Category Archives: Camping

Timber Ridge and Archives Birthday Party…

…is only a few days away! Have you signed up to go yet? It’s so easy! Follow this link, and say you’ll be there! That’s all you have to do! Let us know if it’s just you, you and your family, or you and your whole troop, BUT you better hurry, there’s not much space left! Here’s a basic run-down of all the fun goodies that will be there:

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Here at the GSGATL History and Archives committee, we are so excited! Everything is almost ready- crafts, games, songs, s’mores, presentations, and more! We will have lots of fun vintage items on display at our booth in the Camp Timber Ridge Dining Hall, and some of us will even be wearing some vintage uniforms!

Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes even have a chance to earn the Girl Scout Way Legacy Badge while at the celebration (badge itself is not included) so make sure to stop by the coloring station to pick up your worksheets!

See you all there!

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Come Celebrate With Us!

Last month, we wrote about the 90th birthday of Camp Timber Ridge as well as the 25th birthday of the History and Archives Committee. Well, next month, on December 7th, we are having a birthday celebration! The GSGATL History and Archives Committee, along with Camp Timber Ridge, is in the process of planning a joint birthday celebration and you are invited! CTR-Archives Anniversaries-page-001

There will be historical displays of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta and Camp Timber Ridge, a walking tour of the camp, games, crafts, songs, s’mores, and lots of other goodies! Please click on the above picture for a larger view and to read more about it.

We are also looking for volunteers between now and the celebration! All school aged children are invited to attend the celebration and older girls, 6th grade and up, are invited to help out! There is a lot of planning and preparation that needs to take place between now and December 7th and this is a perfect way for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors to earn some community service hours. Junior troops are also invited to explore the possibility of starting their Bronze Award at Camp Timber Ridge! Troops are invited to make a presentation for the birthday celebration and create and carry out a sustainable project at camp too!

Download a pdf version of our volunteer flyer or register to attend the event here! And please, if you have any questions about the event, email us at GirlScoutArchivesAtlanta@gmail.com!

Spread the word, too! We are really excited about the celebration and hope to see everyone there!

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Camp Timber Ridge Turns 90!

2014 marks the 90th birthday of Camp Timber Ridge in Mableton, GA! Now, that’s a lot of camping!

penelope the turtle

In October of 1924, the Civitan Club of Atlanta deeded 39.5 acres of land in Mableton, 12 miles west of today’s Metro Atlanta, to the Girl Scouts of Atlanta and then in November of that same year an elaborate opening ceremony was held. The establishment of the camp was largely due to the help of Mrs. Albert Thornton, who gifted $1,000 (big money back then!) for a central dining hall and recreation hall to be built on the property. The first camping season was in the summer of 1925 between June 22 and August 8 and the original buildings on the site included the office, infirmary, nature hut, art hut, rest hut, and of course, the tents!

circa 1920s Thornton Hall, named for Mrs. Albert Thornton

circa 1920s Thornton Hall, named for Mrs. Albert Thornton

Camp Civitania was renamed Timber Ridge in 1953 and then in 1971 the Timber Ridge Environmental Center was born. The Timber Ridge Environmental Center, known as TREC, was made up of 30 acres of wooded land, designed to teach about the history of the land as well as its use and to demonstrate natural forces at work.

Camp Civitania 1936

Camp Civitania 1936

Camp Timber Ridge has grown over the years and now consists of over 220 acres of wooded land (both hardwood and pine forests), natural streams and even a bamboo forest! During the summer, girls can choose between day camps or sleepaway camps, platform tents or cabins. Troops can also reserve a campsite at any time during the year for a troop bonding weekend!

Today, Camp Timber Ridge remains one of the largest girls’ camps in the South still in operation!

Timber Ridge 1969

Camp Timber Ridge 1969

Remembering District V

Ms. Dews, Rhonda B, and TaMara P

1940’s Camping gear

District V with friends and vintage coke bottles.

What a nostalgic setting to remember District V and honor their field representative,
Ms. Phyllis Dews. The Archives/History committee prepared the Sunday afternoon Tea at the Auburn Avenue Research library in Downtown Atlanta. The Tea’s location was significant to the troop’s beginnings. Their second office was only four buildings down at 143 1/2 Auburn Avenue in 1945 on the second floor of the former Poinciana club. Music from the by-gone era played softly, Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the child,” Jackie Wilson’s “Lonely Teardrops,” and Martha & the Vandellas’ “Quicksand” to name a few. Round tables draped with white linen with whimsical retro Girl Scout centerpieces decorated the intimate affair. When the honored guest arrived, everyone stood and applauded. As she took her seat, she said, you all have really done it.

The celebration continued to the next phase onto the third floor for the Community panel discussion, which was open to the public. A second installment of “The District V” exhibit greeted visitors in the room: vintage Girl Scouts Handbooks, Camping Gear, Black and White snapshots including a Girl Scouts founder, Juliette “Daisy” Low portrait. Campfire songs and a short silent video featuring Bazoline Usher played as people filled the room. There was not an empty seat.

The introductions were given by the library programs director, Morris Gardner. Short presentations given by the Greater Atlanta Girl Scout council, Brenda S. and Archives/History committee, Linda B.
The three member panel included former scouts, Dr. Roslyn Pope, Mrs. Celestine Bray Bottoms, and Ms. Phyllis Dews. Senior Ambassador Scout of Troop 1368, Arianna served as moderator for the discussion. Each panel member answered questions on camping, cookie sales, and obstacles being the first black troops in Atlanta.
Ms. Dews explained the challenges of the times. She described how on first her camping experience with 50 scouts at Camp J.K. Orr in Lovejoy, they were confronted by a rogue group of white men with guns asking where was the integrated campgrounds. Their camp director was white. The men escorted her off the grounds. Ms. Dews said she pondered all through the night about the camp director’s well being and how she had promised the scouts’ parents their daughters would be safe.
Mrs. Bottoms candidly remembered hayrides and a traditional camping treat. She explained I was a city girl and had never been on a hayride. She added we made S’mores with Oh, Henry candy bars. “Our S’mores had nuts,” she exclaimed.
Dr. Pope described how she became Georgia’s Girl Scouts All State camper in 1953. I don’t think Alaska and Hawaii were states at the time she began. But she went to say everyone marveled how I represented Georgia, the only Negro at the All States event in Wyoming.
A young former scout asked did you all sell cookies like we do now. The three answered no. But their fellow scout sitting in the audience said,”Yes, we sold cookies.” She also named every member from their troop.
In closing we pinned each panel guest with a 100 year Girl Scout pin given by council and awarded them a certificate of appreciation from the “Friends of the Auburn Ave Library.” Girl Scout council member, Mary F. removed her very own Girl Scout scarf that she wore to give to Ms. Dews – Girl Scout sisterhood.

If you would like the view the first installment of “The Lives of District V : The untold story of Atlanta ‘s first African-American Girl Scout Troops,” please visit the Greater Atlanta Girl Scouts Headquarters at 1560 N. Allen Rd. in Mableton from 10 – 6 pm Monday – Friday.
We thank “The Atlanta Daily World” for covering District V. Without their reporting; District V’s story would truly be untold.

Link to the video stream of discussion.

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A Visit to Camp Holloway in Tennessee

Josephine Holloway with her granddaughter, 1960s. Courtesy of Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee.

In May 1952 in middle Tennessee, there lived a Girl Scout captain following the same dream as  our founder Juliette Low–Girl Scouts of the USA for every American girl. Girl Scout Captain Josephine Holloway, a former Social Worker, purchased 50 acres of land with the help of her husband, Dr. Guerney Holloway, for a Girl Scout campgrounds dedicated for African American girls. The camp was a first for Girl Scouts in the South. Before the civil rights movement, local laws and customs prevented Mrs. Holloway’s Troop 200 from camping overnight with other troops during camping events.

To give her troop a true camping experience, Mrs. Holloway searched for land with running water, such as a stream, for her scouts to bathe and cook. She found a land lot in Millersville, Tennessee, which even had a farmhouse that the troop would later use as their lodge.

The field had been unattended and the farmhouse dilapidated, but Mrs. Holloway was a visionary. She encouraged her scouts and their parents to envision the cabins, trails, and the pool. Every weekend they visited the grounds, tackled the overgrowth, and followed the instructions of Mrs. Holloway’s designs for the camp.

Since its dedication 60 years ago, the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee have purchased additional lots to increase the campground’s size to the current 76 acres. They later honored Mrs. Holloway with the camp’s name change to Camp Holloway.

Many people in Tennessee see Mrs. Holloway as a hidden heroine. Her efforts to help Ms. Low’s dream for every American girl to have the opportunity to become a Girl Scout are heroic due to social challenges before and during civil rights movement.

TaMara Powell at Camp Holloway. September 2011

I had to visit the campgrounds myself. Camp Holloway has been completely renovated. Girls can experience archery, running through an obstacle course, rappelling off of a tower, rock climbing, swimming, team adventuring, and tree climbing.

I can only imagine Mrs. Holloway would be so proud with the updates. There is even a patch that visiting Girl Scout campers can earn, called the “Josephine Holloway/Guerney’s Cabin Patch.” To visit Camp Holloway, call 615-383-0490 or visit the website at http://gsmidtn.org/camp/category/camp-holloway/.

Blog post written by TaMara Powell, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives Volunteer and Girl Scout Troop Leader.

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Time Capsule Dedication

Some of the Archives Committee with Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of GSUSA

This past Tuesday was a busy one for not only the History and Archives Committee, but the whole Council. In a wonderful turn of events, the Council hosted the CEO of GSUSA, Anna Maria Chavez, at the 100th Anniversary Time Capsule Dedication and Girl Scout Day ceremonies. The committee decided to wear some of the original and replica uniforms to honor the occasion. Several attendees at the event enjoyed learning about the uniforms and the history behind them. The committee were asked several times to pose for cameras, and we happily obliged.

The first event, held at Camp Timber Ridge, began with a great talk from Anna Maria Chavez. It was great to hear her perspective and plans for the Girl Scouts. She was energetic, lively, and very committed to making Girl Scouts the best place to be for girls. Afterwards, in our chat with her, we were glad to hear that she is a history buff as well.

Linda Bishop presenting Anna Maria Chavez and Marilyn Midyette with our "Girl Scouts Make History" pin.

Afterwards, all of the event participants headed back to the Council offices for the 100th Anniversary Time Capsule dedication. The Archives committee had been working for several months with Council staff to make this the best time capsule we could possibly make. Not only were Council items and 100th GS Anniversary memorabilia included, the Council reached out to current Girl Scouts of all levels and asked them to contribute an item they thought significant.

Linda Bishop, chair of the Archives Committee presented to Anna Maria Chavez and Marilyn Midyette, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, our “Girl Scouts Make History” pin, as our thanks and appreciation for working together with the committee. As you can see from the picture, Linda presented the pins in her traditional manner.

Pamela Nye in the 1913 blue uniform. The hat was a bit hit!

Pamela Nye gave a short speech on the importance of time capsules, and of the Archives’ role in keeping safe not only the list of items enclosed in the capsule, but the location of the capsule as well. Too many time capsules have been lost or forgotten, and we do not intend for this one to suffer that same fate. The life span of electronic records is amazingly brief, so any audio, video, or electronic records will be held in the Council Archives for safekeeping, and to be able to migrate the records to whatever the next medium will be. We also want the current Girl Scouts, adult volunteers, and interested researchers to be able to access this information. All the items that were placed inside the time capsule are either eye readable records or cloth materials that won’t break down over time. A full list of contents will be posted soon.

TaMara Powell demonstrating how the white uniform was worn.

One of the more interesting uniforms was worn by TaMara Powell. In the United States, this white uniform was only worn in the South, due to the extreme heat. It was officially recommended for use in 1920. It consisted of a white middy blouse, skirt, shoes and stockings, a black or colored tie, a khaki hat, and armband. (The light blue tie was added in 1922.)  The uniform was made of lighter weight material and was only approved for use as requested. It was never available in a catalog, but was approved for use in the Southern U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Hawai’i, Panama, and the Phillipines. [For more information about uniforms, please see the Girl Scout Collector’s Guide by Mary Degenhardt and Judith Kirsch, 2005.]

The event was a great success, and we were glad to see so many people come out and celebrate this momentous occasion. Here are a few news stories about the event.

1950s Camping Supplies

1950s Girl Scout Bag

One of the perks of volunteering at the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives is to see all the pieces of history that come in to stay. We recently received this acquisition from a former Girl Scout, and the staff were excited because we did not have this bag in our collection. We had a matching mess kit, as seen below, that was produced around the same time. You can find the plaid mess kit available online in many places, but a search for the larger matching bag is not quite as easy.

1950s Girl Scout Bag with matching mess kit

This plaid bag first appeared in the 1954 Girl Scout Equipment Catalog, and was marketed as a lunch bag. Girls would have used this at camp to carry their mess kit and canteen, or other items that might be useful. When not at camp, the Girl Scout could use it to carry her handbook and writing material. These types of bags are still popular with Girl Scouts today.


Happy Fourth of July!

Flag Ceremony at Camp Civitania

Happy Fourth of July from the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives! This photograph of a Girl Scout flag ceremony at Camp Civitania is from the collection of Mrs. Frank Holland, first president of the Atlanta Girl Scout Council (now Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta). She created a wonderful scrapbook of photographs from the camp, documenting the beginnings of the oldest Girl Scout camp in the Atlanta Area. This campsite, founded as Camp Civitania and now known as Camp Timber Ridge, is located in Mableton, Georgia, east of Atlanta. It is also located right next to the headquarters of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta.

Section 8 of  Scouting for Girls: Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts (1925) is entitled “What a Girl Should Know About The Flag.”  It includes a description of the flag (with 48 stars), a history of the flag, how to make and draw the flag, patriotic songs, and parade formations. There is also information on “Respect Due the Flag,” which outlines how the flag should be handled and flown.

Flag ceremonies continue to be one of the important traditions that Girl Scouts participate in today. The website of the Girl Scouts of the USA provides information about current flag ceremonies.

Camping: An Early Tradition

Camping has always been important in the Girl Scouts. In fact, in 1915 when the first Girl Scout troop was formed at Rock Spring Presbyterian Church (please see our post on Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta: Beginnings), they also camped in the woods near the church in what is now Atlanta’s Morningside neighborhood. Camp activities were patterned after the Boy Scout camps but modified to meet the needs of young women and gave the Girl Scouts the opportunity to earn badges for proficiency in homemaking, needlework, and cooking.

The camp, attended by 20 Girl Scouts, was run by the pastor’s wife, Mrs. A. Linton Johnson, who was the leader for Atlanta’s first Girl Scout troop. Both the troop and the camp were disbanded when the Johnsons moved from the area. After the Atlanta Council was organized, local Girl Scouts attended Camp Juliette Low on Lookout Mountain or Camp Highland, a YWCA camp near Atlanta. Mrs. Victor Kreigshaber and Mrs. Lee  Ashcraft headed the camping committee.

Camp Civitania Arrivals, 1928

In 1923, just two years after the formation of the Atlanta Council, 70 acres in Cobb County, near Mableton, was selected to form Camp Civitania (now Camp Timber Ridge). The land was purchased and donated by the Atlanta Civitania Club on the provision that the Council could build and run a camp.  On June 22, 1925, Camp Civitania opened for its first season. That year, an average of 35 campers each week paid a $7 fee. Food was the main expense at 50 cents per day per camper. Mrs. Frank D. Holland and Mrs. John Miller Thrower, both of whom who had attended Camp Juliette Low, ran the camp.

The camp started with an office, infirmary, nature hut, art hut, rest hut and tents, as well as Thornton Hall, the combination dining and meeting hall with a kitchen.  Arts and craft activities included making kimonos with tie-dyed borders, batik work, and printing flowers, leaves and ferns on blue print paper donated by an architectural firm. The girls used the sun to make the prints and the stream to set them.

“The girls stayed two weeks each and we always had several from orphan homes or similar institutions who paid nothing,” Mrs. Malcolm Fleming reported. (Mrs. Fleming was the chairman of camping for the council.) Volunteer college students taught diving and swimming in the swimming pool, created by damming a stream.

Research at the Archives: Camp Scout Haven

An example of a "swap" from Scout Haven

In February of 2011, three Kennesaw Mountain High School students approached Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta for help with a school research project: the history of Camp Scout Haven. There were many parts to their project, including original sources, an interview, a research essay, a display and a formal presentation in front of a committee. The purpose of the project was to collect enough information to justify Camp Scout Haven become a historic preservation site. Some of the students’ questions included:

  • When did this camp start to be used by the Girl Scouts?
  • How often is this campsite used?
  • What are the conditions of this camp?
  • How long has Scout Haven been around?
  • What are the pros and cons of Scout Haven? (Could it be eliminated as a camp?)
  • Do you know when this home was built?
  • What is the history behind this home? (What events occurred there, who has managed it, how and why was it built)
  • Where can we find the records of this home?

Falcon's Roost Lodge at Camp Scout Haven. An ideal "first-time" camping unit in a quiet setting.

The resources we were able to provide were the Girl Scouts of Cobb County Scrapbook (1947-49); photographs of Camp Scout Haven from 1956 and 1957; personal recollections of Scout Haven, collected by Sue Belden, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archivist, from Alice Harbin, Executive Director of the Cobb County Girl Scouts in 1957; camp and financial reports garnered from the Gerry Wells collection by Sue Belden; and Scout Haven-related articles from “The Council Bulletin” and council day camp brochures.

The students have promised to send us a copy of their research paper and video interview with Margaret Paschal, Archives Committee Member, and to let us know when their project will be on display later this spring.

Swaying Pines, the day use shelter at Camp Scout Haven

Scout Haven Trivia:

  • The beauty of the camp site was the main reason Alice Harbin accepted the position of Executive Director of the Cobb County Girl Scout Council in 1957.
  • The first building built at Scout Haven was the “dining hall” – the screen building later known as the summer lodge and now as part of the Swaying Pines day use area.
  • The platform tent units (Green Grove and Sunny Hill) were not completed and named until after the great merger in 1964.
  • The cost of ten days of day camp in 1966 was $9.00.
  • The tornado that came through the camp in the 1990s skipped over the lodges and huts but dropped pine trees on the tents and unit shelters; only the tent platforms survived!

Do you have memories of Camp Scout Haven you would like to share? You can post a comment here, visit our Girl Scout Memories Facebook page, or fill out the “It’s Your Story…Tell it! form on the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta website. We are all ears!