Jean Maddock Clark was a leader, teacher, mentor and inspiration to hundreds of Arizona girl scouts and students. From the beginning of her leadership role in scouting, Jean not only wanted the girls she worked with to learn new and different skills, but to think and to expand their boundaries far beyond those of their contemporaries. Her life-long drive to stretch the imaginations and abilities of several generations of girls influenced future leaders and shaped girl scouting in Arizona.
She was born in Zelienople, Pennsylvania on November 21, 1901 and moved to Phoenix as a young girl with her mother, Ethel Maddock Clark. The Girl Scout Movement in the United States was ten years old when Jean joined the first Arizona Girl Scout Troop in Phoenix in 1922. By 1928 she was the troop leader. She wrote that there were not nearly as many leaders for “girls’ work” as for “boys’ work” and decided that she would change that.
After graduating from Phoenix Junior College in 1930, Jean continued her education at Stanford University where she graduated in 1932, then returned to Arizona where she taught elementary school. Although her professional work was as a school teacher, she started Girl Scout troops in many of the communities in which she taught.
In 1930, Jean was the first Arizona woman to be awarded the Golden Eaglet, the highest award from the Girl Scouts of America. She was the first trained Camp Director for Arizona’s Girl Scout Council and served in that capacity for 19 years. She studied at several national Girl Scout training centers to learn the newest training methods. She took the girls to remote campsites in the mountains, on Indian reservations and in the National Parks. She involved them in athletic events and numerous community service projects, working with the Valley of the Sun School, St. Joseph’s Hospital and inner-city day camps. She supported minority participation in Girl Scouting during an era of segregation.
From 1937 through 1977, Jean served as a troop leader in Phoenix. More than 500 girls passed through her troops including Margaret Hance who became the first female mayor of Phoenix. Jean’s commitment inspired other Girl Scout leaders and hundreds of girls who benefitted from participation in her troops. She died June 19, 1992 in Phoenix.