
Guider in charge was Mrs. Daniel LeBlanc, the Quartermasters were Mrs. Betty Stone and Mrs. Theresa Cormier.
In 1984, our Bi-Centennial Year, there were six districts, 587 members, made up to 267 brownies, 201 guides, 14 pathfinders, 7 rangers, 98 leaders. Mrs. Donna Baker is the Division Commissioner for Albert County.