Category Archives: Camp Timber Ridge (GSGATL)

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

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.

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.