Arizona’s First Golden Eaglet

Posted: Oct 06, 2011

By Lindsay Johnson

Jean Maddock Clark began her Scouting journey in 1922 as one of the first Girl Scouts in the first troop in the Phoenix Area.  With Alice Marshall as her troop leader, 13-year-old Jean’s natural leadership abilities were quickly recognized.  Her diaries document the responsibilities she was given as a young Scout: between leading hikes with younger girls and assisting Marshall with Troop activities, she realized early on her passion and skill for leading and teaching girls.

She also realized the important role Scouting can play in a girl’s life, and stayed active as a girl member through her formative years.  By 1928, Jean was a Troop leader, and had her sights set on receiving the Golden Eaglet, the highest honor a Scout could receive at the time.  In 1930, the day after graduating with honors from Phoenix Junior College, Jean became the first Golden Eaglet recipient in Arizona. She then studied at Stanford University (while leading a Girl Scouts troop, of course!) and after graduating in 1932, returned to Arizona to teach elementary education and continue leading troops.  

Jean Clark (far right) and friends at camp (year unknown)

From the 1930s to the 1980s, Jean remained dedicated to Scouting.  During the 40 years Jean was a troop leader, more than 500 girls were members of her troops. Among the girls she led was the first female Mayor of Phoenix, Margaret Taylor Hance.  Jean was also a Camp Director for 19 summers in a row, and took part in every Girl Scout training opportunity offered to her. 

As a leader and camp director, she was creative and outgoing—always thinking of activities and service trips that would be most enriching for the girls. In her diaries, she wrote about their varied adventures, including horseback rides, hikes, tennis, dancing, swimming, theatre, photography and gold panning in the desert mines of Arizona.  She was also an advocate for the girls, nominating those in her troops for every award or event that they were eligible for, and encouraging diversity during a time when that was uncommon.

Jean Clark with one of her Troops (1930)

As a teacher, neighbor and friend, she was caring, helpful and endlessly giving to all around her. A true Girl Scout through-and-through, she lived the Girl Scout Law every day. 

Jean Clark retired from teaching and Scouting in the 1980s, and passed away June 19, 1992.

Jean’s vast collection of Girl Scouts memorabilia was donated to the GSACPC Historical Society after her passing, and provided a foundation for the now thriving collection.

In one of her handwritten diary entries, she wrote:

“Girls are very queer little pieces of humanity—just as queer as little boys are, but do you find as many leaders for girls’ work as you do for boys’? I never found such, and am enthusiastic for the advantages due girls in the Girl Scouts training.”

We thank Jean for her many years of enthusiasm about Scouting, and for her unending devotion to the organization and its’ girls.  Rest in peace, Jean. Your spirit lives on…

Jean Clark in Uniform outside her home in Phoenix, AZ